Telenor Connexion just announced the winners of an innovation competition called the Nordic IoT Challenge. The goal was come up with the most innovative idea or device that uses connected technology to improve the everyday lives of people. Biogrid’s entry made it almost to the top, and we ended up receiving honorable mentions.
Biogrid’s entry was an idea for a SIM-card connected device named the BioSpike. The BioSpike is a low-cost soil- and climate sensor that will be used to lift smallholder farmers in less developed countries out of poverty.
We wanted to come up with a concept that would make sense in the new territories that Telenor operates in, such as Myanmar, which is one of the least developed countries on the planet. Despite the importance of agriculture in Myanmar and other developing countries, the practice is often sub-optimal due to wrong use of fertilizers, poor seed quality, and a focus on subsistence farming and not on farming for market distribution. Subsistence farming tend to be highly risk-averse, meaning that the focus is on minimizing loss and not on maximizing gains.
We had the great opportunity to discuss the idea with Asia-expert Hugh Mason at the JFDI incubator in Singapore. Hugh has a great ability to see the large picture and by using his insight into the Asian markets, he quickly sketched out the rough idea for the BioSpike.
For insight into the conditions met by farmers in developing countries, and the state of fertilizer use, we discussed the concept with the director of the Development Fund in Norway, Kari Helene Partapuoli and the director of Crop Nutrition Solutions in the global fertilizer company Yara, Pål Øystein Stormorken. Based on their input, we came up with the complete concept, from the actual hardware component and its associated back-end application to the complete business idea and roll-out plan.
If you’re interested in learning more about the BioSpike and how the Internet of Things can be used to reduce poverty, then feel free to contact us.