The beekeeper's digital assistant
by Danae Bersi, Content Creator, New Agriculture New Generation

A digital assistant for the beekeeper that contributes to the improvement of the production.

Beenotes’ team, managed to emerge as one of the four winners of the first phase of the Agri-food Accelerator "Agroanelixis" implemented by the organization "New Agriculture New Generation", presenting an innovative project that aims to help the beekeeper to improve production by simplifying all the necessary procedures. Simply put, Beenote presents a digital assistant, who literally listens to what the beekeeper says using voice recognition technology, automatically collects and analyzes the data of beekeeping practice and suggests solutions.

Beenotes is based on the idea that beekeeping is an agricultural activity that has many parameters. As Notis Papasouliotis, an agronomist who has been involved in the beekeeping industry for several years and one of the two collaborators in the team, states, "In beekeeping, everything has to do with how the producer can synchronize the development of a hive with nature and flowering. This is a multifactorial situation which is difficult to achieve without the right tools."

An application that simplifies the life of the beekeeper

An important parameter that highlights the difficulty in the beekeeping industry is the very nature of the bees which are known to be insect that can bite those around them, forcing beekeepers to wear masks and special equipment to protect themselves. This therefore does not allow beekeepers to keep paper and pencil, for example, to write down the necessary information regarding their production.

So Beenotes comes to meet this need, offering a tool that with voice recognition technology makes it easier for the producer to take notes which he can then study and edit. It is essentially a mobile application that uses voice recording for the benefit of the producer. As Michael Sabethai, a mathematician with many years of experience in the field of marine fuels and a collaborator at Beenotes, explains, “All the producer must do is open his phone and then, the app begins to record. He can also chat with the application, using keywords such as "population", "offspring" or "queen". The application recognizing these keywords, responds to the producer by asking him in turn questions that respond to his original request. Thus, a system for recording and monitoring of each cell is created separately ".

Covering the producers need for review and optimization.

The log data is then available, either directly from the beekeeper's mobile phone, or through a platform located on the Beenotes website. There, the producer can easily look back and see and edit the recordings he has made, in even greater detail. For example, if there are recordings from many cells, the person entering the platform can filter various features such as which are his best or worst cells and to identify those cells that may have a problem.

The idea to create a platform that will "untie the hands" of beekeepers, had started by Notis Papasouliotis as early as 2015, but at that time the technology was not as advanced, so the team did not proceed with the project at that time. to move. In 2019, however, he met Michael Sabethai, whose acquaintance goes back many years as they were fellow students at the University but also good friends and together, they decided to use the latest technology to revive the original idea and create “Beenotes”, in April 2019.

Beenotes in the "Agroanelixis" business acceleration and microfinance program

The team participated in 2020 in the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece accelerator, where they were given the opportunity to further develop the idea but also to find a common language of communication, as they state.  Then, they decided to take part in the Agri-food Accelerator of the “New Agriculture New Generation” organization.

Michael Sabethai states that they considered their participation in the Accelerator would be a very good opportunity to get in touch with people in the agri-food industry and to develop their product. And so it happened, as he characteristically adds, "Our participation in the accelerator “Agroanelixis” met our expectations. The Accelerator, although demanding, was a very interesting process for us, as it was thorough in many issues that we found useful ".

The “Agroanelixis” Accelerator helped the team become familiar with agricultural technology and networking in the agri-food industry.

The team believes that the business acceleration and microfinance program was able to cover a very wide range of subjects, from marketing to technology and innovation, enabling each professional to choose the ones that serve him / her and concern his / her business. "Our team was particularly helped through the accelerator. We got to know new aspects of agricultural technology, which is of direct interest to us, but also we were able to develop in areas such as marketing and search engine optimization," says Michael Sabethai.

"Very interesting, of course, was the fact that we were able to meet other groups of people who are also trying to start their own business in the agri-food sector. We were able to see the different ways in which everyone starts, utilizing either technology or other innovations that can be applied in the industry, but also to recognize any difficulties and challenges they may face", says Notis Papasouliotis, while adding that "It was a very creative process, we discovered things we did not know about ourselves and new perspectives on what we did."

Beenotes' next steps and their goals for the future

The Beenotes team is in the final testing phase of their product, where their goal is to “listen” to their audience in terms of the current version of the application, to see what they can improve and how they can adapt their product to the real needs of beekeepers. The application, which is available through the Google Playstore, has a total of +1000 downloads in the last year, with 500 people having used it at least once in the last month.

At the same time, the team has launched a campaign through social media, urging people to download Beenotes and try it out, offering those interested a discount on subscribing to the final commercial product as soon as it is released. Their goal, as they say, is to let people know who they are and what they can offer to beekeepers.

Beenotes does not stop evolving continuously so that it can serve the needs of beekeeping, whether it is the production of honey and other beekeeping products or even applied scientific research. "We also want to see how we can help larger units or cooperatives that need the systematization of processes in order to be able to increase their productivity," says Notis Papasouliotis.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the application is currently available in 5 languages, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French and English, so that it can serve these countries, where beekeepers amount to about 110,000 while in the next steps, the group is considering importing the product to other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the Nordic countries, the US and even Latin America.