From Farm to Future: Smart Barn Wirelessly Monitors World of Farming

Engineering duo innovates livestock and crop farming with smartphone app.

By on July 16, 2014

When Ohioans Andrew Klein and Joe Althaus left their childhood farms to get engineering degrees, they knew they’d be back – they’re farmers at heart. Now with technical degrees in hand, they’re transforming the world of farming one barn at a time.

For many livestock farmers, technology plays a key role in managing animals on a large scale. The goal for Klein and Althaus is Precision Livestock Farming, which uses new technology and monitoring capabilities to help effectively manage costs and maximize profitability of herds by providing the best possible care for each animal.

Smart Barn by PrecisionLSF, LLC (the brainchild of the engineering duo) uses the Verizon Wireless network in conjunction with an in-barn wireless sensor network to let farmers remotely monitor humidity, temperature, air quality and feeding so animals can be kept safe and comfortable. The team soon found they could extend their monitoring capabilities to include solutions for produce farmers. For example, grain farmers can lose up to 10 percent of their crop from the time of harvest to processing if bins aren’t monitored and managed effectively.

In January 2014, after three years of brainstorming, Klein and Althaus brought Smart Barn to the market. They have 15 happy customers to date – from hog to soybean farmers – who use Smart Barn to monitor environmental conditions and grain bin temperatures and even link home and business security into the system with motion sensors. Additional monitoring capabilities include power outage and usage, feed system status, airflow and ventilation, water pressure, motion and doors.

The Verizon Wireless network is an integral part of Smart Barn from setup and installation to day-to-day use. When Klein and Althaus install a new Smart Barn system, they use Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network to map farms and place sensors. Once the system is installed and running, it continuously uploads the customer’s data to their cloud storage system.

Whether it’s poultry or crop farming, Smart Barn farmers agree: It’s the system’s consistent reliability that sets PrecisionLSF, LLC apart.

“Reliability is vital to the Smart Barn monitoring system – it’s why farmers choose us,” Klein said. “We’re glad to have the Verizon network on our side. It keeps our customers happy and their animals and crops healthy.”

PrecisionLSF, LLC, began working with Verizon in 2013 as part of the Verizon Partner Program (VPP). Klein and Althaus say the VPP is an integral resource that helped Smart Barn farming become a reality.

And they plan to continue the innovations in the upcoming years. While nothing is set in stone, Klein and Althaus promise more innovation is on the horizon.

“Our end vision is to create a system that draws inspiration from the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine technologies to monitor crops and animals moving through the production process, so that producers and growers can better optimize their production operations,” Althaus said.

To find out more about how Smart Barn technology is changing the farming world, visit Smart-Barn.net.

Tags: Smart Barn, farming, apps, innovation