Potato producers benefit from sensors (IoT) and AVR’s technological innovations

Olivier Carpentier De Changy

Olivier Carpentier De Changy

Business Group Lead Cloud & Enterprise

Read Time, 3 min.

In Roeslare (Roulers in French), better known by the name “Potato Valley,” potato producers have a particular fondness for AVR’s machines and technologies, which mean they can plant and harvest potatoes more efficiently. More and more of AVR’s machines are equipped with sensors that are connected to the internet (IoT This technology provides farmers with various interesting perspectives, optimizes maintenance and functioning, and helps provide greater insight into agricultural processes. Microsoft’s Azure Cloud is the platform on which these operations are carried out.

Reliability is crucial

Koen Uyttenhove is AVR‘s new IoT Manager, and is responsible for driving innovation within the family business, which was founded in 1849 and employs 154 members of staff in Belgium and the Netherlands and has a turnover of 53 million euros. AVR has set itself the goal of making farmers’ lives easier by creating a larger marketable harvest. AVR is what is known as a “full-liner” company, which means that it develops and offers the full range of machines that potato producers may need, such as planters, harvesters, and machines for working the soil

These machines require a considerable investment and, due to their nature, they are only used intensely during peak periods. Some machine subcontracting companies lease them out or offer them for hire. The challenge is that during harvest time, for example, everyone uses these machines very intensively: Reliability is, therefore, crucial. AVR is constantly working to find solutions in this sector and will soon fully launch the use of IoT sensors in its machines in order to store the machines’ data in the cloud and develop machines that are even more intelligent.

Our goal is to make the lives of potato producers easier. (Koen Uyttenhove, IoT Manager, AVR)

Koen Uyttenhove, IoT Manager at AVR, in a shed in front of a green agricultural machine.

Koen Uyttenhove, IoT Manager, AVR

To measure is to know

AVR Connect – the tool currently under development – reads the sensors’ parameters and can also, for example, measure crop yields. Therefore, farmers have a heat map of their fields on their computer: The red points call for special attention while the green parts are in order in terms of their yield. As a result, farmers can optimize the cultivation and fertilization of their land. Likewise, they also take into account the machines’ traction on the soil, another extremely important element in evaluating soil quality.

A laptop on a table displaying plots of land on a heat map.

Heat maps provide additional information on the quality of the plot

Of course, this tool isn’t restricted to these measurement operations. The sensors work using GPS technology, accurate to the nearest centimeter – obviously much more precise than the GPS units found in our cars or smartphones. This means that they have many more functionalities, which can be added to straight away or in the future.

At the moment, we don’t yet have the capability to carry out predictive maintenance, but we are not too far away if we keep collecting enough data from the machines. (Koen Uyttenhove, IoT Manager, AVR)

Anticipate maintenance and problems

Koen Uyttenhove stresses that the machines are subjected to heavy use during a short period of time. Maintenance operations and preventative work are therefore of utmost importance. he sensors collect data on various aspects of the machines which are essential for maintenance technicians, such as the distance covered, consumption, and traction force.

All of these data are collected by IoT sensors and a stored in Microsoft’s Azure cloud. This process will enable other applications in the future. To this end, AVR is collaborating hand-in-hand with a technical partner – Delaware – but the collaborators are also closely following the development internally.

We use Microsoft’s Azure cloud at AVR because we love its ease of use and its scalability. (Koen Uyttenhove, IoT Manager, AVR)

Minicomputer on a wooden panel that gathers IoT data

IoT minicomputer

Top prizes

AVR Connect has already been awarded ‘ICT Digital Project of the Year.’ This tool perfectly illustrates just how much intelligent use of data can give companies a competitive advantage and help the sector by marrying computing with agriculture, two areas which at first glance seem to have nothing in common.

‘CIO of the Year’ trophy, awarded to AVR Connect, displayed on a table

AVR Connect wins ‘ICT Digital Project of the Year’

Try Microsoft Azure for free

Get started building your next great idea with Azure

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

Finance & Insurance

Government

Healthcare

  • A man sitting down and smiling at the camera

    dacadoo: opening the digital door to a healthier future and a better world

    “530 years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci attempted to define the quality of human life. Fast forward half a millennium and we are doing the same thing – just with different technology.” Much like Da Vinci, Peter Ohnemus has grand ambitions for the role he can play in shaping human history. The CEO of global health […]

  • a doctor wearing a white coat and smiling at the camera

    How technology is revolutionising care for patients with chronic conditions

    “I could never have imagined that the monitoring system I had developed for patients with chronic heart disease would one day play a role in the war against a global pandemic.” José Paulo Carvalho, Founding Partner of Portuguese telehealth company Hope Care, explains how technology he has been developing for more than six years – HCAlert […]

Manufacturing

  • A Maersk container

    Maersk and Onomondo: a partnership that’s making all the right IoT connections

    “I suppose you could say we were dating at first,” says Michael Karlsen, CEO and co-founder of Onomondo, as he recalls his company’s first meeting with Danish shipping behemoth A.P. Moller – Maersk in February 2019. He admits that the two companies were an unlikely corporate couple: the small, Copenhagen-based start-up IoT operator Onomondo with less than 20 employees, and the massive, 79,900-strong Maersk with its global fleet of over 700 vessels and 3.5 million containers.   The match was made by the Danish Energy Authority. “They knew we were very interested […]

  • a group of people standing next to a person

    4 reasons Citrix and Windows Virtual Desktop are better together for manufacturing & retail

    Manufacturers and retailers all over the world experience a huge transformation. In this blog we will address big trends that drive this transformation, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of the global workforce and the demand for continuous (digital) innovation. In addition, we will also explain how organizations can respond to these developments with the […]

Retail

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

  • Areal shot of the Johan Curijff ArenA in Amsterdam

    Pitch perfect? The football stadium enhancing their grass with IoT

    Is Johan Cruijff Arena the most innovative stadium in the world? It’s certainly looking that way. Well ahead of the curve on taking an environmental stance within their business practices, this Dutch arena achieved carbon neutral status before it had even become a global corporate priority. Now this European entertainment goliath turns its sights towards […]

Digital Transformation

  • Cloud and data

    Do you get excited about data?

    If you think about it as ones and zeros, soulless spreadsheets, forms and figures, probably not. But what if data could help make cancer and world hunger subjects that kids only learn about in history lessons a decade from now? What if it powered technology that understood our needs and worked proactively to meet them? […]

Press

Security & Privacy

Tips

  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]