A farming couple have given the thumbs up to a high-tech solution to the age-old problem of farm gates being left open and livestock straying or being stolen.
Llion and Sian Jones, who farm 750 acres at Maelogan Fawr over 1,000 feet up on the Hiraethog Mountain above Llanrwst, have been piloting an advanced piece of kit that alerts them if a gate has been opened and say it has given them real peace of mind.
The Dewin Open:Close technology has been developed by award-winning Anglesey-based dewin.tech – dewin is Welsh for wizard.
The system is part of the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution, which allows objects and sensors to be connected via the world wide web.
It taps into the wireless technology of LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Access Network) that’s especially suited to rural areas where communications infrastructure often falls short.
Llion and Sian, are part of the Wales-wide Farming Connect network and Maelogan Fawr is a demonstration farm which is why they were chosen to pilot the project and they have been mightily impressed.
Sian, the third generation of her family to farm here, said: “The sensor was put in three months ago on the gate which leads up to windfarm site on our farm because there is quite regular traffic up there and we can’t see it from the farm.
“Llion and I get a text message on our phones when the gate opens or closes and after 20 minutes if the gate is still open, we get a warning.
“That happened this week when a maintenance man went up there and left the gate open – we had cattle with calves in the field there and they could easily have escaped down the lane but we were able to close the gate in time.
“It’s a really good system and gives us peace of mind.”
The company, dewin.tech, is based at the M-SParc Technology Park on Anglesey and was founded by Geraint Hughes and Meinir Lloyd Jones.
It was crowned Welsh Mobile and Emerging Technology Start-Up of the Year in September.
To develop Dewin Open:Close, they formed a technology partnership with Dr Rob Shepherd from EvoMetric, a specialist in data sensor networks.
They could see its application for farming and also for the utilities and environmental sectors and believe it could easily be rolled out across the country using LoRaWAN network coverage. Possible applications can include monitoring access points to key sites in rural areas, be it gates or doors.
Geraint said: “This is becoming more extensive, so the infrastructure is in place for us to deliver this and for it to be a success. A LoRaWAN ‘gateway’ hub was already installed on Llion and Sian’s farm, and this communicates with the Dewin Open:Close sensor every few seconds.
“If the gate opens it sends a text to their phones via the free ‘Telegram’ app. The LoRaWAN hub, which costs up to £1,500 to install and deploy, could cover the area within a 10-kilometre radius taking in perhaps dozens of farms and hundreds of gates, each with their unique identity so that only an individual farm was notified if one of its gates was opened.
Each Dewin Open: Close sensor, costing £40, is powered by a long-life battery and its applications extend far beyond agriculture.
All aspects of the hardware have been developed to withstand anything from the harshest of weather to rodent damage and it is straightforward to install using a simple guide prepared by dewin.tech
He added: “This is a game-changer for so many sectors, the application is incredibly advanced and we are proud to have got to this point and launched the business.
“It may be a bold move given we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, but we believe this will be well received, and the feedback we’ve had already is very positive.
“We have so much talent and innovation in North Wales and this is an example of that, and there is more to come – this is just the start for dewin.tech.”
For more information, visit the website www.dewin.tech or follow dewin.tech on social media at @TechDewin