Skilled 4 Work: Applying the Internet of Things to agriculture

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – An entrepreneur is using his education to work toward making the North Valley a place for cutting-edge technology.

Christian Chavez started Vital Grow, a business aimed at applying new technology to the agricultural field.

“They’re really farming no differently than they were 50 years ago,” Chavez said. “So as we have things like self-driving cars, people going to space everyday, computers getting faster and quantum computing – farming hasn’t changed.”

Chavez’s first idea is a thermometer measuring the temperature of a compost pile. The thermometer sends information to the farmer’s phone about the compost and when it is ready, which allows the farmer to keep up with watering it.

“Data is being sent from this probe to this device,” Chavez explained. “And this is what is actually pushing the data to the internet.”

Chavez used financial aid to pay for his classes at CNM’s Internet of Things coding and design bootcamp program, which gave him the tools to cultivate his idea.

“I went to CNM for this bootcamp and that really gave me the opportunity to learn about internet of things that’s coming out,” Chavez said. “We’re really just in the very beginning of connecting things that weren’t previously connected to the internet.”

Although Chavez dropped out of UNM business school, he dropped out to try starting other businesses. He was even named one of the top innovators, 25 years old or younger, by Albuquerque Business First magazine.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur but I wasn’t always the best at school,” Chavez said.

Despite his success, he acknowledged that starting a business can be daunting. However, it all starts with starting.

“You might sit there in the beginning and think like, ‘Oh I don’t have what it takes to develop a product, I don’t know how to start a business,’ but just do one piece at a time and you’ll build those Legos together and have something at the end,” Chavez explained.

Looking ahead, the thermometer is only Chavez’s first idea.

“We’re starting small with this compost device,” Chavez said. “But pretty soon I would like to make things like soil moisture sensors and smart weather stations.”

For more information on the Internet of Things bootcamp, click here.