The initial Spark
Our journey began in 2013, when an air conditioning failure in the company’s server room almost led to critical data loss. After this incident, engineers installed an IoT solution in the server room to monitor temperature, the humidity, and the performance of the servers as well. For convenience, this information was always easily available, thanks to a mobile app developed specifically with this solution in mind. If key thresholds are exceeded, the app sends alerts, so immediate action can be taken to avoid data loss.
We were curious if there is a similar solution for monitoring hobby horticultural operations, but after attending the Cultiva Expo & Congress in Vienna, Austria we saw that there really wasn’t, and realized the potential of our solution. We were only missing the hardware for the solution now, and after asking around and gathering contacts at the expo we found a few companies who seemed interested in the concept.
Prototyping with Urban Farming
Soon after we were already in the prototype stage with two companies. Out of these two companies, we seemed to understand each other better with Urban Farming Technologies, a company located in the Netherlands. Later we came to an agreement with Mark, from Urban Farming to enter a joint venture. This partnership proved to be a great fit, allowing both companies to do what they do best. Urban Farming focused on the hardware side of things, and we were focused on the software development.
Although initially both sides treated the solution as a side project, the first prototype was built in 2014, using an Arduino development board. Around this time, Raspberry Pi burst onto the scene. Because it better suited our device, we made the leap from Arduino to Raspberry Pi and it is still the development board we use today.
The road to smart qubix™ was a long one as ventures go because neither partner wanted to seek external investment for their solution and, therefore, were relegated to pursuing it as a side project as time and resources permitted. However, the wait proved worth it.
Finalizing the Hardware
Initially, hardware development for smart qubix™ took place at Mark’s company, but after the departure of the person in charge of the project, Mark then contracted a Dutch consulting firm that specialized in hardware development. Although they assembled the final product seen today, our product was one of many projects for this consultant. As deadlines came and went, we realized we were not progressing fast enough, which lead to another change. We knew a company in Hungary, who carved a niche for themselves working with LoRaWAN, so we convinced Mark to move the production there. They are currently finalizing the hardware solution which they took over from the previous Dutch consultant. We have regularly attended trade shows in both Europe and the U.S. to showcase our solution and have incorporated a lot of valuable feedback into the current device.
Meanwhile, we came into contact with a Swedish company called Spowdi, which stands for solar powered water distribution. Their system is compatible with smart qubix™, adding to that, our partners in Hungary responsible for the hardware are helping with the development of Spowdi as well. Spowdi aims to make their solar pumps smart, using our solution, so we are developing a solution for Spowdi based on a similar architecture as smart qubix™.
Where we currently stand
As of now, smart qubix™ is in the final phase of prototyping. We are conducting tests continuously on the production prototype units in order to fix remaining issues and get the final product ready for production. Not only is the solution extremely flexible, but the software also boasts a great number of useful features and tools. Similar solutions are notably more expensive and have less features than smart qubix™. Using the same architecture will give Spowdi some of these great features too, and another reason to combine the solutions.