SMART AGRITECH & SMART AGRIFOOD

IoT, AI and Blockchain based platform improving livestock Farming

Challenge & Context

Back in 2015, the three co-founders of Digitanimal Carlos Callejero (CEO), Ignacio Gomez-Maqueda (CTO) and Rubén Blanco-Carrera (Commercial Director), were colleagues in an ICT company focused on development of solutions in the field of security and defense. One day, Rubén’s father, who is a livestock farmer, asked his son if a solution could be developed to track his cows, avoiding losses during the grazing session. Rubén approached his colleagues with this request and that was the start of an amazing adventure. They found that for those small farms, there were already devices working via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but there was nothing for free range and extensive livestock farming, where connectivity was a challenge. This represented a great market opportunity to capture so in 2016, Carlos, Ignacio and Rubén created their first company together, named: Digitanimal.

  • Low adoption of digital solutions and low connectivity in rural areas. Current smart tools for cattle farming optimization require expensive implementation, e.g. for improvements in the connectivity of farm locations, but without guaranteed return of investment;
  • Increasing concern on animal welfare and climatic impact of cattle require better value chain monitoring: Consumers are increasingly demanding more information regarding animal health and welfare, better food quality and traceability. However, transparent information flows not always exist, hampering its availability for all operators in the food value chain. This is partly due to the low availability of simple tools for measuring these parameters. Farmers still implement manual time-consuming tracking systems to provide required information to retailers and consumers, especially when offering a premium product (e.g. local breeds, organic, region certification). Furthermore, manual operations cannot provide full guarantee that any step in the process will not be manipulated.
  • User-friendliness: difficult management requiring specific knowledge and training;
  • Scaling capability: limited transfer of information and value generated to next steps in the value chain;
  • Standardized data integration and interoperability: large amounts of data from a variety of sources.

Solution

To overcome the sector challenges and to democratise the access to smart technologies by livestock farmers, Digitanimal aims at increasing farm productivity, sustainability, and animal welfare with a complete monitoring solution for beef cattle based on a “powered by FIWARE” architecture that combines IoT wearables, Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, Sentinel satellite imagery and blockchain technologies. The current version of the product provides farmers with digested and relevant information on their animal status (health, location, feeding and reproductive condition among others). Thanks to integration of AI and blockchain technologies first piloted in the Cattlechain project, support for smart decisions as well as a full traceability on the dairy/meat products will be provided in the new version of the product.

Figure 1 . Added Value of the Solution

How it works

The new version of the Digitanimal solution which will integrate results of the Cattlechain EU project is based on the following pillars:

  • FIWARE-based cloud platform in which the data received from the collars is harmonized according to a standard data model and analysed using Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that translate the data received into insights regarding animal welfare, health and behaviour. The platform generates notifications to farmers and authorities when a welfare or health issue is detected;
  • Blockchain technology to assure full traceability and transparency along the whole supply chain. Data coming from IoT sensors is directly stored (without human intervention) and made available for traceability purposes. Data generated by farmers and veterinarians is also uploaded.
  • Farmer management apps through which farmers access the data and information generated in a comprehensive way and receive alerts in case any issue arises (e.g. a cow is about to give birth). Through the app, and thanks to the IoT devices, certain paperwork tasks can be performed automatically (e.g. transfer records, health records) so, therefore, workload is significantly reduced;
  • Consumers apps to access traceability information and be able to rate the dairy and meat products that are getting purchased.
Figure 2 . Solution description

Benefits & Impact

Digitanimal, Spain’s market leader in livestock location and monitoring, provides services to more than 3.000 farmers in 50 countries around the world, with +65M data processed yearly.

  • providing animal welfare indicators and full traceability of food from farm to fork thanks to blockchain technologies.

Customers

  • Coolindown Farms — Belinda Lay Australia;
  • Goss Moore — England;
  • Ganadería Las Albaidas — Spain;
  • Farm’s association and cooperatives: established collaborations with farmer’s associations such as UPA, Aseava, COAG , UGAMA, and cooperatives like COVAP, COOPRADO;
  • Public Entities: several strategic partners which act as prescribers for the commercialization of our solution, via special subsidy programmes or promotion campaigns. This is the case of the Government from Asturias Region (Spain) and La Rioja. Having access to technical reports and updated data (i.e. our Data Service) will allow them to control fair rewards, which today require a large investment to control them, and not always with the expected success.

Added Value through FIWARE

Digitanimal’sr history has been linked to FIWARE since the beginning in 2015, having been part of the programme in the Smart AgriFood FIWARE accelerator. Since then, the integration of FIWARE technology has been continuously extended. In 2018, Digitanimal also participated in the “IMPACT Growth” FIWARE accelerator.

  • IDAS: Easing the connection between IoT sensors with the Context Broker, it provides several IoT agents which transform data received through different IoT protocols (e.g., Sigfox) into NGSI;
  • Complex Event Processing (CEP) module: The CEP GE analyses events linked to context data updates in real-time, generating immediate response to changing conditions. The module allows to program rules which trigger certain actions when certain conditions around animals in a farm occur;
  • Cosmos and Cygnus: Enabling the injection of historic context data from farms and stakeholders into Real-time Big Data Analysis and AI processing tools for supporting smarter decisions and the identification of new patterns of animal behavior and farm processes which provide the basis for the development of new services;
  • Canis Major Blockchain Adaptor: enabling the integration of the Context Broker with multiple blockchains. This component allows configuring which concrete updates on context will be logged in the blockchain.

Next steps

Further innovations are already foreseen in Digitanimal’s planning:

  • the adaptation of innovative models that support farms to stay within environmental limits provided by new guidelines or regulations like the “European Green Deal” including current consultation results to positively impact the future Action Plan on Organic Farming.Adapted software modules will measure relevant parameters (e.g. CO2 emissions, carbon sequestration, methane and nitrogen release) to assess the environmental footprint of the farm.

References

Author & Contributors

Carlos Callejero
CEO @ Digitanimal
Contact @
ccallejero@digitanimal.com

FIWARE is the Open Source Platform for Our Smart Digital Future.