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Food safety, starting with water

“Some people tend to have a myopic view that water safety is only a third world problem, however that isn’t the case. Understanding water composition is mission-critical to people and businesses around the world, so we need to start with water quality in our own backyard “.
- Meena Sankaran 

Predictable water insights
Indoor farms have invested heavily in technology, however, there are still gaps in the information needed to optimize operations, increase efficiency and have significant savings. “When I connect with a vertical farming operator, they are very knowledgeable about the nutrient balance their plants need and usually have an agronomist or an agricultural scientist in house. The taste and quality of the crop is quintessential to their core business. What seems to be missing in the understanding of their water composition in real-time to have predictable insights and carry out data-driven decisions”, Meena Sankaran, Founder and CEO of KETOS says.

Meena Sankaran, Founder and CEO of KETOS

The physical characteristics of water can have a big impact on nutrient balance. Additionally, toxins, like heavy metals, can impact both produce safety and quality. Indoor production generates much of its efficiency by recirculating and reusing water and nutrients. “If they can understand that proactively, they can manage their nutrients efficiently so that the crop is optimized in terms of taste, yield, quality and the overall food safety”, Sankaran states. 

Food safety, starting with water
Groundwater contamination can come from a lot of different sources for different reasons. And while less developed countries struggle with water quality issues from lack of wastewater treatment, industrialized countries are facing far more serious issues from old mines, factories, and industrial waste dumps.

These contaminants can be complicated to find or track in groundwater, and often the upfront cost of testing is enough of a barrier for people to do the minimal required for compliance alone. Agriculture faces similar challenges from edge of field run-off to livestock facility effluent storage. Having the water quality information real-time alerts us to risks, helps us understand the nature of the issue, limits the cost of mitigating the contaminant, and ultimately allows us to predict the future implications of the problem. 

The KETOS team

Understanding water quality metrics
Water quality can be impacted by several different things. Agriculture is the world’s largest user of fresh water. Ensuring the water on the farm starts safe and stays safe through optimized cultural practices like indoor growing, nutrient managed open-field, and livestock effluent management are priorities. “Industrial and drinking water need a deep understanding of the water quality metrics as well as enough data to optimize the processes to remain competitive and affordable. If you’re able to help the operator and actually make it affordable with a 100% service model, people are going to care more and that shifts their mindset.”, Sankaran affirms.

“It’s great to see what impact you can drive as you scale and the potential change that can be derived in this world with actionable data. Users own over 20+ years of data, but how predictable is it?, how is the data mined?, are they integrated or solio’ed?, How do you build intelligent models and what value can be derived from those models for your daily operations?

All of these things need to be designed from a holistic architecture standpoint, whether you’re an operator, municipality, city utility, industrial or agricultural operation, this is where we can add significant value. It’s also how you combine and realize that customers who own all of this data, may not even have it digitized. The goal would be to help each customer in their digital journey based on their specific business goals and priorities for a meaningful change in their environment.” 

Water monitoring 
KETOS has seen its value in agriculture distributed across 3 areas; open-field, protected ag, and food processing. KETOS sees water efficiency and quality as Yin and Yang: two important aspects of how water monitoring needs to be understood. For efficiency, the KETOS Wave is installed as an inline device providing data around flow rate, pressure anomalies, leak detection and remotely controlled shut-off mechanism.

This quantitative control through a real-time and self-powered unit enables forecasting of water usage, provides behavioral analytics, location-based mapping of the device for distributed grid management and actionable intel for responding to anomalies in a timely manner. The unit is bidirectional allowing for remote access and understanding of system health on a 24/7 basis.

Smart water monitoring with actionable intelligence

KETOS addresses diagnostics and monitoring of water quality with its Shield system. The KETOS Shield pioneers in the market with its patented and proprietary techniques for continuously monitoring water quality at a lab-precision accuracy and measuring over 20+ parameters within a single system. The Shield allows farmers to track several nutrients like nitrates, orthophosphates, inorganics and heavy metals like iron, arsenic, manganese amongst many other parameters in an autonomous manner...

Predictive analytics
The system also tracks water characteristics like pH, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen in real-time for operators to have a comprehensive understanding of water composition with a $0 capital investment, labor or technology ramp-up. Beyond the sensing, collection and transmission of data, KETOS cloud management platform handles alerts, integrates 3rd party sensor data, analyzes and can predict trends as a start to some of the enterprise rich features required by users for their day to day operations.

“From predictive analytics and advanced diagnosis standpoint, we can incorporate several vectors and use a variety of machine learning algorithms to provide metrics resulting in crop and nutritional information through a single pane of glass, enabling the farmer to benefit from technology,” says Sankaran.

Beyond innovating water solutions, KETOS is revolutionizing the customer’s exposure to the value cliff of technology depreciation. “It’s all about being interoperable and flexible to meet the customer’s needs. At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure that technology is an enabler and not a hurdle or a burden.”

For more information:
Meena Sankaran, Founder and CEO
[email protected]
Kris Nightengale, VP Agricultural Sales 
[email protected]