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How do innovators secure a top spot at the iAwards? For Xsights Digital, it was a matter of great tech, a simple story and the ability to scale. Its live monitoring tag is being used on thousands of pigs to improve their health and reduce the environmental impact of large-scale farming.

Xsights Digital co-founders Dean Phillips (left) and Steve Wildisen at the iAwards National Ceremony.

As the world’s population grows, precision farming will be key to meeting the real “challenge” of feeding more people while mitigating and reducing the risk to the environment, says Xsights Digital’s co-founder and CEO Steve Wildisen.

The Fremantle-based company’s XIoT Health Tag for Livestock Health & Wellbeing monitoring helps address these challenges. Used on pigs, the XIoT Tag has a unique ID for each pig and provides farmers with real-time data that allows for “very early detection” when an animal isn’t well.

Some of the data the tags provide include a pig’s temperature, speed and also movement patterns, such as how long they spend resting or at a watering station, Steve explains. This information can be delivered to farmers as triggers, alerts and reports.

“And we can crunch that real-time data to compare the animals to each other and identify any outliers or pigs that aren’t looking so good.”

Current offerings for monitoring large numbers of livestock tend to involve retrospective data only, Steve notes. Having to rely on retrospective data means farmers may have to wait until they see physical signs of an animal being sick and then need to medicate with antibiotics.

The XIoT Tag’s live monitoring gives farmers the chance to be more proactive and prevent serious illness. For example, they can respond to early signs of illness, such as a raised temperature, with a shot of vitamins and possibly prevent the need for further treatment, such as antibiotics.

More knowledge, less waste

It’s estimated there’s about 780 million pigs worldwide bred for pork products and these pigs typically live for about 22 weeks. Efficient farming methods are vital to reducing the environmental impact of this large-scale production.

“It’s about waste,” Steve explains. “If you’re breeding 1.2 billion animals to get one billion pigs through the system, there’s a lot of waste through feed and electricity.”

The XIoT Tag’s ability to more accurately monitor pigs throughout their lifecycle helps reduce this waste. “It’s not just about putting more money in the pocket of the farmer,” Steve notes. “It’s about enabling efficient and precision farming.”

Xsights Digital, which Steve co-founded with Charis Law and Dean Phillips, first developed real-time monitoring tech to track assets, including mining equipment and shipping containers, before moving into livestock. Despite the XIoT Tag’s success, the team doesn’t plan to use it on other animals. “We’re staying with pigs because we can do that one animal really well.”

iAward win in Environmental & Sustainability category

Xsight’s iAward journey began by winning the Research & Innovation (Industry) Award at the INCITE Awards – the state-based awards and pathway for WA innovators to reach the iAwards National Ceremony.

The XIoT Tag then won the Environment & Sustainability category at the National iAwards. The win was unexpected, Steve says. “We thought we had no chance!” Since that win, Steve says the team has got “pretty good” at delivering information and its pitch in a way that hits the mark. “We’ve got a really simple story and then there’s the opportunity of scale.”

It’s a story that also resonated with the judges at the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards who gave it top spot in the Industrial – Agriculture / ICT Networks & Communications / Manufacturing Category. Xsights also secured a second place Merit Award in the Research & Development Project of the Year, which was won by fellow Australians Eyes of AI™ & CSIRO’s Data61.

Enter the 2024 iAwards 

Note: Western Australian innovators enter the iAwards National competition through the state-based INCITE Awards. Entries close Tuesday 2 April.
Tasmanian innovators enter through the TasICT Awards.