Founder & CTO, mesur.io
Internet of Things
mesur.io is an emerging leader in technology supporting sustainable and organic growers. Mesur.io’s Earthstream platform is an in-ground IoT solution designed for small growers, organic farmers, and more. Earthstream automatically calibrates to any environment and transmits relevant data (light, soil moisture, ground, surface temperature) to mesur.io’s platform where it is combined with other sources of information to provide concise, real-time recommendations.
As mesur.io developed its hardware platform, we considered how to demonstrate the power and value of both data available through our real-time monitoring, and the imbedded historical data sources so unique to our platform. That led to thinking about how to make it so anyone could interact with the entire range of data, with a visualization dashboard that went beyond a bunch of pretty graphs without any real insights. Our users are growers, turf and landscape professionals, land managers – people on the move and in the field who need an easy way to consume data. Coming from a Fortune 100 consulting background, I worked with a variety of BI and visualization tools in the past and knew we wanted the power of that capability without the cost and overhead. We needed something that could handle a variety of data sources and still deliver an intuitive experience, which might mean building it ourselves, or finding a pretty unique solution. Thankfully we found it in Qlik Sense.
We’ve learned to always focus on core intellectual property and key differentiators. Mesur.io’s focus is to make it easy to access data in remote locations independent of data type. We want to make data ingestible, storing it in a format that makes it usable for long-term analysis and pattern tracking. We also implement machine learning to give users recommendations based on historical trends. Those hard science areas, combined with all the infrastructure to manage the data, are really our value. Buying at the user interface level with Qlik, rather than building a dedicated user experience team and spending time writing code, saves time and money and maintains our focus, further expanding our core IP. Qlik Sense widened our customer base so we can go after the big universities and agronomy consultants; their teams can build out their own analytics on top of Qlik without having to worry about how to collect, store and unify the data for analysis.
Mesur.io now has a fully integrated end to end platform – remote monitoring to data ingestion, storage and visualization that enables analysis and insights – delivered right into the user’s hands, on any device and in any format needed. Our agriculture and golf course user base can tap into our entire database and blend current and historical data live on an iPad anywhere, creating a true IoT experience never before seen in the field. Users are looking at issues as diverse as soil density, nitrogen levels, irrigation and water patterns vs. expected norms, temperature and crop performance – an entire range of analysis that would previously require a team of researchers, a data science degree and an analytics reporting professional.
Our target market of small to mid-sized growers has not had a solution available to them, especially at a price that is affordable. The combination of availability and affordability has enabled them to create higher yields with reduced spending on resources. It has also enabled a market disrupting solution.
One of our key customer bases is golf courses. We executed a variety of tests with pilot customers, getting real time data as a basis for refining our machine learning and data delivery aspects of the platform. Out of that customer research, we designed the hardware and a platform to automatically handle all the key data points. Then we sat down with Qlik and our customers and looked at this data as it was coming off the golf course and asked what kind of data would be useful and how would they like to see it. That user-centric approach combined with Qlik’s absurdly simple drag-and-drop functionality shortened our development time drastically, and more importantly, shortened our time to market by at least six months.
We could prototype user interfaces in real-time without having to create mockups, write the code, wait on feedback, and then iterate. We had an almost instantaneously feedback loop, and in less than two weeks, were able to rapidly come to market and finalize the design process for a golf course superintendents’ interface focused completely around their needs.
Making it so easy to interact and see value from the platform has helped accelerate sales to the point where we tripled revenue from 2016 to 2017.
Qlik Sense is Qlik’s platform for self-service oriented analytics, supporting a full range of use cases including self-service visualization/exploration, guided analytics apps and dashboards, custom and embedded analytics, mobile analytics and reporting, all within a governed multi-cloud architecture. Users benefit from associative exploration and search, smart visualizations, self-service creation and data preparation, geographic analysis, collaboration, and fully interactive mobility.
Surfacing data that agricultural and land owners never had access to before in a cost-effective device, when combined with dozens of native environmental data resources, provides mesur.io users unprecedented access to the entire picture of current and historical data points around water, temperature, seasonality and forecasts. This truly makes it possible for users to mitigate current issues and likely upcoming events that will impact their ability to manage and maximize the value of their land. Visualizing all those data sources in a digestible in meaningful way is only possible through Qlik – which turns this massive world of data into insights that each individual user can then use for their specific needs. No other device than mesur.io’s packs this much data into such a small package, and no other platform helps bring that data to life and enable the exploration and application of that data like Qlik.
A very respected golf course superintendent in Maryland, from his phone in his living room 20 miles away, saw live in the ground readings that helped avoid under irrigation. One fall day temperatures dropped, which normally would mean less irrigation. Through his phone at home he saw soil moisture was lower than expected. His assistant confirmed manually with a several thousand-dollar device what mesur.io reported. He alerted every local course which motivated them all to change plans.