Farmers, policymakers, scientists, social stakeholders, the agri-food industry and other interested partners join in Living Labs for experimenting in agricultural practices and technologies.
What is a Living Lab?
The purpose of a living lab is to create an environment where stakeholders, such as researchers, businesses, community members, and end-users, can collaboratively and actively participate in the research, development, and testing of innovative solutions.
Characteristics of the Living labs:
- Innovation and Co-creation: Living labs foster innovation by bringing together diverse stakeholders to co-create and test new ideas, products, or services in real-world settings. The aim is to address societal challenges and meet the needs of end-users more effectively.
- User-Centric Design: Living labs prioritize the involvement of end-users throughout the innovation process. By directly engaging with users, living labs ensure that solutions are tailored to their specific needs, preferences, and behaviors, resulting in more user-centric and impactful outcomes.
- Experimentation: Living labs provide a platform for testing and validating new technologies, processes, or interventions in a real-life context. This allows for iterative improvements and helps identify potential barriers or opportunities for successful implementation.
- Knowledge Transfer and Collaboration: Living labs promote knowledge exchange and collaboration among different stakeholders, including researchers, businesses, government entities, and citizens. This collaboration facilitates the sharing of expertise, resources, and best practices, fostering a dynamic learning ecosystem.
- Sustainable Development: Living labs often prioritize sustainability by exploring and implementing environmentally friendly and socially responsible solutions. They contribute to the development of sustainable practices, such as smart farming, circular economy models, or eco-friendly technologies, that benefit both the agricultural sector and the broader community.
The Smart Villages Network was launched in the context of research work on European projects, encouraging long-term cooperation and exchange of ideas, information and knowledge between stakeholders, as well as the creation and testing of new ideas, approaches, solutions and services. The following are some of the key projects that have complemented each other and enriched the knowledge and experience of all those involved in the Living Lab or Smart Villages Network
- Start of cooperation with some local communities in Slovenia and development of Open Digital Smart Village Exchange Platform and toolbox within Smart Villages project. https://www.alpine-space.eu/project/smartvillages/
- Smart viticulture and new business models were the main topics of Liverur project. Divina Wine Hub Šmarje was launched as a part of it, designed around young winemakers in Slovenian Istria. https://liverur.eu/
- The concept of smart vineyards was further tested within SmartAgroGrape project. https://smartagrogrape.si/
- New business model of virtual wine tasting has been developed and tested with end users during the project Carpe Digem https://projects2014-2020.interregeurope.eu/carpedigem/
- The Smart Villager Network is currently part of an international project Codecs, collaborating with 20 Living Labs across Europe https://www.horizoncodecs.eu/about/
About Smart Villages Network:
- We are farmers, scientists, policy makers, agri-food advisors and enterprises committed to tackling today’s challenges around sustainable agriculture. Together we are developing and testing solutions where we combine precision farming, sustainable design, and circular economy principles in our living lab.
- We think it is important to use open innovation approach and iterative feedback processes throughout a lifecycle of an innovation to create sustainable impact.
- Our activities are mainly related to smart wine production, as we focus on co-creation, prototyping, testing and scaling-up innovations & businesses, providing different types of joint value. We strive to achieve sustainable production, focusing on the three aspects: environmental, economic, and social benefits.
What challenges are we addressing?
- How to use digital technology in viticulture and honey production, in order to affect the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability
- What is the best/better IoT infrastructure for winemakers in Slovenian wine regions
- We want to establish a demo IoT beehive environment to enable research on new solutions, for example how to easily find the queen in the beehive and monitor her behavior
Benefits for farmers
- Economic: Increase farms’ profit, improve business operations, reduce costs and help farmers work more precisely, efficiently and sustainably.
- Environmental: To use technology in order to have less impact on the environment, such as smart water usage, less pesticide usage, soil protection and CO2 reduction. Preserve bees.
- Social: How to retain and attract young farmers and women in the agricultural sector, by providing access to new technology and knowledge, digital skills. Retain young people in the villages, and support SMEs from agriculture.
Benefits for the community
- Sustainable tourism
- More SMEs in local communities
- Keeping people in the local community and attracting young people to live and work in rural areas
- IoT Solutions
Our pilot farms use LoRaWAN sensors to gather microclimate data in order to manage irrigation, increase productivity, and avoid crop loss. Data is collected, visualized, and presented on smartphone app.
- Data managment
The general flow of data starts with the collection of data for the following parameters: soil volumetric water content, soil conductivity and soil temperature; leaf wetness; oxygen content in soil; air temperature, air humidity and air pressure; solar radiation; weather station for measuring rainfall, wind speed and wind direction. For the measurement of viticultural parameters and managing data aggregation and data communication, the professional Libelium Plug and Sense Smart Agriculture Xtreme is chosen as the most suitable. The central unit of the sensor system contains a microprocessor and various modules (e.g., networking module, SD card module) and it is responsible for the aggregation of measured parameters and uploading the data to the server. The Libelium device has six inputs to which different sensors can be connected. Some sensors have the ability to measure multiple parameters. As there are multiple sensors to choose from, multiple sensor configurations can be set up. For the future, the data reported by the sensors will be the basis for the development of new predictive models that will enhance the vineyard monitoring application.
- Visualisations, App development