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
Why Remote Insights Chose Agosto
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.”
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.).