Kukua Weather Services - Harvesting the benefit of connected farming

ESEYE CASE STUDY

Introduction

Eseye has enabled Kukua Weather Services to offer its customers reliable and securely connected weather stations. These are used to provide a much needed improvement in accuracy in weather predictions.  The connected weather stations give Kukua the ability to create constantly updating weather maps of Sub-Saharan Africa to ensure the frustrations of uncovered areas are a thing of the past.

Situation

Climate change is increasing the unpredictability of weather patterns resulting in problems for many people globally. This issue is magnified within Sub-Saharan Africa where many smallholders rely upon the rainfall to provide the water for crops that millions of people are dependent on in order to survive. Sub-Saharan Africa’s rural areas have a lack of weather monitoring infrastructure due to the associated costs.

The Institute for Climate and Society in Mali has concluded that yields can be increased by up to 20% when smallholders have access to advice based on weather conditions.

Kukua’s thrifty innovation collects information on the local weather including wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, rainfall, temperature, humidity, and much more. The design uses a specifically designed frame that can accommodate a range of different sensors to suit the precision and price point required by the customer.

Building upon the universality of weather conditions, Kukua Weather Services are currently partnering with large NGOs to establish networks of weather stations across Africa. The data is used for NGO research purposes, and plans are being made to sell the data to both commercial and smallholder farmers, in order for Kukua to become financially sustainable. The service will also be provided to disaster relief charities, renewable energy firms, transport and logistics companies, as well as event organisers.

One of Kukua’s current partners is using the weather information to help understand the difference in yields across groundnut plantations in Tanzania. Comparing the farming techniques with the weather conditions allows the partners to find the best farming techniques for the conditions. This in time can enable accurate and useful yield improving training to help the farmers.

Solution

The World Meteorological Organisation-standardised sensors inside a Kukua weather station are attached to a small solar panel, which is then attached to a battery, two microcontrollers, modem, and an Eseye AnyNet SIM card. Using Eseye’s connectivity, the collected data is sent off at regular intervals to be analysed and interpreted after which it is presented and used to inform and advise farmers using precise weather predictions. The raw data is used by scientists in yield models and other research project helping to nourish Africa.

With the Kukua team focused on the collection and interpretation of the information, Eseye were brought in to manage the connectivity. Due to the flexible nature of the AnyNet SIM card and Eseye’s bespoke bundling service, the collaboration was a great match. Within a week of first contact, the AnyNet SIM cards were inside the Kukua stations on their way to being deployed in-country.

Considering that the provision of basic and accurate weather forecasting helps to mitigate the effects of droughts and floods Eseye is proud to be working alongside Kukua. We utilise our relationships with MNOs to ensure that the AnyNet SIM card has the ability to choose between numerous networks to ensure the weather station has the best possible signal even in the remote areas to which Kukua are shipping.

Stephen Stewart

Regional Director – Africa, Eseye

Eseye manages the relationships with Mobile Network Operators to ensure the AnyNet SIM is always within network coverage. Customers are invoiced using easily understandable zonal tariff and bundles which allows Kukua to ship products anywhere in Africa.

Benefits

Eseye and Kukua Weather Services’ partnership has ensured the solution has been quickly deployed in multiple nations, all within a fixed monthly connectivity cost. With ongoing Eseye support, farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa can be sure the information that assists them in harvesting success is in safe hands.

Eseye has been instrumental in ensuring the connectivity works smoothly and we have noted how helpful its dedicated support team is in problem solving. The nightmare situation of having devices offline no longer exists. Eseye was very supportive from the onset and enabled us to get started immediately.

Tom Vanneste

Project Coordinator, Kukua Weather Services

More information

Eseye case studies are written in conjunction with customers and partners to provide interesting illustrations of how the Internet of Things is evolving and how Eseye, its customers and its partners are using innovation to deliver value adding services to homes, enterprises and cities.

For more information about this case study or to discuss any aspect of it, please contact the Eseye Marketing Department on marketing@eseye.com or alternatively on +44 (0)1483685200.

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