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An SMS-based Application to Report Weather and Topographical Data to Farmers

Neev built an interactive SMS-based App for farmers in rural India to plan their cultivation. The farmers received crucial weather and topographical information as well as alerts related to crop health and prices on their mobile phones.

The Client

Monsanto is a company providing solutions to sustain and improve agriculture worldwide. The agricultural products provided by them have empowered farmers large and small to obtain more from their land while conserving water and energy. In India, Monsanto India Limited provides plant seeds and improves productivity by developing herbicides for destroying weeds.

Business Need

The farmer in India was faced with the uncertainty of the Monsoon and lack of knowledge of the topography of the area, which to a great extent affected cultivation. Monsanto wanted to ease this burden and help the Indian farmer by providing him crucial information through an SMS-based App. It had to work on the simplest of mobile phones.

Neev Solution

Neev had to contend with two groups of people: the tech experts on the Monsanto side and farmers on the other side who aren’t so tech savvy. The solution therefore, focuses on developing an intuitive, feature-rich interface on the Admin side which sends out a simple text message to the farmers, registered with Monsanto.

The UI/UX design and App development was done at Neev. Scientists and programmers sat down to chalk out what data should be collected and how the UI should be organized to provide the right information to the end user. A two-way communication was envisioned and developed, with the mobile user picking choices/typing data and the server processing the information request, based on these inputs.

A custom rule engine was built in Java which allowed the Admin user to obtain the necessary data through an interface. The execution of the rule sets can be scheduled and alerts can be obtained as and when desired. A transcription service enabled the alerts to be translated into other languages. Neev also ensured compatibility across a wide array of devices.

Technology footprint

  • Tomcat
  • MySQL
  • Hibernate
  • Spring
  • Struts

Top features

  • Forms to enter agricultural data about each village such as crops, nature of soil, fertilizers used, and weather data such as the season etc.
  • Ability to upload climate data for each district
  • Interface to configure rules. Rules would enable the software to generate alerts based on certain conditions
  • Schedule execution of the rule sets
  • Ability to manage Alert Dissemination in batches
  • Alerts can be customized and made available in several Indian languages
  • Works on low-end devices and older mobiles, becoming cost effective for the average farmer who couldn’t buy high end mobiles.

Top Challenges

  • Building the custom rule engine in Java was a complex task
  • Coordinating the multi-disciplinary team of scientists and programmers required diligence

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