Ask the expert – Raffaele Confidati, Egenera srl

By | 2017-09-26T10:19:26+00:00 September 6th, 2017|

Remote sensing technology now available for remote agribusinesses

Raffaele Confidati is the president and co-founder of Egenera srl, an Italian company that specialises in renewable energy generation and management. Egenera srl creates technologies that drive energy efficiency, allowing their clients to attain energy efficient certifications. Raffaele holds an Electronics and Astrophysics Engineering degree from Università degli Studi di Perugia and has more than 10 years of experience working in planning, management and the development of photovoltaic systems and wind farms.

What is a remote sensing system and why is useful?

A remote information system collects and reports data about any activity or event using sensors, continuously and over time. Using a remote sensing system within structure provides a detailed overview of consumption trends and allows users to intervene in the event of an alarm, but above all, it helps identify and correct inefficiencies that lead to waste.

How would a remote information system be applied in agricultural management, and specifically in post-harvest management?

In agriculture, having environmental data is crucial in planning various activities such as land preparation and harvesting. It is equally important for farmers to know their energy consumption and loads during processing and packaging. A monitoring system allows them to access all this information simultaneously and get a complete overview so they can detect and correct potential or current inefficiencies and, if necessary, to directly control the automation of the production process.

What is ERAISE?

ERAISE is an advanced monitoring and real-time data management system. It is composed of hardware that connects sensors and data transmission devices, plug and play firmware that lets users control and manage the system and sensors, and data analytics software that generates diagnostics and insights for the purpose of implementing corrective actions, and the interface or dashboard. With ERAISE you can create different profiles that allow tailored access to data, analysis and reporting depending on the needs of specific users.

ERAISE has been adapted and customised for InspiraFarms, integrating environmental, performance and quality data into a single platform.

*More information about the technology can be found here

How is the data collected used, and for what purpose?

The collected data helps the user understand historical usage patterns. A powerful analytical tool included in the ERAISE user-interface makes it possible to evaluate data, and highlights the effects of a farmer’s choices on production output. This allows them to continuously improve efficiencies.

What challenges exist for agribusinesses seeking to access a remote sensing system?

Firstly, the affordability of a remote connection. Secondly, the speed with which they might be able to respond to the system: The faster the transmission of data, the faster you can act on an alert. Another important aspect is the integration of sensors with objects. An organized network with an “Internet of Things” system will enable the ever-smarter use of devices, machines and equipment. For agribusinesses the main challenges are:

  • Difficulties deploying the system in local languages
  • Lack of connectivity in rural areas
  • Limited coverage by farmers’ organisations
  • Challenges understanding, interpreting and elaborating on data
  • The cost of components, such as software and sensors.

What would you recommend to increase adoption and access to remote monitoring systems?

In business organisations, having systems for monitoring and improving production, increasing efficiency and reducing waste are fundamental to development. Not only do these systems offer cost savings, but they improve competitiveness and represent a step toward environmental protection.  Increasing the adoption of remote sensing systems requires promoting the benefits of these systems, but also offering choices around the data these systems collect. In this way, a real revolution that will bring real social and technological changes would be possible.