Smart technology helping farmers and the environment

A Bundaberg-based company has developed a smart irrigation system, driven by artificial intelligence that will help farmers save money, water and increase production. We sat down with Sebastian Cerone from LESS Industries,to find out more about this clever tech innovation.

Can you explain to us what your business does?

LESS Industries offers a suite of products that use Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to improve profitability of agricultural and industrial processes through smart monitoring.

The solution consists of a network of devices that perform sensing of relevant conditions and send the data to the cloud application for visualisation, analysis and decision-making.

The collected data is then sent to a cloud-based application to decide when is the best moment to irrigate according to the soil and weather conditions.

An avocado fitted with the Less Industries’ monitoring system.

What were the problems you set out to address?

Queensland exports over $20 billion of agricultural products annually. Global warming, regulations and external competitors are a challenge for the industry.

For agriculture to remain profitable, the adoption of new and innovative tools supporting sustainable agricultural practices is essential. One of the key factors is irrigation. Farmers fertilise through irrigation, which requires a vast amount of power, water and labour.

Farmers generally irrigate under a calendar scheme, which means every week they irrigate the same amount of water, no matter the weather conditions. Some crops can suffer from over-watering which can affect their fertilisation and also drive up the costs to our farmers.

Our system consists of a network of devices that sense the health of the plant and current environment.

How did LESS Industries come together?

The company started almost six years ago in Argentina, while I was drinking coffee with some classmates at university. We found at that time there was a lack of technologies to help people, particularly farmers in remote areas to receive data in an easy way. Today, LESS has operations in Australia, Europe, and South America.

What will this opportunity mean for your business?

The Ignite Ideas funding mean we can further help farmers in the Bundaberg region and also grow our presence overseas — our goal for 2020 is having 50% of our revenue generated from overseas.

Have you collaborated with any organisations that have been instrumental in your success?

Since relocating our business from Argentina to Bundaberg, we have been extremely encouraged by the support we have received in the local community.

There are so many people that have helped us; in expediting our growth, either developing our technologies or joining us as customers.

I would like to make a special mention to The Generator Bundaberg, where we have been able to co-work with other entrepreneurs in the Bundaberg region.

The hardware behind the Less Industries smart irrigation system.

What do you see as the advantages of being an innovator in Queensland?

Advance Queensland’s support has been incredible. Without Advance Queensland we would be a group of nerds working in a garage. Now we have a presence in three different countries, in three different continents.

Also I am extremely grateful to Trade Investment Queensland for their support and connections in helping us to expand in the European market. Their guidance has been invaluable.

Less Industries are one of more than 50 Queensland businesses to share in more than $6.5 million from Round 5 of the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund. Visit the website to find out how the Advance Queensland initiative can help grow your business.

*LESS Industries is the trading name for Sensor Bridge Technologies Pty Ltd.

Last updated 21 Aug, 2020
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