Hack-marathon at the farm


Hack-marathon at the farm

Published on
September 1, 2016

On July the 8th and 9th at the Swine Innovation Centre (SIC) Sterksel the first farm hack on a pig farm took place. In a 36 hours during marathon ‘Hackers’ from various sections were working together with researchers, sector specialists and some pig farmers on smart solutions to problems in pig farming. For example, "how can I see the actual performance of my business out of my office?" Or, "how can we shorten the distance to the consumer?". A feature of the solutions was applying existing and new digital technologies from other sectors.

The winner: team Time tracking!

The winning team designed a working prototype of an application that communicates with beacons and can estimate the time someone is working in a specific section. The app keeps track of the activities carried out on the day and how long, so you can see at the end of the day how much time you have spent on different activities. With this app farmers can optimize their workflow and possibly also compare with each other. The solution makes it possible to do "time tracking" without adding much extra work, thus increasing labour efficiency. The team showed convincingly that beacons are very easily and flexibly used, and have a compelling use case. Plans for follow-up is having the app tested at SIC Sterksel. The winning team will be guided in the further development and market introduction, for which they will attend a bootcamp in late August. VIC Sterksel will also be present there.

Positive hackers

In this case, the word "hacker" gets a positive connotation. The group consisted of a mix of ICT specialists, creative engineers, landscape architects and people from the automotive industry. In other words, experts legally and daily engaged in (remotely) connecting systems and data. In a very short time they were able to develop and explore new data. For this occasion, Farmhack.nl, the organizer of the hack-marathon, designed a platform with all available digital technology. In addition, SIC made 40 years of individual animal data available, which gives a lot of information.

Win-win situation

Why would these people offer 36 hours of work for creating solutions to other people's problems? Are they do-gooders or idealists? Or people who also see business opportunities? In developing a useful app or other digital product for the pig sector there is indeed a market prospect. And this creates a win-win situation. A lot can happen in 36 hours with a common interest. The employees of SIC are excited about the delivered solutions and hope to continue some of the work within the “Experimental Field” at SIC Sterksel.