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Agriculture as fertile ground for technological innovation

How a new IoT solution provider is revolutionizing agronomy and farming in Canada with the help of reliable network coverage from Rogers Business.

Open agricultural field in Saskatchewan with active IoT sensor

“I've been in the technology industry for a long time and it's things like what Rogers did for us that are so crucial.”

Photo of Vice President of Metos Canada, Marty Cook

Marty Cook is Vice President of Metos Canada, which provides easily expandable Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions on a subscription basis that capture and interpret a vast range of data for agricultural operations. From weather forecasting to disease modeling to insect monitoring, Metos Canada leverages a variety of wireless cameras, sensors and other devices to ensure farmers can make better decisions faster, saving them incalculable dollars in potentially lost crops and livestock.

“The catalogue of sensors we have is immense,” says Marty. “For example, using AI, we can monitor what insects are in the field to help give you the information you need to help spray the right product at the right time.”

To pull off technological feats like that, a reliable network is paramount. But that’s not easy to come by, especially in remote locations like Rosetown, Saskatchewan. Rosetown isn’t called the heart of the Wheat Belt for nothing, and Metos Canada had a lot to prove not only to the local farming community there, but to the rest of the province and potentially the country.

“Saskatchewan is a major agriculture province with over 60 million croppable acres,” says Marty, “so there’s a lot of demand for our products.”

“When you think about Rogers, you think about the vast network.”

Like many IoT solutions, those offered by Metos Canada require low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, which allow interconnected low-bandwidth devices with long battery lives to efficiently exchange data. Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT), which is ideal for stationary devices such as smart meters and smoke detectors, and Long-Term Evolution category M1 (LTE-M), which is ideal for mobile solutions that use wearables, tags and fleet tracking devices, are LPWAs that Metos Canada relies on in particular.

“Having NB-IoT and LTE-M coverage is crucial for our products,” says Marty. “If we don’t have that, our Micro line of products won’t work.”

So, for Metos Canada, it was only natural they would choose Rogers Business as one of their NB-IoT, LTE-M, and LTE providers. “When you think about Rogers, you think about the vast network,” says Marty.

Not only was Rogers Business the only NB-IoT provider in the region that had the network coverage Metos Canada needed, but ironically it was the unsuccessful implementation of a solution that made Marty aware of the benefits of working with Rogers.

“We recently had one of our dealers attempt a test and it didn’t work,” says Marty. So, he called his Rogers Business representative, and within just three days, the firmware error that caused the problem was discovered, the cell tower configuration was adjusted, and the IoT devices were successfully activated.

“Typically, that can take months or even longer to fix,” says Marty. “The response time from Rogers was amazing. You can’t say enough about a company that does that for you.”

Marty reinforces the difference that kind of dedication makes for farming communities across the country, who no doubt have high hopes the Metos Canada IoT solutions will help them maximize their earning potential. “You can imagine how many times this story is going to be told over and over again,” he says.

“The response time from Rogers was amazing. You can’t say enough about a company that does that for you.”

Looking ahead, the future appears bright for Metos Canada. “We’re dealing with some of the best technology for weather, soil and insect monitoring equipment on the market,” says Marty, “but there’s so much more to come. The product roadmap for the future is incredible.”

The digitizing of agriculture is a major development for one of Canada’s most important industries, and Marty is more than happy Rogers Business will play a part as one of their NB-IoT, LTE-M and LTE providers, especially in Saskatchewan. “There are a lot of devices that can be put out there,” he says, “and Rogers certainly came to the table when we needed them.”

Click here to learn more about IoT connectivity from Rogers Business.