Sweden’s IRRIOT, which stands for Irrigation Internet of Things, is a Swedish company that has set out to change the way farmers water their fields.
“Literally what we do is put a brain on top of an irrigation system,” says Johan Wendt, IRRIOT’s chief marketing officer. “This allows our users to save up to 50% of the water for irrigation and increase crop yields by as much as 30%.”
The idea of the Internet of Things is spreading rapidly across many industries and sectors. In a nutshell, it means adding sensors to a network of otherwise inanimate objects, connecting them so that they can share data with each other and a base, and then be monitored and controlled from anywhere.
IRRIOT applies this idea to drip irrigation systems. Sensors in the field monitor the temperature, soil moisture, even the pH level of the soil. They send that information via a radio signal to a remote terminal unit in the field, which then sends it to a controller, which is essentially a computer. The remote terminal also opens and closes the valves on the irrigation system. The third part of the system is cloud software, which Johan describes as the intelligence that processes the data and knows when to send the correct commands to the controller.
“We live in a world with global food and water shortages, and we need to produce more food than ever,” Johan says. “Meanwhile, 70% of the world’s freshwater consumption goes to the agricultural sector, and much of it is wasted”.
Invented for a garden
IRRIOT took part in the 2021 Social Innovation Tournament, which is organised by the European Investment Bank Institute to promote creative responses to societal problems. The small business was one of 15 finalists selected from an outstanding group of 280 candidates in 28 countries. The Social Innovation Tournament recognises and supports the best European social entrepreneurs, promoting and rewarding innovative ideas that have social, ethical or environmental impact.