How swarm intelligence and decentral networking can make farming more sustainable
A group of engineers and data experts working at various locations for the engineering consulting firm Sokratel joined forces in their spare time to develop a tool that helps farmers and beekeepers to coexist more effectively. Inspired by PLCnext Technology’s global Beehyve campaign, the team started meeting up via video conferences and creating a platform, which allows farmers and beekeepers to exchange information that is helpful for both sides.
BeeSmartNEXT is a web application that bridges the gap between beekeeping and agriculture to protect bees. With BeeSmartNEXT, beekeepers can keep track of their hives while farmers can optimize spraying tours to minimize the impact on bees. The web application provides real-time data on individual hives, including whether bees are swarming, their condition, and yields. Farmers can use BeeSmartNEXT to see registered hives in the area and receive a forecast for the best time to spray based on weather and sensor data. The application also allows for the registration of air pollution warnings and notifies beekeepers if their hives are located in an affected area.
One valuable achievement of BeeSmartNEXT is the fact that it helps farmers become more aware of the needs of beekeepers and thus engage them in supporting the protection of bee colonies. Another notable outcome of this project was the realization of how productive decentralized groups can work together on projects. The Sokratel team members met online in their spare time to develop BeeSmartNEXT and have benefited greatly from the swarm intelligence by the other project teams also contributing their insights and knowledge and outputs.
Utilization of swarm intelligence
Apart from the Beehyve campaign the PLCnext Community is a platform for exchanging findings, codes, ideas, approaches, solutions, between app designers, software developers, and automation engineers worldwide. It is a virtual meeting place for likeminded people, who can help one another accomplishing their goals by sharing information and insights.