HiveGuard offers highly innovative tools and technologies to beekeepers
HiveGuard created a sensor to help beekeepers carrying out monitoring activities, thanks to a camera and to an algorithm of recognition. These deal with identifying eventual new queen bee larvae and those cells infected by American foulbrood. In fact, despite the presence of a queen bee in every hive, beekeepers have to exploit skilled workers to prevent eventual new queen bees from taking the swarm away. If this happens, honey making will stop, resulting in considerable economic damages.
The startup wants to ease beekeepers in their work, enabling them to save both time and money. Beekeepers, in fact, have to identify both the eventual birth of new queen bees and the European and American foulbrood, one of the most dangerous bee diseases. This monitoring service costs about € 48 per hive. As for the beekepers owning up to 3.000 hives, instead, it may amount to over € 100.000.
The startup, performing during the Finale of Clab UniCa #05Edition, expects to create 50 prototypes of the device, presenting them to beekeepers in April 2018. In November 2018, instead, the startup expects to sale 5 pre-sales contracts. Afterwards, there will be the industrial review while the production will start in February 2019. HiveGuard will have found its first 10 customers by April 2019, selling them about 5000 devices.
How technology works
The sensor can track the hive by placing a camera within the apiary and using an algorithm of recognition based on pre-processed images. Unlike the sensors provided by the competitors, the HiveGuard sensor doesn’t only notice when the swarm is leaving the hive, but it solves the heart of the problem by noticing when the new queen cup is built. It also shows the eventual cells infected by the foulbrood. In fact, the device can recognize queen cups and infected cells, which differ from the normal cells in shape, size and colour. Once the sensor gathers all the data within the hive, they will be sent to a central unit, which will process them. Hence gathering and interpreting data will be much simpler to beekeepers, thanks to the HiveGuard user-friendly application for smartphones.
Strategy and partnerships
HiveGuard is planning to spread its product in 3 different packages according to each beekeeper’s special needs. The monthly average cost of the standard version of the package will amount to € 24 a year for every hive. Thanks to the startup, beekeepers will manage to save 50% of the annual cost for each hive.
Currently HiveGuard is collaborating with Laore Sardegna regional agency and has stipulated draft contracts with 10 beekeepers, who signed an expression of interest in buying the product.
HiveGuard team includes:
- Daniele Melis, a structural civil engineering graduate, he is an industrial project engineer and the CEO of the startup.
- Sara Sulis, a computer science graduate, she is the technical director of HiveGuard. She deals with developing software.
- Federica Romano, a communication graduate, she deals with marketing and communication strategies.