KORE helps develop water sustainability tech

  • January 25, 2023
  • William Payne

IoT connectivity provider KORE is collaborating with IoT-based water conservation specialist GroundWorx to provide technology support for the company’s Ground & Weather Intelligence Platform as a Service. The result is IoT-powered soil sensors that support sustainability through smarter, optimised water use.

GroundWorx has developed its GX-1 Soil Sensor that is designed to easily installed in ground where soil monitoring is needed. The soil sensor pairs with the GX-1 Micro Weather Station and an analytics dashboard. It aims to support sustainable water management for a range of industries, including agriculture, turf management, hotel and resorts, school and universities, and public sector services such as municipal parks, smart communities and cities.

KORE initially helped power the solution through the development of firmware, device certification, and KORE continues in its support through comprehensive global connectivity. This collaboration enables organisations worldwide to easily manage water and electricity usage reducing strain on resources while providing an opportunity to lower overall costs.

“Water accessibility and sustainability are major challenges around the globe. Working with an innovative organisation that is implementing IoT to help solve some of the most pressing environmental problems is a privilege for us,” KORE President and CEO Romil Bahl said. “Our focus as a company is to make it easy for our customers to leverage and scale IoT capabilities to help solve major issues such as the global water crisis. GroundWorx has a user-friendly approach to water conservation and optimisation, and we are thrilled to collaborate on yet another initiative that represents our IoT-for-good motto.”

The soil sensor collects data to report on soil moisture, temperature, and salinity and integrates with irrigation systems. This proactive approach to soil condition monitoring allows end users to water only when needed.

“We’ve seen all of our customers decrease water usage by 30% with very little effort,” GroundWorx Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Brad David said.

KORE has been critical in simplifying and streamlining the ability to implement GroundWorx solutions globally.

“With the help of KORE, we are able to ship the soil sensors around the world,” GroundWorx CTO Diego Borrego said. \Customers] open them up, take them out of the packaging, and they work.”

John Haskett, owner of Lucky Charm Farms in San Diego, has implemented the GroundWorx solution at his avocado farm. “California has a critical issue with water, and avocado trees are pretty voracious about their appetite for water,” Haskett said. “The traditional methods of watering avocado trees typically centre largely on guesswork, and with the very costly water bills – in the tens of thousands of dollars range – we needed to find a better method of watering.”

In exploring options, the ease of use, installation, and comprehensive readings were key drivers in adopting the GroundWorx solution. The GroundWorx method of “dig and drop” installation and immediate pairing to smartphone devices allowed Lucky Charm Farms to continue operations with no shutdown during implementation and quickly reap the benefits of the system.

“These sensors take 144 readings a day,” Haskett said. “With greater data collection and enhanced analytics with thresholds built in, our employees avoid watering too little or too much.”

David Yanez, Director of Agronomy at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, is leveraging the GroundWorx system to optimise water use for golf course fairways.

“The price for potable water has probably increased 300% in 10 years,” Yanez said. “And the challenge is providing the best quality course and playing conditions while using the right amount of water.”

Prior to the GroundWorx system, Yanez – like many other golf course superintendents – was using a portable digital tool that takes individual soil samples at the surface. This solution was more labour intensive and not nearly as comprehensive as having multiple GroundWorx sensors embedded in the root zone that take numerous automatic readings per day. The data derived can be immediately leveraged to make informed watering decisions. Yanez said, for example, he’s been able to better determine when he can skip irrigation cycles, which has realistically saved millions of gallons of water per month.