Agrihack 2017 insights from winning team
2017 Winner Daniel Winson and his team have gone on to do amazing things since agrihack in April this year. With the 2018 hack just round the corner (put March 1-2 in the diary!), we take a look at Dan's agrihack experience and what he is up to now.
Daniel Winson, teacher of network engineering and network security at TAFE NSW (Wagga campus) and IT Project Management at CSU entered agrihack with a group his students.
On the day, the team received the following agrihack challenge focusing on OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY:
“Historically farms were labour intensive, and they have increasingly become more automated in recent generations. How can this automation continue to keep them viable against the pressures of increased global competition? What further automation can be undertaken to improve existing processes by making farm work more accurate, productive or reliable? This could include crop monitoring, animal health management, water management or sustainability.
How might we make farming easier? How might farmers give more food choices to consumers? How might farmers share their produce with the world?
Try not to restrict your thinking to just the farm itself, but consider all aspects of the supply chain – from input producer to grower to the end consumer!”
Daniel and his team wanted to create a practical solution for all the farmers spending an increasing amount of time on important yet time-consuming tasks such as checking water levels across the farm.
Over the 2 days, Daniel and his team not only workshopped the idea of creating a camera to monitor these challenges remotely; but also managed to create a device to put their plan in action, upcycling an old mobile phone to create a CCTV camera.
The judges were impressed with what they saw and the team won the hack!
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Following their agrihack win, the team went on to form Agsensio, the remote monitoring and control business providing farmers with well-priced, self-install wireless networks, wireless sensors, solar power systems and DIY install communications tower kits. While the agrihack prototype was ultimately unsuccessful, the team learnt what NOT to do, and in turn built a foundation for the business.
The Tafe NSW team continued their winning streak when, together with CSU they took home the $20,000 first prize for Wireless Farms, a project that demonstrated a low-cost, Wireless Sensor Network kit for farmers, driven by solar powered wireless links of up to 10km that can be used to transmit data from cameras and a range of sensors including custom-developed water level sensors.
They have also placed amongst the top nine for the Beyond Bank Entrepreneurship grant with the winners to be announced in November.