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Hacking Satellite Series: Spotlight on Vence
Exploring Vence, Agtech’s Latest Hack
The Hacking Satellite Series isn’t always about conceptualizing our own products for the future of satellite. This month, we’re going to take a quick look at a pretty cool product that has come to market for livestock farmers called Vence, which (according to TechCrunch) recently raised $2.7M to pursue its goals. In a strange way, Vence is a case study for the satellite industry’s potential role in the future of Agtech, and it is very interesting, especially for a company like GSE, which offers a tracking portal software solution.
Vence is a wearable device for livestock that brings the same virtual fence technology used with pets to the pasture. The device also reports on animal vitals, allowing farmers to be aware of their status at all times from the convenience of their smartphone or tablet. Regarding concerns about cruelty and the administration of electrical stimuli, Vence claims its product uses the same level of shock as a traditional electrified fence that is already employed in large part throughout the industry.
Among the benefits being pitched for Vence’s potential positive impact on the industry include the boons of rotating grazing patterns, which will mostly assist with mitigating the risks of over-eating in certain areas as well as managing the amount of waste in those areas. Because of the ability to move the boundaries of the fence with the accompanying app, farmers can prevent the pollution of the soil, ensure that grass has the opportunity to regrow appropriately between feeding.
Implications for Satellite
If wearables for livestock become more popular over time, it is not unreasonable for satellite technologies to be employed with that hardware to improve the intelligence ecosystem and increase overall efficiency in these operations. We’ve already seen the extensive benefits of PLC solutions in Oil and Gas sectors, and that same localized networking capability can be built into these wearable devices as well. Vence’s technology is app-driven, meaning the devices and the app itself will likely require some kind of network capabilities to function properly, which is a clear and open opportunity for additional revenues for airtime providers and hardware that enables remote internet capabilities via satellite.
Also incredibly telling is the investment capital going into this particular product, which indicates not only an appetite for Agtech investment, but also a commercial interest in data ecosystem technologies as well. The article on TechCrunch explicitly cited a figure of $500,000 in annual expenses for fencing as the financial incentive for a particular livestock farm in New Zealand that formed the basis of the case study. Demand for the Vence hardware already exceeds 1 million devices from livestock farmers across seven different countries.
This level of interest along with the successful venture funding of Vence is likely to drive additional capital firms to seek initiatives in the agritech sector in the coming years. This will create a number of opportunities for firms in the satellite sector to partner with hardware and app developers to create packaged solutions for enabling the data ecosystems in remote farming operations.
GSatTrack and Agritech
Immediately upon reading this article, my mind went to the functionality and capabilities of GSatTrack for this type of solution. Whether because it already supports data gathering, status reporting, and other tracking of assets or because of its Geofencing functionalities, GSatTrack is already very close to providing a very similar solution set for anyone with hardware that can be used to create the virtual fences.
Articles like this encourage us to consider the bounds of our software capabilities as we continuously improve our product offerings for both hardware and GSatTrack. We are dedicated to making sure that our solution is capable of adapting to industry changes, demands for new functionality, and allowing our clients to grow with these technological advancements as well. As more investment capital flows into data ecosystem technology for any sector, be certain that GSE will be mindful of that activity, and that we will be actively pursuing ways to augment our product strategy to accommodate them.