How One Solution Provider Is Making Money Through IoT From The California Drought

At the recent The Channel Company's XChange 2015 conference, CEO Bob Faletra asked a panel of solution providers the simple question: Is anyone actually making money through the Internet of Things?

The value proposition of the Internet of Things has been reported on extensively, but Luis Alvarez, CEO and president of Salinas, Calif.-based Alvarez Technology Group, was able to offer concrete examples of how the IoT has transformed his business.

Because of Alvarez’s location, the company works extensively with agricultural businesses. California's ongoing epic drought has burned those businesses as of late, and Alvarez is using IoT solutions to come to the rescue and generate recurring revenue.

"They are heavily embracing technology in the field," Alvarez said. In this case, it's the literal field, as in creating solutions for crop fields.

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Alvarez said farming businesses have begun embracing sensors small enough to fit into a strawberry, all in the name of reducing water consumption. "Smart mulch" is another popular solution.

"Basically they embed mulch with sensors, and you spread it in strawberry fields and monitor water and fertilization, so it can feed back to the grower to let them know how much water to put out there. It's biodegradable, and you eat it," he said.

Alvarez assured the crowd the sensors that end up in human stomachs are safe, and only last a few days.

"It's great business," he said.