The award winning innovation of FastFocus SensOren (SensEars in English) gained a lot of publicity in the Netherlands this month. G. Griffioen of the company AGIS received the prize for the best Small Business Innovation with his sensor for in the ear of a cow and this is not his first award with this innovation. In this weblog I want to ellaborate a bit more on this novelty, not in a commercial way but to explain why this “out-of-the-box” concept of this innovation made it such a success.
Everybody in the Netherlands probably remembers when the Identification & Registration System for cows, pigs etc. was introduced to our business. It produced lots of discussion on the use of the eartags needed for this registration. Later on, it moved to the discussion about the use of RFID-eartags in livestock-hearts, with a major focus on the costs involved. However, the issue wasn’t whether it had to be implemented, but what are the benefits for the farmer?
Griffioen whit his EarSensors did made a huge step forward. He didn’t only think of costs but also looked at the benefits. By developing a sensor which monitors, measures, signals and even applies vitamins it’s a complete integration of different technologies in one solution for a combination of problems farmers have to deal with.
But is this new then? One way it is, but on the other hand it isn’t. In every drugstore you can buy an ear thermometer for yourself or your kids, nothing special. In technology perspective it is more the smart use of available technologies which makes this unique. In the feed-industry, the question is what this new technology can mean for them. What does it mean that you can measure activity of the cow (how active was she?) or the rumination activity? Should this have influence on the diet the cow receives, and how can I use this to introduce the “individual cow feeding”?
I don’t know the answer but see a lot of new challenges. I would like to hear your opinion about this issue.