February 12, 2008 Wireless sensor specialist Crossbow Technology has announced the forthcoming release of a new precision agricultural monitoring system that uses a network of solar-powered sensors to deliver critical real-time data on crop health via an Internet browser.
The turnkey ēKo Pro Series solution provides live data about crop health, vigor and growth progress through a simple Internet interface that allows remote access to live sensor data, critical trend charts and alarm settings - all of which are highly customizable. The wireless mesh network technology is designed to be self-configuring and self-healing to enhance easy setup and scalability.
“eKo takes crop monitoring using wireless technology to whole new levels in terms of reliability, flexibility, and ease,” said Alan Broad, Director of Environmental Products at Crossbow. “Its meshbased architecture with capabilities such as data re-routing, self-organizing/self-healing network, autodetection of new nodes delivers proven reliability, effortless deployment, and easy scalability. Moreover, the unique sensor interface provides the flexibility to add any sensor from third-party vendors in the future."
Innovations in the world of agricultural monitoring are bringing a traditionally low-tech industry into the technology age with a focus on maximizing output in what can be unpredictable times in terms of weather patterns. Designed to increase farm profits and competitive advantage by enabling lower input costs, mitigating crop loss risks, increasing per-acre yields, and delivering higher quality crops with greater consistency, the system facilitates improvement of yield and quality regardless of the variability in the terrain, soil or micro-climates by providing detailed feedback.
Crossbow Technology, which also makes sensor and navigation solutions for heavy agricultural equipment, is based in California but has distributors in 24 countries worldwide. The eKo Pro Series will begin shipping in April this year and price details are only available on request at this stage. The Starter Kit will include a network gateway, three wireless nodes, six soil moisture/temperature sensors, one ambient temperature sensor, and built-in web-based monitoring application.