HZPC Introduces Smart Big Bags Pilot Program
HZPC unveiled details about a pilot program, which uses the Internet of Things to share knowledge and get a better grip on the delivery process of seed potatoes. Between December and April, 1100 big bags will be provided with an intelligent chip. Customers can hold their smartphone against the chip when they receive it, so they can easily download the cultivation advice that goes with the sold variety. Moreover, 100 of these chips will be equipped with a micro-sensor that registers temperatures during transport.
The pilot is a continuation of a trial with 80 smart big bags that were delivered to customers in Spain last season. “That turned out to be successful, which is why we are now expanding the scale”, says marketing specialist Hans Langedijk. “In order to find out whether the downloading of variety information is handled equally well everywhere, this time we are sending 1100 smart big bags to Bulgaria, France, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Turkey. When reading out the chip via their own smartphone, each buyer receives our cultivation advice directly in their own language. In this way we make sharing information as easy as possible”.
New in the pilot is that a part of the chips is provided with a temperature sensor. Langedijk added: “We wondered whether the smart big bags could also be used to measure transport conditions, because that information could help us better identify any complaints about the seed potatoes later on. It can take weeks for parties to transport to ware growers. With sometimes transshipment between truck, train and boat, while temperature fluctuations do not improve the quality of the seed potatoes. That is why we would like to have more insight into the conditions during shipment. In this pilot we focus only on temperature, but for the future we are also thinking of sensors for measuring humidity, CO2 and shock intensity”.
HZPC says they use the smart big bags in this pilot mainly with their new varieties. “If growers are still unfamiliar with a seed potato variety, they will download the variety and cultivation information sooner and the willingness to learn is more likely,” Langedijk continues. “Moreover, especially with young varieties it is important to closely monitor the entire process – including factors such as transport conditions – so that we can better identify any bottlenecks in practice. The commitment of our sales managers and distributors in that process is essential. They are therefore closely involved in this pilot and stimulate local customers to read out the smart big bags upon arrival. The first trial in Spain went well and we are all curious to see how the pilot will work out on a larger scale.”