New alliance set to offer Australian farmers enhanced visibility, efficiency, and sustainability of their water supplies
23 July 2020: Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has entered into an agreement with Farmbot Monitoring Solutions (Farmbot), a leading provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to the agricultural industry and Pivotel, Australia’s leading provider of mobile satellite services. The agreement will ensure that farmers anywhere in Australia are able to use the next generation of Farmbot’s solutions to remotely monitor water tanks, dams and reservoirs and activate pumps and other machinery in real-time, as and when required, resulting in a more sustainable and productive future for the sector. Pivotel has been working with Farmbot since 2015 and will continue to provide support as part of the new alliance.
2019 was the driest year on record in much of Australia and the management of water is an increasingly important issue. Australia has over 430,000 rural water tanks storing water critical to agriculture and over 1,000,000 dams, reservoirs and other bodies of water, very few of which are monitored in real time. Most water storage facilities have pumps moving water to troughs and other locations for irrigation, but without real-time visibility and analytics, the management of water is time-consuming and inefficient. The cost of managing water is also growing, with many farmers having to travel hundreds of kilometres a day to manually monitor their portfolio of water storage facilities.
The alliance will provide greater functionality to Farmbot’s customers, allowing farmers to monitor their water storage facilities in real-time and operate pumps when they are needed. This approach will lead to cost savings, a reduction in unnecessary travel and a more sustainable approach to water management. The Farmbot platform will also gain the ability to activate machinery, cameras, gates and a wide variety of equipment remotely, offering savings of millions of dollars to the industry, while also reducing the carbon footprint and improving safety.
From a connectivity standpoint, the solution will employ Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP) service, a two-way messaging service provided in a compact, robust housing, which is ideal for the tough conditions found in remote areas in Australia. Inmarsat’s global connectivity services are underpinned by the world’s most reliable satellite communications network, which is the backbone for maritime, aviation and land safety services throughout the world.
The agreement between the companies also recognises the potential for Farmbot to leverage Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity and expertise to help provide remote and precision agricultural monitoring for the global agricultural industry.
Commenting on the agreement, Steven Tompkins, Director of Sector Development at Inmarsat, said: “There is an increasing global awareness over the need to better manage our water supplies to achieve more sustainable outcomes. Already operating in 2,800 locations across Australia, and growing at around 200 per month, Farmbot is leading the way in deploying innovative technologies to help solve these issues for a more sustainable and productive future for the agriculture sector. With our 40 years of heritage and expertise in providing critical connectivity services across different industries, we are excited to bring this experience and help Farmbot develop real-time, IoT-based water monitoring solutions for Australian farmers.
“Farmbot has developed a simple, user-friendly remote water monitoring solution that provides real-time visibility of agricultural water supplies to farming operations across Australia. In addition to the ability to remotely monitor water levels, trends and alerts, the solution will also give farmers the functionality to remotely operate pumps and other machinery, enhancing an operation’s productivity and sustainability. A key barrier to unlocking the power of this technology is connectivity, as many of Australia’s remote communities only have access to terrestrial networks. Inmarsat’s globally available connectivity services, such as our IsatData Pro (IDP) service, offer two-way messaging making it particularly suitable for supporting Farmbot’s applications that need remote control capability or where updates must be installed remotely.”
Commenting on the agreement, Andrew Coppin, Managing Director of Farmbot said: “Although Australian farmers are some of the most innovative in the world, adoption of technology on farms has been hamstrung by cellular network connectivity issues. We are really excited about the opportunities that Inmarsat’s real-time, two-way communications will bring to rural Australia and other regions. Affordable satellite-controlled pumps and machinery is a first for the Australian agriculture industry. This partnership has the potential to significantly improve the management of critical water resources for rural farmers worldwide, resulting in tangible productivity gains. The development of on-demand operation of pumps, cameras and machinery for farmers has significant and far-reaching benefits spanning individual farm profitability, carbon reduction and ultimately more sustainable outcomes.”
Christian Stevens/Connor O’Keefe
Tel: +44 (0)20 7388 9988
Director of Marketing and Communications
Tel: +44 (0)7872 158548
Farmbot Media Contact:
Senior Account Manager
Cox Inall Communications (Sydney, Australia)
M: +61401 464 664
Jonathan Sinnatt/ Matthew Knowles
Tel: +44 (0)20 7728 1518/1355
Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.
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ABOUT INMARSAT ENTERPRISE
Inmarsat Enterprise is the leading global provider of satellite-enabled managed connectivity services for land-based organisations. We are enabling the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and helping transform business outcomes across a diverse set of sectors, including agriculture, aid and NGO, media, mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, transport and utilities.
Pivotel is Australian owned and operated with unrivalled expertise in critical communications providing solutions to people who live, work and play outside of mobile coverage. Pivotel’s headquarters are located on the Gold Coast, Queensland with offices spread around Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Latin America and Indonesia.
All of Pivotel’s customer touchpoints are local, supported by an experienced network of engineers, application developers, customer care agents and a network of over 200 dealers.
Pivotel is the only Australian carrier with direct connection to the world’s four major mobile satellite networks: Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya and Globalstar. The company’s suite of satellite and mobile technologies enable remote connectivity via satellite phones, satellite broadband, personnel and asset trackers, IoT, Machine-to-Machine connections and specialised maritime communications.
Pivotel Group’s 4G mobile network, ecoSphere®, extends its carrier network to deliver complementary terrestrial wireless services to rural and remote Australians operating outside the coverage footprint of the major mobile networks.
Farmbot Monitoring Solutions is an Australian based Agritech company specialising in remote monitoring solutions. The company has grown significantly over the past two years as its core water monitoring solutions have become the new gold standard of real time remote monitoring devices. By deploying the latest satellite and cellular technology the company has created a portfolio of innovative sensors that connect wirelessly to its monitor and report back onto its SaaS platform. Generating real time alerts, trends analysis and actionable insights on water ecosystems and farm infrastructure via its proprietary algorithms, the business is expanding its product offerings and collaborations with other leading global Agritech’s and exploring expansion into international markets in 2021.