25 Jan 2019
Shrimp Ponds on the Cloud – Bringing Connectivity to the Farm
Written by Zach Stein

21st Century Shrimp Farms Need to be Cloud Connected

We do a lot of traveling to farms around the world and one of major trends we are seeing is farms investing in full cloud-coverage (like Wifi) for the farm. 

There are an increasing number of options available, so for this post, we want to outline some of the major categories so you can better pick the right option for your farm. 

Why Connect your Shrimp Farm?

Before we dive into options, let’s lay out some of the top reasons having full farm internet coverage is an increasing necessity for farmers around the world. 

Overall, connecting your farm to the cloud gives the capability to have realtime oversight and management over your entire operation. The majority of farms still rely upon their staff to walk around the farm to get updates. While nothing will replace a human touch, humans are fallible in a way that computers are not. 

Here’s some of the ways cloud connectivity can change how you farm: 

Automated Water Quality¬†– Get live readings and warnings the moment something goes wrong so you can save your animals. That’s what we’re working on solving with Osmobot.

Track Feed – Feed is the #1 expense on the farm and if you can track the amounts your feeding in real time you can optimize and save a ton of money. 

Automate Aeration – As shrimp farms generally become more intensive, the need for aeration increases. With real time monitoring and control you can cut down on your costs

Big Data – In general the largest upside of shrimp farm cloud-connectivity is the potential to generate large amounts of data for analysis and optimization. 

Shrimp Farm Cloud Coverage Options

There are an increasing number of ways to bring cloud coverage to the farm. We will discuss pro’s and con’s here. 

WiFi – This will only really work on farms that are relatively small and intensive, so SE Asia, not Latin America. There are a variety of options for long-range wifi extenders that can go from the office to a series of ponds. 

Cellular – You may already have full farm cloud coverage! Again, less true on large extensive farms like those in Latin America, but generally true in SE Asia. This is the lowest CapEx to get coverage, but the highest OpEx as the data is the most expensive over cellular. 

WiFi Mesh – There are an increasing number of long range Wifi mesh network options. These use standard wifi and a series of outdoor repeaters. You have to install one every 200 meters or so. See here for an example. 

LoRa – We are most excited about the potential of Long Range (aka LoRA) as a solution for shrimp farm connectivity. It’s a new tech that uses low bandwidth radio frequencies to send signals up to 10 km with relatively low power. It’s still spreading, but wait five years and we think this will be the #1 option farmers choose. 

Conclusion

If you need connectivity today and you don’t have cell service, look at some kind of mesh network. Work with a local company that will be responsible for installation and maintenance of the system. 

If you can wait, we suggest you do for another year or so. The technology is improving rapidly and you can take advantage of all of the lessons the companies before you had to find out the hard way. 

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