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 and a woman looking at a laptop

    4 reasons Citrix and Windows Virtual Desktop are better together for healthcare

    Healthcare institutions 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, enhanced collaboration between medical specialists and the rise of cyberattacks. In addition, we will also explain how organizations can respond to these developments with the joint solutions from Microsoft […]

  • A portrait of a doctor from San Raffaele hospital in Milan

    IRCCS San Raffaele: Identifying the COVID-19 patients at highest risk with AI

    2020 has been an unpredictable and transformative year for every industry. But no sector has felt the impact of COVID-19 quite as acutely as healthcare. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions all over the world have had to adapt quickly to a situation that is changing and evolving every day. A major aspect of the challenge […]

Manufacturing

Retail

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

Digital Transformation

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, […]