Perhaps one of the greatest success stories of the human race has been the enormous widening of the global middle class over the last 30 years.
Every day, more and more people living in the developing world move into the middle class category as their incomes improve.
One of the first indicators that incomes are beginning to rise in certain populations is their level of meat consumption. In almost every instance, meat consumption begins to rise quite rapidly as the wealth of the average consumer grows.
Iamus Technologies article –
While this is a positive indicator for the development of a country, it also presents enormous challenges in terms of feeding a growing population that has a rising appetite for meat.
To meet this continuous rising demand for meat, there has been enormous expansion in global meat production over the last three decades, particularly for pork and poultry.
In 2019, global poultry production grew by almost 4% to 130m tonnes with an estimated 62.6 billion birds raised for meat consumption every year around the world.
While poultry production can be very efficient, an estimated $5bn (€4.2bn) of value is lost in the industry every year as a result of inefficient and suboptimal management of the environment in chicken houses.
With feed accounting for about 70% of the total cost of growing each bird, inconsistent management of a poultry farm can lead to conditions in poultry houses that results in feed being wasted.
After all, one of the key measures of efficiency for any poultry producer is the feed conversion ratio of his flock.
Against this backdrop, new solutions to improve production efficiency in the global poultry industry and cut out waste in chicken houses are constantly emerging.
One of the most interesting startup entries at this year’s 2020 Innovation Arena came from Dublin-based Iamus Technologies, which combines artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics to improve efficiency, biosecurity and animal welfare within chicken houses.
In simple terms, Iamus has developed a self-propelled robot called ‘Gallus’ that works within the chicken house to constantly monitor a number of key variables in the living environment of the chickens.
These include the level of ammonia, C02, humidity and light as well as the temperature of the birds. The autonomous Gallus robot is equipped with biometric sensors that can also detect changes in the weight of a bird.
By continuously measuring these variables, Iamus’ technology allows the farmer to make data-driven decisions to increase the efficiency of the poultry farm but also to improve the biosecurity and health of the flock.
And while the scale of the poultry industry in Ireland is relatively small in comparison to other countries, this new technology developed by Iamus has already caught international attention.
In 2018, Iamus were selected as a finalist in MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is one of the world’s leading science and technology universities.
More recently, the company has raised over €1.1m in seed funding from multiple investors, including Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Startup fund and Scandi Standard Group, the Swedish poultry giant that owns Manor Farm in Ireland.
Earlier this month, Iamus was also selected by the TechStars to participate in its 2020 Farm to Fork accelerator programme.
And while the company is still just a startup, Iamus is already working directly with some of the largest poultry players in the world including Rothkötter, the second largest poultry processor in Germany, Foster Farms, the largest poultry processor on the US west coast, and Cargill, one of the largest agribusiness companies in the world.
The fledgling company is now aiming to raise a further $3m (€2.5m) in seed funding to begin commercialising its technology.
Given the exciting potential of its technology, coupled with the enormous market potential of helping to improve efficiency with the global poultry industry, Iamus Technologies was awarded the Alfie Cox award for Best Startup at the 2020 Innovation Arena.
This is an Irish startup company that will be one to watch over the coming years.