Continuing the trend of analyzing front-running machine learning and business intellige198nce applications in startup companies, this week I will be commenting on a startup named Aquabyte. This is a particularly applicable startup to BIA 6300 because they are addressing a problem on the frontier of big data: unstructured data. In the case of Aquabyte, they are working to create a machine vision algorithm that can accurately estimate the size of salmon and detect sea lice – two important tasks in fish farming.  The tough part, described by the CEO of Aquabyte in a recent Forbes article, is the extreme amount of unstructured data including, “both camera data using computer vision, multi-sensory environmental data like temperature and oxygen, and human input data such as how much to feed.” The business intelligence application of the machine vision is that fish farmers will be able to more efficiently feed their fish farms. According to the article, a fish farmer could save 20-30% on food costs. They are strategically targeting the Norwegian market due to the high level of fish farming in Norway.

Before reading this article, I did not know there was a market demand for measuring the size of fish in a farming operation. However, I thought of a few other opportunities Aquabyte could pivot to or expand to in upcoming years. An easy implementation of Aquabyte’s algorithm and hardware framework would be in aquaponics. Oftentimes, the aquaponics managers must balance the amount of fish waste and plants in a system, and an analysis of fish size would probably be a good indicator to keep everything in check. Another application would be aerial images in large cattle farms. The same way Aquabyte is optimizing food allocation to fish, cattle ranchers could use drones or other camera footage to approximate the size of cattle. Another tech startup, named AG8ERpoint, is working in a related industry – They are utilizing satellite and aerial imaging to determine the size and health of trees in orchards. Essentially, farmers are seeking ways to more effectively run their operations. All of these examples offer even more solid evidence that the phrase “competing on analytics” touches all corners of the market. The fish farmers, orchard growers, or cattle ranchers, are always looking for ways to edge out their competition, and these startups are offering solutions through big data.

Article Citation:

  1. Knapp, Alex. “This Startup Is Raising $3.5 Million To Add Machine Learning To Fish Farms.” Forbes. January 30, 2018. Accessed January 31, 2018.
  2. About – AGERpoint™. Accessed January 31, 2018.