Technology Evolution

With technology continuing to evolve at a rapid pace, we see an increasing desire to have more and more of our devices interconnected, or ‘talking’, to each other and to the Internet. Often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), it is here that we find a small business from Eight Mile Plains, QLD, doing big things in the technology space.

Pacific Data Systems Australia (PDSA) provide robust and reliable solutions in the areas of environmental monitoring, data acquisition, post-harvest technology, scientific and industrial instrumentation and systems integration.

Being a small business that houses its own Research & Development Department affords certain advantages; the flexibility of being able to respond rapidly to customers’ ‘short-run’ technological requirements by developing and implementing solutions that may not otherwise exist ‘off-the-shelf’.

It is this ability to adapt that saw a multi-national mining company approach Pacific Data Systems Australia for assistance with their remote field monitoring requirements.

As part of its operations, government (EPA) regulations were placed upon the company which stipulated site locations be undertaken. These regulations were required in order to show that any potential negative impacts on the surrounding environment where being minimised.

“We were approached after the organisation had already tried various ‘of-the-shelf’ options that relied on either 3G or radio communications,” explains PDSA General Manager, Paul Gapes, “however, due to the remoteness of the location, and thick vegetation surrounding the site, the area was out of range of both for both of these network options.”

This meant that, up until approaching PDSA, the measuring and reporting had to be conducted manually onsite by two staff, three times a week - a round trip of up to 3 kilometres per visit! With many of the sites only accessible on foot, this was an operational cost that the company was eager to ‘give the boot’.

Aside from the significant costs associated with deploying two operational staff onsite, environmental hazards and other health and safety issues associated with traversing such a rugged landscape, were also of concern.

“Satellite communications had also previously been suggested as a means to automate the remote data reporting process,” continues Gapes, “but the technology that had been previously suggested to them was over-the-top and overpriced. It is here that we identified a gap in the market for a small, robust, and cost-effective monitoring solution. This lead us to develop the SatVUE product”.

Using the Inmarsat satellite communications network, SatVUE is a plug ‘n’ play monitoring solution that allows for multi-sensor compatibility and connectivity, making it suitable for a broad range of industries.

“The success we initially saw with the SatVUE technology was across the mining, oil & gas sectors,” continues Gapes, “but more recently we’ve seen significant traction being gained in the agricultural farming sector, namely ‘turkey nest’ and tank level monitoring for livestock operators” and monitoring of soil moisture and other conditions crucial for food growers.

With recent modelling indicating that, unless the world increases its agriculture production now, a growing population (estimated to be 9 billion by 2050), we may not have enough food to eat!

“With a food shortage becoming a significant global issue over the next half a century and beyond,” concludes Gapes, “we see the SatVUE product as a timely solution that will, in some way, play a part in alleviating some of these challenges,” concludes Gapes. | 07 3361 2000

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