07 June 2018
When agriculture meets IoT: joint interview with Sparkling Partners, Javelot and Sigfox
Today, Raouti Chehih, Sigfox’s Chief Adoption Officer, meets with Martin Toulemonde from Sparkling Partners and Félix Bonduelle from Javelot, in order to discuss a bit more about agriculture, grains and the importance of accelerating the adoption of the IoT.
What is Sparkling?
Martin Toulemonde: Sparkling Partners is a startup studio which has two activities: business development support and investment in early-stage startups. Beyond the financial part, we help teams with their strategy, organisation and development. We now have about 20 startups in our portfolio.
Last year we created Kanope, an IoT development studio to accelerate our projects.
Why have you decided to partner together, Sigfox and Sparkling?
Martin Toulemonde: The IoT market is developing, use cases are emerging and companies need guidance to understand its potential.
Today there are very few off-the-shelf solutions. It is important for us to build together with our customers the best solutions responding to their business problems. That's why we have created Kanope, an IoT development studio with a team of electronics and product design experts with a strong focus on user experience and business.
Partnering with Sigfox makes sense for us in order to offer ever more efficient solutions to our customers and help to accelerate the deployment of IoT solutions in the industry.
Raouti Chehih: Because Sparkling is focusing on IoT for some of their activities and helping the companies to scale up. They understood very quickly that Sigfox was the only network allowing this to happen.
I think we share the same values when it comes to looking at the IoT as an opportunity for companies. We get benefits from Sparkling which is pushing us beautiful projects such as Javelot. We believe that Javelot is solving a real problem for the agriculture sector and at the same time, they believe in us in the way that we can help them to build sustainable companies.
How important are the adoption activities at Sigfox? How essential is it for the success of the company?
Raouti Chehih: I think it's crucial. What we are trying to do now is to educate, enable, engage and transform. Our targets go from students to big corporate companies. Students are willing to get some skills to go on the employment market. Startups want to do business using Sigfox. Developers want to enhance their skills developing new solutions or devices using Sigfox. And large corporate companies want to transform their activity by using IoT.
So, for us, it's important to have a strong strategy around adoption and to be able to accompany all of them during their IoT journey. We are investing a lot of money today on adoption at Sigfox and we try to partner with all the best players on the planet, including Sparkling.
Could you explain us what is Javelot?
Félix Bonduelle: Javelot is the first connected silo thermometry solution for farmers. In other words, Javelot offers to remotely monitor the temperature of the grain in storage even in the most isolated silos, without the need for an electrical or internet connection. Javelot markets are both in France and abroad.
Indeed, the French market remains one of the most important in Europe in the agricultural sector. However, Javelot wishes to develop quickly on other markets (European or worldwide) and counts on the Sigfox support to be quickly available in new countries.
Why did Javelot choose Sigfox?
Félix Bonduelle: The Kanope teams chose Sigfox because it allowed them to design devices with a long autonomy thanks to the low power consumption protocol. The simplicity of integrating Sigfox into electronics convinced Kanope. Moreover, the network coverage in rural areas is very good, which was essential for Javelot customers.
How do you think IoT can help agriculture?
Martin Toulemonde: The IoT will enable all actors in the agricultural sector to move into a data-based agriculture and thus gain in efficiency. Decision support tools will be developed and traceability will be improved, guaranteeing consumers high quality products.
Félix Bonduelle: Agriculture is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, particularly in France. To cope with this, French farms are expanding and using more and more connected devices, above all to gain in productivity but also to gain in quality and yield. More productivity, more output and more quality thanks to IoT are the needed factors to enhance profitability.
Raouti Chehih: I think that if there's one technology that is relevant for agriculture, it's IoT because it's focusing on the main problems that farmers and agriculture face today. If you take the solutions of IoT, and you put it on the agriculture sector pains, I think it's 100% coverage. To reach the skills and expertise agriculture needs to be more competitive, less aggressive for lands, more sustainable and more global, it must be backed up by IoT. Agriculture people, farmers are usually early-adopters when it comes to technology. They are looking for concrete solutions that IoT and Sigfox can bring to them.
What is the best way to convince farmers of the advantages it can bring them?
Martin Toulemonde: Farming is a difficult activity because it depends on many external criteria, especially climatic ones. All the information that can be highlighted by the connected devices will allow farmers to make the best decisions while limiting the risks.
Félix Bonduelle: The best way to convince farmers to use more and more connected devices is to let them know about short-term benefits (e.g. productivity gains) and longer-term benefits (quality, reducing the use of chemicals etc.).
Raouti Chehih: As any other industry, they should be able to test, learn, get feedback and refine at any time. That's definitely something we can help on at Sigfox through the IoT Agency, for example. In most cases, as soon as they have tested it, they use it.This low cost and low energy consumption technology changes the way we have a high impact on what we do.
What is next?
Martin Toulemonde: We intend to accelerate, with our Kanope team, the development of new products and startups incorporating IoT solutions.
Félix Bonduelle: The next step is to make Javelot known to as many people as possible and to explain to users the advantages of these new solutions. There are also many new project ideas in the team's drawers!
Raouti Chehih: I would like to increase the number of successful startups in the Sparkling portfolio. We partner with them to become champions and to solve real problems for the different industries and to do it globally. That is our main goal. Tomorrow, I would be very happy if more and more graduates could join Sparkling, and that their startups could join our adoption programs; if some of them join the Hacking House project; if some of the clients investing in Sparkling could come and use the services of the IoT Agency. We have a lot of things to do together. Possibilities are endless.
Martin Toulemonde: President of Sparkling Partners founded in 2014, I previously founded Chronodrive, the first grocery drive concept in France in 2004, sold to the Auchan group in 2011.
Felix Bonduelle: Graduated in Agriculture Engineering from the LaSalle Beauvais Polytechnic Institute in 2016, I worked for 3 years in the food industry at La Fournée Dorée, a Brioche specialist. While exchanging with Vindicien DELCOURT, a farmer from Pas-de-Calais, we decided to join forces to launch Javelot with the idea of making the first connected silothermometry solution.