Have you heard the buzz? Data is everywhere, informing, influencing and affecting the direction and decisions of our lives daily. Due to modern technology, we now have access to a world of knowledge that was otherwise unavailable just 50 years ago. This data is gold, and when we intentionally utilize technology to mine and refine it, we can create a more sustainable world. Industrial internet of things (IIoT) technology makes a sizable and sustainable difference in multiple industries – including apiculture, the business of beekeeping. Much to my surprise, I learned that taking an intentional approach to data collection and distribution profoundly impacts the lives of bees and surrounding societies.
Data and beekeeping
In 2019, I went on a mission with my company ModuSense to create an IIoT solution that could aid specific industries with several deployed assets in need of environmental monitoring. After exploring applications in forestry and horticulture, our journey led us to apiculture farming and the high value commodity of honey. I believe in fully immersing myself in business and technology, so I became a beekeeper to understand the complexity of the apiculture industry better.
Beekeeping is a high-value asset in New Zealand and Australia, almost exclusively because of the manuka honey variant. While traditional clover or bush honey may earn between $4-6 dollars a kilo, manuka honey can earn as high as $200 a kilo, making every drop critically important. Proper hive monitoring is essential for quality production, but beehives (especially the manuka variant) often grow in difficult terrain within remote locations, making them challenging and expensive to access regularly.
Without IIoT technology, beekeeping is a naturally complicated process. Oftentimes, beekeepers must utilize helicopters to deploy and check on their hives, which is time-consuming, expensive and challenging. However, with the right IIoT solutions, such as sensors that monitor hive conditions, the beekeeping process is simplified, increasing productivity and overall harvest quality. With access to the right data, beekeepers don’t have to check on the internal conditions of their hive manually; instead, they can manipulate and control the hive’s environment from afar through sensors to create optimal conditions for production.This IIoT technology is helping us augment the beekeeping process through effective data monitoring, which is ultimately creating a simpler and more sustainable approach to hive operations.
In many ways, beekeeping is quite similar to dairy farming, meaning better environments create better products. When cows receive access to the best pastures, they inevitably produce better milk which then creates better dairy products for us to consume. The same is true in the life of bees. When bees intentionally receive access to the best environmental conditions and quality nectar, they are able to become high-strength, crop-ready colonies which naturally produce a high-quality harvest. Effective regulation of the bees’ environment is critical to ensure the best yield, and this is where IIoT technology is making a world of difference in the apiculture industry.
Bees are incredibly sensitive to barometric pressure, humidity and temperature, all of which play a role in their ability to produce as a colony; bees also need to maintain a central weight to operate at peak performance. As such, the best way to ensure a quality harvest from a beehive is to maintain the colony’s weight and manage the hive’s temperature. With proper data insights, we can do this remotely by studying and monitoring the internal collective health and conditions of the hive. Without lifting the hive’s lid, which disrupts the harvest process, we can virtually control the bees’ environment without the extra cost or time of added deployments. These insights are easy to monitor from a single pane of glass, making critical information accessible faster than a bee can fly (which is pretty fast at 20 mph!).
Integrating special IIoT sensors, we developed the HiveBeats Environmental Monitoring Sensor, HiveScale V5 and Brood Monitoring Sensors that now provide precise insights into the life of a bee, which ultimately determine if and when human intervention is needed. This allows for significantly fewer errors to occur and saves time and money along the way.
Data connects life – for bees and people
At ModuSense, we are proud to develop timely IIoT solutions, including sensor devices, cloud-based data routing, data storage, analysis platforms and connectivity hardware to provide solutions that are easily deployed and ready to fit for purpose. In partnership with FreeWave, we are committed to accelerating hardware and software IIoT development capabilities in meaningful and immediately measurable ways for remote industries around the globe.
As the CEO of ModuSense, I am proud of the work we have done to create real-life change in the world of apiculture. Our special sensors enhance the hive cultivation process by extracting critical internal data insights, all while creating a culture of industrial sustainability for beekeepers along the way.
We are creating a new way forward by leveraging the power of IIoT technology to monitor data and using that insight to respond with actionable execution. Sustainability is about finding ways to use less to do more and our ModuSense sensors are doing just that for beekeepers around the globe.
Today, technological intervention plays a significant role in the efficiency and sustainability of our work. When we remove the guesswork from our labor, we can respond with intention and precision, creating better work environments and industry performance worldwide. I am proud to contribute to this type of change in the life of bees and beyond.