Tired of hearing about the internet of things? Well, how about the internet of oysters?
Led by CEO Ros Harvey, an Australian businesswoman, The Yield has placed sensors in the shallow bays and estuaries of Tasmania that measure water salinity, depth and temperature, as well as the area’s rainfall, air pressure, and wind speed and direction. According to a Microsoft video, the data is sent to Microsoft’s Azure public-cloud service, where it’s processed by machine learning and advanced analytics. Results are delivered to dashboard-like apps on growers’ and industry regulators’ smartphones.
“Weather can have a fairly significant effect on oysters,” says Justin Goc, general manager of Tasmania’s Barilla Bay Oyster Farm, in the video. “They’re filter feeders. The rain can actually cause our bays to be closed. What we need is information that helps us make decisions whether to open or close.”
Tasmanian marine farmers produce about 36 million oysters a year, a market with $24 million annually. State regulators shut down harvesting when there are heavy rains that could wash contaminants into the oyster bays. The farmers traditionally have used rain gauges from public weather stations that could be miles away.
The new cloud-based technology is expected to cut harvest closures by 30 percent, saving Tasmanian oyster growers about $5.3 million a year, Microsoft said.
[Editor’s Note: The size of the expected financial savings has been corrected since publication.]