What’s your first instinct when you see a bee? If it’s to run away or try to flick it away, remember that bees make us one of the best all-natural cures for a sore throat, honey. Unfortunately, the reality is that a reduction in the bee population within the MENA region, and globally, is a growing concern. The GCC also heavily relies on importing tens and hundreds of millions of dollars yearly.
Honey Flow Africa is trying to tackle this issue and empower local beekeepers to develop more honey and monitor beehives before it’s too late. All too often, beekeepers find that the bees have died when it’s too late to take action, without knowing the reason why. These reasons can range from a shortage of nectar source, pest infestations, vandalism, and more. And unfortunately, there is no existing system that determines the patterns of bee life in these hives to gain a deeper understanding of beekeepers to what’s at stake. Until now.
How does it work?
Honey Flow Africa uses the power of IoT and data analytics to detect beehives overall quality and well-being. The sophisticated technology analyzes hive temperature and humidity, along with audio recordings of the “bee buzz”, determining the health of colonies and if beekeepers should take action.
Using this data and analyzing it will allow the machine to detect patterns and forecast bee behavior, giving the beekeeper deeper insights. The smart hive has a GPS on board as well as an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that tracks any movement to determine if the hive has tilted or fallen over.
Founded by Amaete Umanah, Joshua Agbomedarho, and John Uduma, Honey Flow Africa participated in Brinc MENA’s third cycle, and found the experience very beneficial. Here is what Amaete had to say about his experience:
“Going through Brinc was as rewarding as any startup could wish for. Commercially, we startups are the children of the industry and they gave us all the attention we required. The mentorship sessions either brushed us up on old knowledge or on several occasions, introduced us to new ones. Their open-door policy created a family atmosphere where we as the startups were never hesitant to discuss or complain about whatever we were feeling at the time. We are extremely excited to see how far we can take our partnership to.”
Amaete described his first impressions of the Bahraini startup ecosystem as a tight-knit community that was willing to cooperate and assist in any way necessary. “The welcoming nature of the locals was heartwarming and made our stay here much more memorable,” he said.
According to Amaete, Bahrain is the perfect location to launch because of its business-friendly environment, and with a government that is focused on creating the most conducive business and economic environment for startups. It’s the perfect location to showcase the viability of the product and access other countries across the GCC.
Honey Flow Africa has decided to engage more in academic and educational institutions to plant the seed and to educate students about the growing reduction in honey across the region. That is why they are in talks with the University of Bahrain to discuss opening a “Bee Resource Center,” which teaches students about the benefits of beekeeping and ways to preserve the environment. This will also involve tech enthusiasts to contribute their skills in IoT, A.I., and machine learning into creating a solution.
Amaete’s advice for aspiring startup founders is to believe in yourself and your dream and find the best team possible. “A startup is like a baby,” he said. “If you do not provide the essential nutrients for it to survive, guess what? It dies! You must be ready to parent your brainchild to grow into what you envisioned it. Discipline yourself to rise to whatever challenge might come and remember that it is better to say that you tried than to say that you wish you had tried.”
Honey Flow Africa’s plans for the upcoming years is to grow the subscriber base across the GCC and African countries, because the more data is collected, the more accurate it is. They also hope to establish themselves in at least 2 or 3 of GCC and African countries, with established bee resource centers.
One of the most exciting projects that’s in the works is developing a tracking system, to ensure that the honey we are consuming is natural. The tracking system will be able to determine the source, to ensure its quality and to make sure we’re consuming the best honey we can get!