Trilogy Networks Inc. is leading the Rural Cloud Initiative, a coalition of rural telecom operators and technology providers that will bring cloud computing closer to farming operations.

Boulder’s Trilogy Networks seeks to bring cloud computing to agriculture

BOULDER — The future of farming is filled with smart technology. That’s why a Boulder-headquartered edge-computing company wants to establish a nationwide distributed cloud network covering 1.5 million square miles of rural America.​

Trilogy Networks Inc. is leading the Rural Cloud Initiative, a coalition of rural telecom operators and technology providers that will bring cloud computing closer to farming operations. Trilogy plans to acquire bandwidth and colocation space in rural network operators data centers.The goal is to minimize latency, something critical for smart agriculture devices.

Edge computing is moving data storage and infrastructure closer to where physical devices are and improving response times, a practice that’s common in metro regions but less common in rural areas.

So far, 10 “edge innovation partners” have announced participation. With them, 200,000 square miles of the ultimate 1.5 million is covered, said Nancy Shemwell, Trilogy chief operating officer. The partners will work with internet carriers to build cloud infrastructure closer to their network edge.

“We’re going to take the complexity out of a complex solution and make it easy to be repeated and economical to crisscross the United States,” Shemwell said.

In a 2019 study, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that broadband e-connectivity and next-generation precision agriculture technology on farms and ranches throughout the U.S. could result in at least $47 billion in national economic benefits every year. Precision agriculture includes GPS soil testing, electronic tagging of livestock and drone irrigation.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity not only from a technology perspective but to be able to really create this farm of the future that people have been talking about for so long,” said David Span, chief marketing officer  of New York-based AlefEdge Inc., one of the 5G edge players in the Rural Cloud Initiative. AlefEdge’s software allows 5G-style applications to work over contemporary 4G and WiFi networks.

Shemwell said that every partner has its own role to play. As projects with carriers are identified, a team will be assembled from Trilogy or the edge innovation partners depending on their company’s specialties.

That technology requires quick connection speed. Shemwell said that the average communication time for homes or businesses to the remote data cloud introduces between 100 to 200 milliseconds of delay. Trilogy’s goal is to minimize latency to below 10 milliseconds. 

The initiative already landed Trilogy 16 commercial agreements with carriers including NNTC Wireless LLC in Nucla and several others in the Rocky Mountain region.

There’s potential for the 12-person company to expand its workforce at its Boulder and Dallas operations, but Shemwell doesn’t know when that will be.

Though there’s a focus on the agriculture industry with the growing market of modern farming, Shemwell said rural edge computing could provide other benefits, such as technology-centric solutions to monitoring gas and oil operatiions. 

“For precision agriculture to achieve the maximum potential, it’s imperative the edge be brought directly to the farm operation,” Trilogy’s CEO George Woodward said in a prepared statement. He was appointed in March to the Federal Communications Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in America.

Trilogy plans to announce more information on the initiative at the end of the month, including timelines and steps toward its goal.

 

© 2020 BizWest Media LLC

 

BOULDER — The future of farming is filled with smart technology. That’s why a Boulder-headquartered edge-computing company wants to establish a nationwide distributed cloud network covering 1.5 million square miles of rural America.​

Trilogy Networks Inc. is leading the Rural Cloud Initiative, a coalition of rural telecom operators and technology providers that will bring cloud computing closer to farming operations. Trilogy plans to acquire bandwidth and colocation space in rural network operators data centers.The goal is to minimize latency, something critical for smart agriculture devices.

Edge computing is moving data storage and infrastructure closer to where physical devices are and improving response times, a practice that’s common in metro regions but less common in rural areas.

So far, 10 “edge innovation partners” have announced participation. With them, 200,000 square miles of the ultimate 1.5 million is covered, said Nancy Shemwell, Trilogy chief operating officer. The partners will work with internet carriers to build cloud infrastructure closer to their network edge.

“We’re going to take the complexity out of a complex solution and make it easy to be repeated and economical to crisscross the United States,” Shemwell said.

In a 2019 study, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that broadband e-connectivity and next-generation precision agriculture technology on farms and ranches throughout the U.S. could result in at least $47 billion in national economic benefits every year. Precision agriculture includes GPS soil testing, electronic tagging of livestock and drone irrigation.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity not only from a technology perspective but to be able to…