Published: March 24, 2020
The digital revolution is introducing new products and services almost every day. Farmers can now take advantage of these new solutions on the marketplace making their work more efficient and manageable than ever before.
One of these new technologies is called precision agriculture.
Worth about USD 2.2 Billion today, precision agriculture is a form of farm management that uses various data sources like sensor data, yield data, and imagery from satellites or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to observe, measure, and respond to crop conditions.
The goal of precision agriculture is to increase crop yields and outputs while reducing resource requirements such as land, fertilizer, and pesticides to help improve ROI and monitor production changes.
Currently, precision agriculture is used on less than 10% of the world’s farmlands leaving a substantial amount of room for the technology to increase its impact.
A&L Canada Laboratories
Seeing this massive opportunity for growth, A&L Canada Laboratories is looking to capitalize.
Founded in 1985 by Greg Patterson, A&L Labs is a research-driven tech company focused on sustainable development targeting a wide range of audiences including the agricultural, environmental, food, and pharmaceutical sectors.
Headquartered in London, Ontario, A&L’s target market is the agricultural industry and for the precision agriculture market, they have developed an online solution they call TerraSiteRx.
TerraSiteRX is a data analytics platform integrating farm data with A&L soil maps and cultivation expertise.
Using UAVs to collect imagery of crop fields, TerraSiteRx provides detailed analytical data on the soil, plant tissues, fertilizer, and water within farmer’s fields. This data is then formatted into actionable items for farmers to use on any crop.
Leveraging A&L’s expertise and decades of experience in farming, TerraSiteRx hosts a variety of field research-driven algorithms and remote sensing algorithms that are blended to provide optimal data points.
One by One Processing
Currently, TerraSiteRx only uses a single local machine to process the UAV drone images into actionable data items for farmers. The image processing can only be done one at a time limiting the number of images that can be processed within a typical workday.
To decrease costs and compete in the marketplace, TerraSiteRx needs to provide more data faster.
The “one at a time” way of image processing isn’t a long-term solution for A&L and the alternative of maintaining multiple local processing machines is too costly to stay competitive.
Coming to CENGN, A&L’s goal is to move to a cloud-based solution allowing multiple UAV images to process at once.
Moving to a Cloud-Based Environment
A&L will use the CENGN testbed to expand the capability of the TerraSiteRx platform to handle larger datasets and multiple users within a cloud environment.
The cloud project will include various tests on eight of the platform’s algorithms in order to figure out the CPU, GPU, RAM and resource requirements needed to improve its capacity in a cloud environment.
Each algorithm test will determine:
- Whether or not to use CPU or GPU computing
- The best balance between system resources and execution time
- The algorithm’s performance under stress testing
During this testing, A&L will also be able to benchmark their solution’s cost requirements. This will allow A&L to set a proper price to charge its clients when they introduce the new and improved version of the platform.
Providing a Better Service
By benchmarking and stress testing the TerraSiteRx platform, A&L will have the resource requirements needed to move into a cloud-based environment allowing them to process drone imagery faster and provide their clients with a better solution.
CENGN is proud to be enabling a Canadian organization, whose solutions are contributing to the digital revolution of the agricultural sector.
A&L Canada Laboratories is a growing Canadian business that is using the services at CENGN through the Next Generation Network Program (NGNP). The NGNP is a Government of Ontario program offered through a partnership between CENGN and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) that is providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Ontario access to the CENGN Testbed. CENGN’s digital infrastructure is connecting SMEs like A&L Canada Laboratories to state-of-the-art equipment and network services, which will allow these companies to test and validate their solutions.
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