Enkronos ICO Review: How AI + IoT Can Smarten the World’s Farmlands14th November 2018
In certain circles wine is considered the nectar of the gods. For thousands and thousands of years, humans have been fermenting fruit to create a substance that alters consciousness.
And from the green rolling hills of California’s Napa and Sonoma counties to the decentralized network of vineyards spread throughout France, the colorful, fragrant liquid is omnipresent.
However, like anything that imparts the sensation of taste, it’s not for everyone. You may express your love for wine every day or prefer that its oaky flavor stay corked in a bottle.
But take it or leave it, wine grapes are serious business.
If wine’s not your thing… maybe you like coffee? Craft beer? Purple yams? Cannabis? Cara Cara oranges? Barrel-aged bourbon?
Admit it, one or more of these agricultural delights is absolutely your jam. On a global scale, all of these industries are ginormous.
And all of them — plus any other large-scale agricultural endeavor — can have a better chance of growing bumper crops with a little help from Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Slovenian blockchain project Enkronos is building a multi-app platform designed to help businesses — green-thumbed or not — operate efficiently as well as ethically.
And by using one of the projects upcoming apps, homesteaders can give their fields a competitive advantage.
But before we venture too much deeper into the digital vineyard, let’s share a small glass of data-flavored bubbly…
Disclaimer: This is not investment or financial advice. I’m not a financial expert by any stretch of the imagination. Most information within this article is speculative and merely my personal opinion. Always conduct your own research before contributing to any startup projects.
Always remember that what you do with your funds is your decision to make. And if that decision proves too difficult for you alone, seek guidance from a financial professional.
I may or may not receive a small allocation of tokens for creating this content. That said, I will do my best to remain unbiased and fair. I try to avoid all FOMO and FUD and never wish to impart those emotions on my fellow crypto-heads.
4 Years in the Making
The Enkronos Apps platform is already up and running. And, the ICO has been in the works since 2015.
Since then, the project has been secretly developing the platform while signing up paying customers.
This quick video will get you up to speed with the project’s overall concept:
It’s certainly refreshing to see a blockchain ICO that’s already several years into their business operations.
Enkronos is already way beyond the ‘idea for a whitepaper’ phase. The project has real customers using real products in the real world.
A Growing App Ecosystem
At the time of writing, five apps are available when you sign up for a free account.
The apps’ dashboard is intended to be a one-stop-shop for customer interaction.
Think CMS — Customer Management System — but with a secure, blockchain-powered database. Customer data doesn’t reside on a random server. It’s encrypted yet transparently nestled within the blockchain.
The network’s native utility token — ENK — powers every app within the Enkronos ecosystem.
It’s important to note that even though some of the platform’s apps are ready now, their tokenized fuel tanks are dry. The apps are still functional, but they aren’t powered by tokens just yet.
Until the project’s currently-running Token Generation Event concludes, there aren’t any tokens to flow through the ecosystem. For now, you can purchase app credits, and any leftovers will see conversion to tokens at a later date.
We needn’t wait long because ENK tokens are coming soon. The private and pre-sale phases are over, and the ICO’s public sale ends in less than two months.
Eventually — if Enkronos has anything to say about it — there will be plenty of third-party apps available on the platform.
Now, the video above touched upon the concept of AI and IoT, and you’ll find plenty of information within the Enkronos whitepaper.
And in this article, we’ll explore how these advanced technologies can improve upon the age-old tradition of growing grapes.
Getting a Feel for the Environment
FeelGrid is an upcoming app within the Enkronos platform.
Although technically an app, calling FeelGrid an application undermines its capabilities. FeelGrid is an AI-powered, customizable, extended range, open-architecture IoT ecosystem.
Although the platform is already in use on select Slovenian vineyards, public participation isn’t scheduled until the end of November of this year — less than two weeks after the ICO concludes.
FeelGrid-powered farms can achieve new levels of crop-data measurement and management. Growers are empowered to monitor a host of factors — in real-time — from the convenience of a smart device.
From measuring crop moisture levels on country farms to monitoring the ebbs and flows of rivers running through major cities, there’s a lot you can accomplish with AI-equipped sensors.
There’s no better teacher than Mother Nature when it comes to controlling the growth of vegetation.
Not enough water? Your plants’ leaves are going to be extra crispy or flat-out dead.
Remember, we’re growing grapes, not harvesting raisins.
Too much water in the soil? Now your plants’ lack of oxygen creates a tug-of-war with root rot. You may experience yellowed leaves and stunted growth.
Healthy or ill, vibrant or pale, your plants will self-express their situation. Caretakers learn from their mistakes then try to make better decisions next time.
Now, grapevines planted for the first time may not bear fruit until their third year of existence. That’s an awfully long time to use a wait-and-see, trial-and-error approach.
What if there was a way to speed up the process of fine-tuning not only the crops themselves but the entire growing operation? What if we could monitor natural and manual processes in real-time and then adjust accordingly?
That’s the whole point of the FeelGrid.
So, what exactly does FeelGrid do and how does it perform its duties? Glad you asked! Let’s get into it…
A Cornucopia of Measurements
In the smart vineyard, everything begins with a ViNode.
Along with multiple types of sensors, these aptly named nodes are the foundation of the FeelGrid system.
Although the underlying technology is very sophisticated, the overall idea is quite simple.
First, the sensors capture data and report to the ViNodes. Then the ViNodes — equipped with AI, so they get smarter with every feeding of data — decipher the information and transmit the results to a web portal. Lastly, growers use the portal to make informed adjustments to growing conditions.
Enkronos manufactures the ViNodes and rents them to farmers. And every month, depending on how much data a FeelGrid system transfers and stores, users pay a fee to Enkronos.
Each ViNode can support data flow from up to 10,000 sensors. And sensors can transmit data to nodes from up to six miles (10km) away. Ideal conditions may provide a 50- to 100-percent range extension.
If more data points are necessary due to environment, production methods, or number of plants, farmers can merely employ additional ViNodes within their FeelGrid system.
Different vendors supply the system’s sensors. Here’s a sampling of what they can measure:
- Air Humidity, Pressure, & Temperature
- Leaf Wetness on Both Sides
- Rainfall in Millimeters
- Soil Moisture & Temperature — Each on 2 Separate Levels of Depth
- Solar Radiation
- Wind Direction & Speed
The FeelGrid system keeps tabs on performance levels of each sensor within the network and earmarks the weak, dead, or defective for repositioning or outright replacement.
So, like any AI equipment worth its code, ViNodes have an added element of self-maintenance.
Agile LoRaWAN Connectivity
Those tiny little sensors out there working the fields would be far too expensive if they had to rely on 3G or WiFi to communicate with the Internet.
To circumvent this major pitfall, the Enkronos team chose to use LoRaWAN — a protocol made for building large-scale, low-bandwidth public networks.
Rather than being outfitted with a hi-tech communication device, the focus is on cost-efficient power consumption and minimal transmission requirements.
This low-cost, high-range IoT technology is ideally suited for widespread coverage across large farming areas.
Increased Operational Efficiency
Time may heal all emotional wounds, but that logic doesn’t apply to grapes.
Imagine a vineyard in sprawling over a rugged mountain range. And on an individual basis, the vines need care. Trained eyes look for numerous diseases and help ensure all grapes grow under optimal conditions.
Now, depending on the number of plants, the inspection and maintenance processes can be never-ending. Running a vineyard takes time and lots of it.
But thanks to modern tech it no longer has to be that way.
The FeelGrid system follows the same inventive reasoning of TV remotes and baby monitors. Sometimes you’d prefer to maintain control of devices and situations from the comfort of your favorite chair.
But FeelGrid takes the concept up a few notches by providing a wealth of grow-pertinent, real-time data farmers can use to improve their methodologies.
For example, if a region of vines gets too wet because of rainfall, the FeelGrid sensors will tell their master ViNode to let the automated irrigation system know that it can take the day off.
Having fingertip access to your grow operation’s processes — along with a workforce of environment-sensing, autonomous field inspectors — is the pinnacle of farming convenience.
Heavily Pruned Production Costs
Running a leaner farming operation is one of the most significant byproducts of using a FeelGrid system.
When you can deploy water and fertilizer and pest-control products on an as-needed basis, you’re bound to use less.
The crops will tell you exactly what they need, and you can give it to them with the click of a button.
Being able to remotely measure precisely how much moisture is retained by the soil — as well as the leaves — after a good soak allows you to dial-in your water usage.
Growers can allocate resources according to how they’re most effective throughout the entire farm. A little more fertilizer over here; way less water over there.
And, every time you don’t run your equipment, you’re saving electricity, gas, labor, supplies, time, or maybe all five. That’s even more money right back in the pocket of your denim overalls — if you’re into those.
Strong, healthy, disease-free vines will produce the best grapes. The best grapes make the best wine. And the best wine commands premium pricing.
And, the true beauty of it all, is that AI runs the system. The longer a FeelGrid system is in operation — getting itself drunk on data — the better equipped it’ll be to help run farming operations in the future.
The agricultural revolution brought a new era of modern convenience. We no longer have to chase our food — we either raise it ourselves or buy it from someone.
Our methods of gathering food have vastly changed. And farming equipment continues to evolve with them. Machinery shrinks and quickens, processing more and more crops.
Until now, most of the crop-growing upgrades were for mowers and seed throwers, tractors and chemical reactors.
But by equipping a farm with a FeelGrid system, growers can plant modern technology within the fields themselves. The soil, the air, and the plants that grow in them are now fully monitorable from a single dashboard.
Combining AI with IoT and blockchain tech is a natural progression of large-scale agricultural industries. All of these inventions exist to make our lives more comfortable, and now we can put them to work for the sake of our food and drink.
With FeelGrid, vineyard management can be simplified, more efficient, and more easily automated. Farmers can detect plant defects and diseases before they have a chance to infect surrounding vines.
Disease prevention alone is a compelling reason for a farmer to want this system on their land. Anything that can spare crops from an untimely demise is a welcome — and bottom-line boosting — addition to any grow operation.
Are you beginning to realize the potential here? I’m sure you can see that when enough systems are in use, the Enkronos project will have grown a steady stream of monthly revenue.
And the FeelGrid system is only a single element of the overall platform. The same winemakers using FeelGrid can interact with fans of their brands via the suite of apps the Enkronos project has already built.
While we can’t entirely eliminate human intervention, we can certainly reduce the need for manual labor by partially replacing people with sensors and nodes.
Yes, friends, advanced technology really can help make a better glass of vino. And when big-name players in the industry begin to use FeelGrid, the competition will either adapt or be left in the dust of fallow land.
Because, winemakers, you’re not still making wine by stomping grapes with your feet, are you?
Just because I see the value in the Enkronos project — and expect an increase in demand for ENK tokens — doesn’t mean you need to take my word for it.
As with any project you may want to get involved with — blockchain or not — it’s always a great idea to form your own opinion.
Conveniently, here are the primary resources for additional information:
Enkronos ICO Website
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Enkronos ICO Review: How AI + IoT Can Smarten the World’s Farmlands was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.