Agri wi-fi system set to transform farming
A businessman from Templepatrick, Northern Ireland has developed new technology for the agricultural industry in the country, which could have major positive implications for the rest of the world. Dr Aaron McConnell established his IT solutions company Vynomic Ltd (www.vynomic.com) last year, providing expert IT support across the north. Since then, he’s created a niche market for the business, specialising in agricultural, or agri wi-fi, which can provide internet access up to 25 miles away from the root source.
And as a result, farmers now have an opportunity like never before to use technology to their benefit – without the need for cables. Indeed, crucially, the technology operates via solar power, so there’s no need for electricity. Dr McConnell’s invention could therefore also act as a vital resource further afield, such as in areas devastated by natural disasters, where communication infrastructures have been wiped out.
“The technology I’ve developed means farmers can have instant visual access to their farms and out-houses at any time,” says Dr McConnell. “The wi-fi supports high-definition cameras which have multiple uses. For example, when cows and sheep are lambing, it can happen at any time of the day or night and if the cow gets into difficulties, there’s a chance they might die.
“The farmer is usually out half the night checking on them but with the agri wi-fi-operated cameras, they can stay in their house. The cameras provide high-definition sound and night vision, and you can monitor them via your iPad or iPhone,” he adds. “They have motion detection as well and in-built video recorders for added security, so you can set these and they’ll record and send you an alert. Farmers don’t want cabling because it gets chewed and dirty, and it takes two men a day to cable on an average job. That money is better spent on having a solar panel and no electrical cost.”
Dr McConnell’s innovative technology could also benefit farmers with the milking process, as many farms now have robot-operated machines. Some of these milking parlours can be miles away from the farmer’s house, but with the agri wi-fi, farmers can sit at home and control the milking machines using the technology. “They can see if something goes wrong or how much milk is produced,” he explains.