KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Singularity Aerotech Asia (SAT.ASIA) is on a mission to overhaul and bring the agricultural industry into the modern era using tools created by and for the aerospace industry.
Created by a group of aerospace engineers, SAT.ASIA provides premium engineering services, with capabilities ranging from aircraft structural design and analysis, to Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics serving various sectors, which as of two years ago, encompasses the agriculture industry.
Speaking to Malay Mail at the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism Exhibition (Maha) 2022, SAT.ASIA‘s Head of Business Development Afif Badhrulhisham said that for the agriculture industry, the company provides IoT sensors, Big Data Analytics, and have also designed and developed their own digital farm management system and other technologies related to the field.
“SAT.ASIA is actually an aerospace company originally, and we got into the technology business like IoT and big data analysis. We’ve been doing that for about two years and that was when we decided to get into agriculture.
“Here at Maha 2022, we are showcasing technologies that we use in agriculture, because we’re talking about smart farming — and that is one of the biggest themes in Maha. So what we’re doing here is trying to expose people to these kinds of technologies,” he said.
Afif said that the company has developed a system they call Smart Tani which essentially is a collection of IoT sensors that are placed in soil or water for ambient monitoring.
He said the sensors would gather real time data which will then be sent to their cloud data, where end users, meaning farmers, would have a dashboard to look into all their environmental data.
“We also have a digital farm management system called UrusTani, which captures the operational data of the farm.
“So basically, what you do at the farm, what you apply on the soil, what you put in the water and all that — and when you overlay these two, what you get is now a bigger picture of what is happening in the farm, why its performing the way it does, what are the factors that affect the quality of the food, quantity the productivity of the farm. So we give that visibility to the farmers,” he said.
Afif said that the company wants to bring the main best practice in the aerospace industry to agriculture — traceability.
He explained that with certain high quality produce like the Musang King durian or the MD2 pineapples which are being exported to countries like China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, there is an expected standard that needs to be adhered to.
“We found out that in Malaysia we are still behind in terms of compliance because farmers are not used to all these standards and quality control. That’s why we think that developing a tool that ensures traceability — since we have that in our DNA — is much easier for us to develop.
“The only thing is that we have to go down to the ground and talk to the farmers to really get our idea across, to understand their pain points and what’s actually stopping them from doing how we are doing things,” he said.
One of the company’s goals is to help farmers understand that to better their output or to solve problems they face, what they need is data.
“The farming community has to understand that for you to find a solution, you have to have a baseline or data. If you don’t understand what’s going on at your farm, you do not know where to improve, or what to automate, for example.
“How would you use technologies like drones and rovers, what kind of technologies that you can invest in that would give you the best return. So all of this you have to study and the only way you can study is you have data. So data acquisition is the first step of smart farming,” he said.
They also provide the last mile for connectivity to ensure that farmers in rural areas also can gain access to these tools and technologies.
“So for Maha, we actually provided 118 CCTVs to cover 347 acres, and also provide the connectivity, that’s why you can get WiFi connectivity here. They’re actually riding on our devices all over the park.
“So we also have that display in our booth so they understand that smart farming, we talk about connectivity, smart sensors, IoTs, we need to have internet connections. And this is one of the biggest challenges of smart farming, because rural areas do not have the best connectivity.
“So what’s the solution? We provide that last mile connectivity so people can on-board smart farming,” he said.
He also added that the services provided by SAT.ASIA are tailormade to one’s problems or needs, instead of selling technology that may not benefit the end user at the end of the day, as one of their other goals is to ensure adoption of this technology nationwide.
“Usually what we do is we will ask you what exactly you want to solve instead of giving you a catalogue. You have to tell us what your problem is, and we tailor the solutions to your needs.
“We do have ready products, but sometimes what people need requires different tools, or may not even require any tools at all. Maybe it’s just that the way they went about it was wrong, and we would give advice, because at the end of the day, if people keep buying, but the technologies don’t solve their problems, it would just deter people from adopting it and slow down the whole adoption nationwide.
“So that’s what we want to do, we want to prescribe the right technologies to the right problems,” he said.
He said since Maha started last week, over 30 people have already signed up to use the tools they provide, adding that it has mostly come from “part-time farmers.”
“These are people who are professionals such as lawyers or accountants who have invested in farms but cannot be there physically to tend to it. What they needed was a tool to help them monitor their farms without having to be there,” he said.
He also said that Maha 2022 has helped companies like SAT.ASIA put their products out into the world and showcase what they have, calling it a huge success.
“Because of Maha, farmers are now more open to venturing into technologies,” he said.
Maha will carry on through Sunday, August 14 at MAEPS Serdang.