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Proper monitoring and data collection strategies are imperative to running a successful aquaponic operation. Maintaining records is paramount to understanding trends within your systems and potential preventative measures you can take to avoid die-offs. As a social-impact agriculture technology business we are excited about powering and liberating the heroes of next-gen aquaponic food production with technology. We're growers ourselves, so we know it can be hard to keep track of all the data from your sensors, paper notes and the minds of your teammates ;). That’s why we created this very platform – so you can consolidate everything into one place!

While spreadsheets are great tools for certain purposes, they aren't necessarily the best option for collecting and monitoring data in an aquaponic or hydroponic operation. We believe alternative data tracking programs like Microsoft Excel do not offer producers the same level of ease, technical support, and industry specificity. It's necesary to streamline your data collection and gain data driven insights in your growspace. Here's some ways our platform is a better fit for your farm’s data collection and tracking needs than excel spreadsheets.

1. Excel forces you to create a spreadsheet from scratch.

Excel forces you to create a spreadsheet to record data. The open-ended nature of this program allows for categories and details that must be tracked to slip through the cracks. You might not be keeping tabs on all of the necessary components of a successful system. You might not even know what aspects to track. Aquaponics AI offers you a ready-to-use spreadsheet outlining everything you need to know about your system. You will not need to set up complicated pivot tables or use multiple spreadsheets. Excel can be confusing. Aquaponics AI simplifies the data collection and recording process through user-friendly, industry-specific software.

2. Excel requires an advanced hand to set up and maintain spreadsheets.

Excel requires an advanced user to set up the complex tables to properly track your data - pivot tables, multiple spreadsheets, yearly averages based on hundreds of data points. Aquaponics AI removes the struggle of setting up and maintaining spreadsheets and allows producers to focus solely on collecting data. We believe that your time, energy, and efforts are better spent on your farm, not on the computer. We provide you with premade datasheets and notebooks so you will not waste time setting up your own (but the freedom to easily create custom ones that fit your needs). Our goal is to streamline the data collection, input, and monitoring process to make your farm more efficient.

3. Excel requires users to complete data analysis.

Excel does not automatically generate graphs based on the recorded data. Aquaponics AI does. Excel forces users to download specific analysis programs, sift through lists of complicated statistical analysis choices and models, figure out how to use those programs, and change data inputs to achieve meaningful results, graphs, and tables. Aquaponics AI only requires farmers to input system data into specific, already set up notebooks. Aquaponics AI software does all the work, so you do not have to. Our program generates easy-to-understand and read graphs that appear in the dashboard. Producers can immediately observe trends occurring within systems, apply the data appropriately, and maintain healthy aquaponic systems.

4. Excel does not provide alerts if data exceeds certain thresholds.

Excel is only a location to store data. Aquaponics AI actively monitors data to ensure that your parameters fall within a particular range. Aquaponics AI offers producers the option of customizing an early alert system. This system allows producers the opportunity to intervene if data begins to trend in the wrong direction. Producers can use this alert system to take preventative measures against decreasing water quality, disease, and overall system health.

5. Excel provides limited data storage and security options.

Older versions of excel provide limited security and access to your data. Unless you specifically share an excel file with another computer, you only have one virtual copy of that file. That data is only accessible on one computer. Updating the document using separate computers will result in multiple document versions, unconsolidated data, and confusion. Furthermore, in the event of a computer malfunction, your data is gone. Aquaponics AI offers a solution to all of these issues. Aquaponics AI allows producers to access and input data anytime through any computer or device. Your data syncs to the cloud - so you can have it anytime and anywhere. Your data is protected in the event of a computer malfunction or if you lose your hard copies.

6. Excel does not offer personalized technical support.

Aquaponics AI offers personalized technical support because this program is specifically created to fulfill producer needs. Aquaponics AI designed this product with growers in mind, while Excel is a tool made for many industries. The Aquaponics AI website includes a page specifically dedicated to customer support. Producers can find answers based on the subject or connect with an Aquaponics AI representative for additional support.

7. Excel does not facilitate learning from other producers.

Excel is an individual program. Aquaponics AI is a company that thrives on connecting producers and encouraging collaboration. Aquaponics AI allows producers to learn from how other farmers use our technologies. We love to see farmers utilize our sensors and spreadsheets to collect data in novel ways. We believe that farmers can inspire other farmers; therefore, we compose blog articles outlining new ways farmers use our software. We are part of a community that works together to improve the industry and specific farms through data collection.

Ultimately, excel spreadsheets cannot offer the same streamlining, monitoring, and social benefits as Aquaponics AI. Excel forces users to set up spreadsheets, choose what to monitor, and analyze results. The open-ended structure of excel leaves lots of room for error. Aquaponics AI removes the confusion from data collection, monitoring, and analysis with ready-to-use spreadsheets and notebooks, auto-generated graphs based on your data, and customized alerts. With Aquaponics AI software, you can rest easy knowing that your data is accessible, secured, and synched to the cloud. We can offer you technical support if any issues arise and new ideas for how to monitor your systems more effectively. Our specialized product can set you up for success.

Julianne Grenn

M.S. Graduate Student

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