#1 - Smart Farming

Watson: IoT Wireless Sensors for the Grapevine

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Courtesy of IBM

In an effort to become more water use-efficient, E. & J. Gallo Winery teamed up with IBM to create a cloud-connected water irrigation system that uses Watson (IoT wireless sensors) to communicate environmental and vine conditions continuously to a central computer.

The system uses NASA satellite imagery to analyze the vine canopy size and water usage. Looking at the earth through NASA’s 30 by 30 meter pixels motivated the same compartmentalization of the vineyards-each section equating to 5 or 6 vine rows wide, by about 20 to 25 vines long. Tailored to each section, the cloud-based irrigation system uses geo-spatial data including soil or climate information to predict the needs of vine-irrigation. In response to the data, the sensors signal to open valves, releasing the exact water necessary for each vine.

Receiving a Vintage Report Innovation Award for their collaborative efforts on the prototype in 2015, IBM and Gallo have reduced their usage of water by 25% while also improving wine quality.
Using Watson to become hyper-localized, the project instigated research to produce the very recently-released cloud-centric geospatial information and analytics service IBM PAIRS Geoscope (Physical Analytics Integrated Data Repository & Services). The service allows users to bring their analytics to the data (as opposed to the other-way-around).

As Watson is an IoT system that contextualizes specified information through machine-learning, various other sectors including education, governments, healthcare and businesses are using Watson to organize their data to become more efficient.

About the Author

Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.

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