Remote Insights

Agosto Quickly Develops IoT Prototype on Google Cloud Platform for Remote Insights


Remote Insights


Google Cloud Platform



Remote Insights is a technology company that offers a sow management solution to help pig farmers identify health issues early and help sick animals recover more quickly. The company was first approached by Zoetis, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company for pets and livestock, and Pipestone System, a sow management company, to provide a proof-of-concept (POC) solution for sow management. Remote Insights approached Google Cloud Premier Partner Agosto to leverage its expertise of scalable cloud services to the proposed IoT solution.

What Remote Insights Wanted

  • An IoT solution pilot for a company conducting livestock research to determine the effectiveness of collecting and analyzing animal behavior data.

  • Ability to easily provision a large volume of connected devices in the cloud.

  • Tools to easily manipulate and visualize sensor data characterizing livestock behavior.

Why Remote Insights Chose Agosto

  • Expertise in rapid IoT prototyping and developing scalable IoT products on a cloud platform.

  • Google Cloud tools supported provide off-the-shelf components.

  • Deep experience in quickly bringing products to market with Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

  • Agosto’s MQTT message broker is built on GCP and efficient for low bandwidth applications.

  • Message broker bundles data in a turnkey manner and is scalable to GCP.


Farms are struggling when it comes to adopting technology solutions that can help manage livestock wellness. Pig farmers find it extremely difficult to maintain accurate records of health and farrowing rates. There is typically a one employee to 300 sow ratio, as well as a 40 percent turnover rate of workers. This creates a significantly challenging environment in which to gather data about sow health in order to make breeding decisions.

Remote Insights knew they could solve this challenge with technology, but didn’t have all the right internal resources to bring it to market quickly.

“We had a great opportunity to help Pipestone System and Zoetis, but didn’t have a solution in hand,” said Jim Cairns, founder of Remote Insights. “We knew what we wanted to do, and had some of the right skill sets in-house, but needed help sending data from our gateways, ingesting it to a scalable cloud platform, use of tools to easily manipulate large volumes of data, and visualize the results.”

“Pig farmers are grappling with the health issues of hundreds, if not thousands, of pigs, with limited employees on hand,” We see a myriad of additional use cases for our solution, and are now ready to go beyond research purposes and bring this solution to sow operations across the globe.”

Jim Cairns, founder of Remote Insights


Agosto and Remote Insights teamed up to design and deploy an IoT solution to track the behavior of pigs for Zoetis and Pipestone System. For a sow operation to work efficiently, farmers have to make decisions based on qualified observations. This POC allows the farmer to make decisions based on a continuous flow of real-time health data, removing the guesswork from the decision-making process.

Google Cloud Platform

Agosto’s rapid prototyping process provided a scalable, product-ready platform in about two weeks on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Building on GCP freed up the overhead of managing infrastructure, provisioning servers, and configuring networks, letting Agosto quickly and efficiently build Remote Insights a POC on a single, secure platform. Agosto used Firebase for application development and Android Things client for gateway IoT Core.

Custom Message Broker

In 2016, Agosto built a custom MQTT message broker on Google Cloud Platform that allows developers to rapidly scale an offering from pilot to production. In this project it collects data 24/7 to identify critical health events and enable farmers to make decisions based on those observations/analyses.

IoT and the Internet of Swine

Agosto also assisted Remote Insights in securing the right hardware for the job—from device firmware provisioning all the way to analytics and applications. Leveraging Agosto’s open source message broker and GCP analytics and visualization tools, the prototype applies beacon technology–BLE tags–to pigs’ ears. The tags contain a variety of sensors, including accelerometer and temperature sensors. The prototype then takes activity data and applies Machine Learning (ML) models to identify distinct animal behaviors. Farmers can observe behavior patterns to identify events of interest, such as health issues, sows going into heat and/or labor, and instances where they may need assistance (struggling during birthing, nursing, etc.).


  • Found the easiest path to an IoT solution pilot.

  • Deployed devices and connected them to Agosto’s message broker to efficiently move data into Google BigQuery for data analytics.

  • Solutions leverage standard computing components—not proprietary IT stacks.

  • An efficient MQTT schema: packaged data at gateway is sent to an MQTT packet; connects via IP to MQTT broker which reads packet and breaks it into components; sends to GCP BigQuery.

  • Created a POC for hundreds of sows, resulting in a prototype that has market potential in the millions.

  • Farmers have the ability to classify unique animal behaviors by observing and measuring activity (when animal is active, dormant, standing, sitting, eating, drinking, in heat, in labor, etc.).

  • No limit to the number of data points that can be ingested per second, making the solution scalable for large customers.

  • Ability to provision connected devices to the cloud through Agosto’s IoT messaging broker.


Robots, drones and sensors are changing the way we farm

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