Becoming smarter

 

Stouffville, Ontario-based Willow Springs Winery isn’t huge, but its award-winning wines are making a splash, and it wants to keep doing so, which is why it’s turning to technology partners to help it morph into an intelligent winery. Last week it hosted an event to showcase some of the tech.

 

 

A mega MOU

During the event, it signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with five technology partners: Huawei Canada, Global UAV, ARHT Media. Telitek, and Hub6. It commits the partners, all of which are Canadian companies, to explore ways in which 5G-enabled tools can improve agriculture, helping it to respond to climate change.

Sheriden Huang, CEO of Willow Springs Winery, said, “This MOU will position us to build on the success we have had to date, creating tools and applications that rely on 5G technology and yield even better outcomes and greater wines.”

Droning on

Global UAV drones resembling small helicopters fly over the vines, their multi-spectrum cameras live streaming what they see so any issues that affect the vines can be instantly identified. Along with the images, the stream includes location data as well as information about the health of the drone itself.

 

On the ground monitoring

 

Telitek solar powered weather stations in the fields measure temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed, and even soil moisture in each microclimate, sending the info to a dashboard where growers can see if there are conditions in need of attention. For example, if an area needs water, or is too moist, creating risk of fungus growth on the vines.

 

 

Green backup

If the power goes off, it’s trouble for a working winery. Most have diesel generators to tide them over, but Willow Springs uses a Huawei battery system to do the job. It’s stackable, allowing flexibility in the amount of power provided. Sensors in the system communicate over the wireless network to keep the winery owner informed about the power status and health of the system.

 

 

Wine expert with a twist

ARHT Media’s interactive augmented reality holographic communication system brought in a wine expert from Yorkdale to guide guests through their wine tasting experience.

 

Keeping wine safe

Willow Springs offers wine storage vaults to its wine collector customers. Each vault is protected by Hub6’s safe environmental and security sensors. Each sensor transmits wirelessly to the cloud, tracking the conditions in the vault to ensure the wines are kept in an optimal environment, and that there’s no unauthorized access to a collector’s vintages.

 

 

Romance in the air

Willow Springs is an event venue as well as a working winery, so to make that special occasion even more special, if offers wine delivery by drone. Customers enter their orders on a tablet, and a few minutes later it arrives by air

 

 

A sign of the times

The Intelligent Winery sign, ceremonially filled by the partners, plus dignitaries from provincial, regional, and local government. Willow Springs and its partners believe that these technologies can benefit all farmers worldwide as they combat the effects of climate change.

 


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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.