The foundation of Connecterra: Connected Earth

In Isaac Asimov’s foundation series, a group of scientist and artisans are tasked with collecting all knowledge known to humanity in the hope that a second, more successful era may dawn. Connecterra (pronounced “Connec-Terra”), on some days, feels like Foundation. Perhaps more humbly put, a unit on that far-off planet.

It is our belief that as the world moves forward towards a more populated and connected planet, the demands on fundamental industries such as dairy, agriculture, transport and manufacturing will require even more help from technology. While many industries today have an admirable level of sophistication, till date, being able to improve efficiency in non-deterministic processes via technology has been hard. Our goal is to develop the technologies that will generate data from real-world analog processes, collect, develop insights and take action based on recommendations generated enabling deterministic outcomes for efficiency and productivity improvements.

Connecterra is where this all comes together and our name suggests; we’re connecting the analog to understand everything on Earth. 

We are an engineering company that is a union of three technologies: Sensor Technologies U Data Science U Cloud Platform. For Connecterra, each of these components hold very special meaning and while common definitions may suffice, allow us the latitude to explain our usage of these technologies:

  1. Sensor Technologies: Hardware engineering today is able to detect and measure many real-world properties such as temperature, humidity, body movements and location to name just a few. Advancements in this space are constant with highly sophisticated sensors even detecting brain wave patterns. Sensor technology is the data source for Connecterra and we’re engineering the hardware platform to capture multiple data sets from a single device.
  2. Data Science: A branch of statistical mathematics that extracts meaning from numbers by creating mathematical models which are able to learn, detect and predict insights based on large volumes of data. Common sci-fi descriptions of data science also call it ‘Artificial Intelligence’. At Connecterra data science simplifies these concepts to three tenants: ‘learn’, ‘detect’ and ‘predict’.
  3. Cloud Platform: The Connecterra cloud platform is the data store, the computational engine and the plumbing that marries sensor data with our data science algorithms and delivers them to end-users. This complex piece of technology is invisible to end-users and is the heart of Connecterra.

Take our first product for instance, our dairy activity monitor is constantly capturing the movement of cattle and is able to detect real-world insights such as a cow’s food intake, estrus cycles and even understand the social interactions of each individual animal. A farmer today has intimate knowledge of his or her herd but this knowledge has physical limitations based on herd size and the farmer’s experience. Connecterra’s technology eliminates the scale problems for farmers and at the same time makes the observations accurate. Computers are good at this sort of stuff.

But knowing these behaviors is just one part of the story, the other part is using the data to helping improve production for farmers. Our approach takes the stance that once we have knowledge, we apply it back to the problem space via automation or usable recommendations to the end-user. In the case of our Dairy Monitor, this will result in recommendations to the farmer on the best time to start calving cycles or suggestions on optimal barn temperatures.

These nuggets of insights are what create orders of magnitude improvements in efficiency and what we believe will be the foundation for industrial processes in the years to come.

We are a small team of dreamers and doers with diverse backgrounds in data science, cloud computing and a chronic habit for swimming upstream. We’ve come this far after months of laborious work and we have a long way to go. We’ll keep you posted on the success, challenges and lessons we’ve learnt along the way. Keep us company and visit here often.

Till next time.