German Vineyards Test Solution for Measuring Growing Conditions

The TracoVino system, which includes MyOmega's sensor hardware and app and Ericsson's cloud platform, provides data that can help winemakers decide when to water, fertilize and harvest their grapes.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 23, 2015

Four German winemakers are trialing a secure Internet of Things connectivity solution to track the environmental conditions to which their grapes are exposed while on the vine. The solution consists of MyOmega System Technologies sensors for measuring the humidity and temperature of air and soil, as well as a MyOmega gateway device to collect that data, Ericsson's cloud-based Device Connection Platform, and MyOmega's TracoVino app and hosted server. The deployment is using Telenor Connexion connectivity via a 3G cellular connection that enables the forwarding of data from the vineyard to a server.

The solution is intended to help winemakers identify conditions at the vineyards and predict the optimal times to fertilize, water and harvest their Riesling wine grapes. It also helps them to understand conditions that could lead to fungal infections or other vine diseases, or the invasion of pest plants.

Each vineyard installed a single MYNXG Controller, which serves as a gateway for the sensors.
Grapes, especially those used for Riesling wines, can be very sensitive to environmental factors. Riesling requires a long growth period, and climate change is critical since it can affect the growing time by three to five weeks.

Predicting the optimal time for harvesting can significantly improve quality and minimize risks for the grapes. Subsequently, the wine's yield is increased. The TracoVino trial is intended to test how data from the vineyard can be captured and combined with winemakers' expertise to significantly improve the grape's quality, says Anders Olin, Ericsson's VP of product area network functions.

Each solar-powered sensor unit can measure the air's humidity and temperature levels, as well as the soil's moisture and temperature.
Four winemakers in Germany's Moselle Valley began testing the solution at their vineyards in June 2015, with the larger pilot for four winemakers underway in July. The winemakers—Knebel, Colene Clemens, Franzen and Reinhold Haart—all grow predominantly Riesling grapes. At each location, a total of 20 solar-powered sensor units were installed, along with a single MyOmega MYNXG Controller that serves as a gateway for the sensors units. The MYNXG Controller comes with a SIM card, provided by Telenor Connexion, that uses encryption similarly to how a mobile phone's SIM card does, Olin says. The SIM-based security layer requires the SIM card credentials to operate, and generates security keys to set up secure end-to-end authentication and encryption of data from the gateway to the server.

Security is an important component to the system, Olin explains, because sensitive information is being sent from the vineyard, and as more systems are installed at vineyards and elsewhere, the security layer will become that much more vital.

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