Bangladeshi startup Aqualink has locally developed an IoT gateway – ‘Sensometer’ – which could bring a revolutionary change in the country’s agricultural and industrial sectors by minimising operating costs.
An internet of things or IoT gateway is a physical device or software programme that serves as the connection point between the cloud and controllers, sensors and intelligent devices.
Masnur Rahman, head of research and development at Aqualink Bangladesh Ltd, said the company has been manufacturing hardware and software for industries since its inception in 2019.
Sensometer is an industrial-grade universal IoT gateway, with the hardware and software developed in-house by the Aqualink team.
It is suitable for all kinds of sensitive industries, helping monitor and maintain environmental data, such as air, water, soil, energy, etc. with a focus on building resilient and green solutions that reduce human error and costs, said Mr Rahman.
The sensor can monitor real-time data through a cloud server and automatically control electrical equipment, increasing operational efficiency in a range of industries, he further said.
The research team of Aqualink, comprising 22 persons, has worked for two years to develop the Sensometer.
“And positive thing is that Aqualink has experts who could operate them for agriculture and industry,” he said.
Local industries usually source such devices from China, Japan, Germany, USA, Taiwan and other nations at much higher costs.
The department of agricultural extension (DAE) or soil resource development institute (SRDI) could use it for knowing the quality of soil, percentage of necessary organic matters, suitability of crops, percentage of pH and so on, Mr Rahman said.
“The use of this device in agriculture could bring a ground-breaking change at a time when both land and fertility are shrinking against the government’s target for higher production.”
Leather, garment and other industries could minimise operating costs by adopting this device, he added.
Meanwhile, Aqualink has got the ‘Bangladesh Digital Award-2022’, provided by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, for developing the Sensometer.
One of the founders of Aqualink, Abdul Ghafur Bashir, said Bangladesh’s textile, leather and agro processing industries have already taken steps towards the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
Above 4,000 garment and 250 leather factories, and 500 agro-processing plants, among other industries, as well as the government for its 80 per cent of arable land, would gradually be adopting modern IoT for bringing more production and cost efficiency, he observed.
Head of business at Aqualink, Md Ariful Islam, told the FE that spare parts of the Sensometer are being imported from China, Taiwan, US, German and Japan.
An Aqualink Sensometer with 8.0 to 10 sensors, would cost a maximum Tk 0.1 million when it is Tk 0.2-2.0 million for such imported devices.
On the other hand, the Sensometer having 30 sensors would cost a maximum Tk 0.5 million, when it is Tk 2.0-10 million for the imported ones, he said.
“The expenditure could be minimised notably if we use locally developed quality IoT.”