SWIIM’s 2.0 in Beta Testing
With thousands of acres using its irrigation management software, SWIIM has its 2.0 version in beta testing and is in line for another round of funding to continue developing its cutting-edge water use tracking technology and add staff and offices.
Kevin France, founder and CEO of SWIIM (Sustainable Water and Innovative Irrigation Management), which is a member of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, said about 100 growers representing approximately 100,000 acres of cropland are using the program. In a nutshell, the company offers a suite of software packages and services that enable growers and others to plan, manage and track their crop-water budget.
SWIIM’s value proposition centers around the theory that information is power. A grower armed with accurate and up-to-date information about his water allocation, deliveries and crop usage can better manage that all-important resource. SWIIM offers a turnkey program complete with physical equipment and computer software. France said for many years water delivery and usage was achieved on a “close enough” system. If water is cheap, deliveries from your irrigation district and usage by your crops that were within 10-15 percent of what you contracted was close enough. Increasing costs and scarcity of that resource has changed that dynamic.
With SWIIM’s technology, water use is tracked on the farm, inputted into the system and the data is sent to individual growers and the respective district in the aggregate for monitoring and reporting. France said some people call it “QuickBooks for water accounting” and he agrees with that description. “You have all your data in one place,” which he adds, allows for informed decision making. Just as one’s bank account can be balanced to the penny, he said the same accuracy is available for one’s water account through SWIIM.
France said with version 2.0, SWIIM is improving the transparency and delivery of the information to its customers. The new version, he said, can interface with mobile devices and tablets allowing growers to have this information presented in a clearer format while they are in the field looking at the crops.
As time goes by, France believes his system’s to-the-drop accuracy, can be utilized to create a market for transferring water between customers or back to the water district, but he added that is a byproduct of the technology not its main purpose. He reiterated that the purpose is to enable growers to get much more accurate usage information on this all-important resource.
Netafim’s NFC300 Flow Computer
The NFC300 is a bluetooth data logger designed to capture accumulated volume and historic flow rates from up to two pulse output flow meters. Data is retrieved from the NFC300 using the accompanying mobile app on a Bluetooth enabled iOS or Android device. From there the data is uploaded to the cloud via the mobile device’s Internet connection or, if no Internet connection is available, the data is stored on the mobile device until an Internet connection becomes available.
“This is a great solution for areas where cellular service is unavailable,” according to literature from Netafim, which is the manufacturer of the product. As an added benefit, the NFC300 mobile app can display real time flow rate with a resettable totalizer for the meters in hard to reach places. While the NFC300 partners well with Netafim’s line of flow meters, it’s also compatible with third party flow meters. In fact, the NFC300 is compatible with most dry contact, open collector, or open drain pulse output flow meters.
“We recently worked with a customer that paired the NFC300 to a Seametrics AG 3000 meter. After connecting the wires, we programmed the meter to output a pulse, installed the battery in the NFC300 and configured the NFC300 to read the meter’s pulse resolution,” said an article on Netafim’s website.
Once a meter is connected to the NFC300, and its data has been collected by the mobile app, it can be viewed online through any modern web browser. The data can be analyzed on the web or it can be exported to a CSV file for use in other software.
Netafim’s business model for this product does not include a monthly or yearly subscription fees. The price of the NFC300 includes a lifetime archiving license which means a customer’s data will be stored in the cloud until the customer deletes it. As an added benefit, the NFC300 can receive software updates from the mobile app.
More information including manuals and training videos, is available on the firm’s website: www.netafimusa.com.
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