Death by a Thousand Subscriptions

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The increased popularity of precision agriculture sensors – soil humidity, rain, flow meters, fruit size, stem diameter, weather stations – carries an unfortunate side-effect: a multitude of subscriptions.

Sensors need to send their data to the cloud and vendors are happy to charge a monthly subscription to cover data communication costs and related costs. These multiple subscriptions add up to significant monthly fees, reducing the ROI of precision agriculture projects.

What to do?

One option is to consolidate the communications using efficient long-range communications such as LoRa. Instead of each sensor carrying its own cellular bill, consolidate multiple sensors into a single LoRa gateway (with a range up to 10 miles) and pay a single cellular bill for the gateway.

The other option is to use the equivalent of a swiss-army knife. Instead of carrying a screwdriver, scissors, a can opener, and a sharp blade in your pocket – a swiss-army knife consolidates them into one useful tool.

In the sensory world, the SolTag from Sol-Chip is exactly that: it is a maintenance-free device that can connect to four separate sensors, two additional pulse counters (such as flow meters) and also control multiple valves and switches. These are all integrated into a single unit with a single LoRa communication link. Multiple SolTags can be deployed, all connecting to a single gateway.

An added advantage is that the data is collected in one place. Instead of having multiple disconnected data islands, all the SolTag data is stored on the cloud (AWS, Azure or Google) and can be easily accessed.

Instead of multiple subscriptions that financially “bleed you”, consider a single device that can aggregate multiple sensors.