An offseason of testing
Our last testing period, through fall, winter and spring with our two first clients, Coopérative Miel Montréal (15 hives monitored) and Santropol Roulant's beekeeping collective (1 hive monitored), really was all about learning. We discovered so many great things to help bees and beeks prepare during the offseason.
We implemented sensors measuring inside and outside hive temperature and relative humidity. The data collected allowed us to assess the health level of the hives. Was the colony strong enough to maintain stable climatic conditions in the hive? Or were they struggling to maintain high enough temperature to keep themselves warm and low enough relative humidity to stay dry? The goal was to compare bees conditions with the cares applied to the hives during the past season and predict what the hives' needs would be when spring arrives.
But we also faced challenges. Managing electronic devices in Montreal's harsh winter turned out to be much harder than expected. Batteries discharging at a crazy rate, random disconnections from the network, we really have seen it all during the first testing phase in bellow freezing conditions. At some point, due to the crazy weather, we had one of the devices stuck in a block of ice! We had to drill and hammer the ice to retrieve it and replace it with a new one. The good news is than we now know what to expect and implement in our next version of the device.
Fortunately for us, we have comprehensive and patient partners. They were first ones to believe in our mission and we're grateful for the trust the Cooperative Miel Montreal and Santropol's beekeeping collective
put into our team. The keys factor in establishing relationships with first partners is transparency and honesty. Whenever things would go wrong with the devices, we would inform them and work hard to make sure the system is up and running again. We're looking forward to help them look after their bees this summer!
Based on what we've learned, we're now ready to release our second version of our bee-friendly sensor module and our new beek-friendly interface! If you want to be a part of our adventure and opt in our Beta client program, you can register on our home page and we will reach out to you. Let's give our honey bees a voice!