INSITUM + BOSCH

Helping Brazilian farmers maximize their profitability

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Weighing an ox is a major headache for cattle ranchers and usually requires taking the animal out of the corral and into a brete cage where a technician notes its weight. Often, the ox becomes stressed during this process, sometimes resulting in the ox losing up to 7% of its size, lowering overall profitability. The precision livestock system that Bosch installed uses an embedded scale on the ground and light-weight ear tags. In the passage between the brete’s food trough and water fountain, a scale equipped with motion sensors tags the animal's footprint. The data is read on a processor and is cross-tagged with the signals coming from the ear of the animal and sent by Wi-Fi to the farm computers as soon as the ox steps off the scale.

Objective

Our goal was to help Bosch develop a service experience and digital platform (Internet of Things) for precision livestock production that would allow ranchers with low tech literacy to have greater control over production, capture more accurate information in real time, and decrease the need for human interaction with the cattle.

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The project was part of a larger series of innovation projects within Bosch that helped Bosch win the Brazilian New Business Team’s most innovative project in 2016 against 38 other competitors.

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Approach

Through ethnography and in-depth interviews, INSITUM spent time on different farms across Brazil understanding the behavior of the cattle on the feedlots, as well as the day-to-day lives of the farmers themselves.

Back at the office, we began prototyping on paper an easy and intuitive user interface for the farmers to interact with. This prototype was then carried through wireframes and into digital development. We tested the prototype out on the different cattle farms and captured the feedback of the farmers before moving the software interface development into the interaction design phase and overall service experience.

Meanwhile, on the business model end of the spectrum, we helped our client understand the value proposition, trust perception, brand relationship, as well as the importance of utilizing multiple channels for communication. We had to make sure that the user interface being developed was in line with the tollgates and benchmarks set by Bosch, while maintaining the integrity and reality behind the physical approach of designing a system that would be durable enough to be used in different ways across Brazil’s diverse landscape.

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Results

For users, productivity saw an increase of 20% above other farms in Brazil and more than 10% above the American standard. Confronting today's numbers with previously collected data, only 2% of the animals left confinement at the right time.

The new system virtually eliminated all of the risks associated with an ox staying longer than it should in the fattening stage thereby reducing unnecessary animal feed to the cattle whose weight had already stagnated or reached the maximum size. The precision livestock farming system is the first of its kind within the agricultural market, and the software user interface INSITUM helped to develop resulted in greater profitability for each ox.

At INSITUM we continue to create additional features to the platform such as pasture tracking quality for cattle rotation and abnormal behavior (i.e. skipping the hydration area, death, loss, as well as theft of the cattle.) The abundance of information obtained with the technology allowed Bosch to assemble detailed data on the growth curves of the animals, making this a compelling offer to Brazil’s cattle farmers.

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