“The land is dry, there is no rain and the restriction on water is increasing,” the elderly custard-apple grower said. “That wonderful profession with a passion to wake-up each morning for work has now become a drag.” Since his farming days for 30 or so years, the custard-apple grower never faced drought and water restrictions. But today, even the largest area of Queensland suffers horrible drought.
That heartfelt discussion with this farmer in Lockyer Valley (Brisbane, Australia), in 2015 has changed the entire view of Vishy Karri, a prominent academic. And with a vision to make the lives of farmers easy, Vishy started Expert365.
The denial of Global Warming with meaningless debates has always been hurting the planet – people see more often unusual weather patterns like scorching heat in peak winter and horrific floods in winter. “If a national recognition and efforts to combat global warming is taking its own time, we as individuals can do our part in sustainability actions that will protect both our soil and water,” Vishy says.
Founded in 2015 by Professor Vishy Karri, Expert 365 is a leading Australian Internet of Things (IoT) solution provider and systems integrator. The company’s vision is to address IoT solutions for horticulture and aquaculture farms with a focus on optimizing irrigation water and on-line water quality measurement. With advances in modern IOT, farmers continue to invest more faith in emerging technologies rather than relying on “experiential farming”. Expert 365 provides a turnkey of IoT solutions for horticulture and aquaculture farms and businesses to rapidly deploy and operate IoT with amazing, user-friendly applications and user experiences and requiring little configuration to start seeing results.
The Products That Made a Difference
Expert365 started its venture with its first product called Quantitative Water Irrigation (QWI365) and an affordable controller called Quantitative Water Irrigation Controller (QWIC365). These flagship products by Expert365 are an excellent tool for both awareness and decision support. The sensors are placed in soil bed to read electrical conductivity, moisture, and soil temperature, then the information is sent to cloud where it processes taking several parameters into consideration, the exact amount of water required per unit length or area of the farm patch. The system considers all the weather parameters, the age of the plant, type of the plant, type of soil and the amount of readily available water based on the soil profile to calculate the precise amounts of water needed for each plant. More recently Expert365 released AQUA365 to assist aquaculture farmers to measure up to 40 key water quality parameters on-line.
As the first project roll-out, it was a challenging task. The challenge was more into getting the farmers to understand the scientific methods rather than apprehension with any remotely similar competitors. Today, the firm has over 100 sensor installations and growing steadily across Australia. And one of its customers, the blushing blueberries, winning a silver medal at the Australian food awards for 2017 has been the highlight of this year.
‘Success without Struggle’ Is a Myth
“There are three important aspects that make or break a business; people, money, and technology. If any of the three are compromised, then an organization will fail. Ability to endure while addressing these three factors decides the success or failure of a start-up.”
No firm has ever succeeded without overcoming hurdles and challenges. Struggle plays the major role in every company’s success stories. Just like every other newborn firm, Expert365 has also dealt with a couple of challenges in its initial days. Cash flow was a major challenge during the trial phase of the installations of the products. Each farmer wanted a 2 week trial before commitment and the apprehensions associated with the recipes to complement their best practice was a large delay. There was no external finance except the founders’ family contribution to the project and the belief that the product will take-off with persistence has now partially paid off. Prof Karri said, “if you cannot endure you should not venture, the fear of failure can be daunting; start-ups require unending patience and perseverance”.
Crafting the Future Roadmap
While there are products and sensors carrying out off-line work for farmers, using IoT bring a new means of decision support, Expert365’s edge is in the provision of technology at an affordable price while making it user-friendly.
The company is planning to launch on-line water quality measurements for the mining industry in the Q1 of 2018. As current methods to detect metals is using expensive plasma spectroscopy and requires at least a week turnaround time, this all-new technology by Expert365 is world’s first. And for the coming years, the firm will be expanding its territory to SE Asia and India to address the horticulture and aquaculture needs. The aquaculture market in SE Asia is large and the firm hopes to address the health/aesthetic water quality needs using its first-rate technologies.
Greet the Chief
Prof. Vishy Karri is the Founder and CEO of Expert365. Prof. Karri received Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne in 1991 and worked as ARC postdoctoral fellow until 1993. He then moved to University of Tasmania in late 1993 where he worked for 15 years holding several leadership roles within the School of Engineering and the University. He worked as visiting research professor at Aalborg University, Denmark, MIT Cambridge and University of Applied sciences, Stralsund, Germany at various stages in my career. He also worked as the President of Australian College in Kuwait for 5 years.
Prof. Karri published extensively in the areas of sustainable energy, renewable technologies, and IoT. He received Doctorate of Letters from Cape Breton University in 2012 for his contributions to sustainability research. He is also a Professorial fellow at Center for renewable energy, Charles Darwin University, Australia, a Professorial fellow of the Institute of energy, Cape Breton University, Canada, a Fellow of the Engineers Australia. He is Australia’s most innovative Engineer for 2017 by Engineers Australia.
“Sustainability of soil is every country’s challenge and taking care of water and water quality via on-line monitoring of parameters is critical for our daily needs and aquaculture, in particular.”