What’s all the buzz with smart farming?


Growing up in the 80s or 90s, we watched sci-fi movies that portrayed the future (now 2023 and beyond) as a world devoid of nature and sustainable farming. We were shown landscapes driven by technology and filled with tall, tightly stacked grey buildings next to busy ‘flyways’. Hover mobiles zooming up and down the space pumping the environment with dust and pollution.

Luckily, those were just movies with exceptionally bad acting. On the contrary, the last decade has seen the world take environmental issues and climate change seriously. We have learned to use technology to our advantage, while also considering the benefits of nature. 

For us at Blue Bean Software, a tech-lead business solving issues with the intuitive use of the Internet of Things (IoT), AND coincidentally lovers of nature and bees, it should be no surprise that we may have tinkered with the development and implementation of a smart device that benefits bees and beekeepers. 

In the following blog, we invite you to discover how we have used IoT to work with nature and how we are currently helping beekeepers across South Africa gain a better insight into their bees and hives.

But first! What is IoT?

We love all things IoT! From smart appliances found in your home to industrial sensors, the possibilities seem endless. And we’re always impressed with what the industry can produce. For those of you that haven’t booked your seat on the IoT bandwagon, we’ve discussed this at length in a previous blog post here that you can check out if you need a detailed rundown. 

Otherwise, here’s a quick recap on IoT or The Internet of Things: it is a network of physical objects that are connected to the internet so that they can exchange data and information to improve productivity, efficiency, services, and more. 

IoT has been made possible with the development and coming together of a range of technologies that include real-time analytics, sensors, embedded systems, wireless systems, automation, control systems and machine learning.

Smart farming as a result of IoT

Many industries have looked to IoT to help understand how to increase productivity and streamline processes. The mining, manufacturing and health industries have had great success adopting smart solutions to their daily operations. 

A sector that has dramatically adopted IoT too, is agriculture. Smart farming is a great way to term agriculture in this Fourth Industrial Revolution, with data being the ultimate cash crop. Modern IoT solutions are utilised in smart farming to enhance product quantity and quality, while minimising human labour and increasing safety.

This involves incorporating a range of technologies such as sensors for monitoring soil, water, light, humidity, animal behaviour and temperature. This is only the start, with GPS technology and autonomous vehicles leading the way to make farming as efficient as possible. This drive to make farming as fruitful as possible comes with smart farms aiming to feed our population, which may explode to 9.8 billion by 2050.

Other solutions that IoT has created in agriculture:

  • Tracking the state of the soil, weather conditions or humidity
  • Monitoring nutrients that affect the crop or orchard
  • Determining the best time to harvest the plants
  • Creating customised fertilisers based on specific soil chemistry
  • Detect endemic pests or problems
  • Biometric monitoring of animals
  • Geolocation of animals

What has us buzzing with excitement 

Seeing what can be done within this space, and having a passionate beekeeper as our CEO, has inspired the team in our turnkey IoT solutions department to develop and implement a smart bee hive monitoring device called HivePulse, that can be placed inside a hive. 

This innovative sensor is changing the way beekeepers can operate; allowing them to monitor every detail of their hives in one convenient application. This device has been developed to offer beekeepers peace of mind when it comes to detecting humidity and temperature changes, as well as overall hive health. All in real-time that sends the data to an easy-to-use app on one’s mobile phone.

The goal is to revolutionise both rural and urban beekeeping, to help drive more efficient ways to keep track of one’s farming activities and minimise time and resources wasted.

Today, it could be a simple device in a hive, tomorrow – who knows – with IoT the possibilities are endless! 

Got any amazing ideas that you want to bring to life? Reach out to the team and let’s have a coffee.  

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