Lumo logo in cream color

    Adopting tech is risky. Here's why Lumo isn't.

    Lumo's director of client success, Josh Zoland, presents at Lumo's user conference
    by Steele Roddick

    Many growers consider new tech to be a risk. 

    And rightfully so. You hear horror stories all the time. Huge upfront capital expenditures that never produce a return on investment. Expensive maintenance, constant downtime, and non-existent support. 

    Big tech. Big promises. Little followthrough. 

    Farmers are regularly referred to as risk averse and are known to be distrustful of tech. The not-so-subtle implication being that they’re laggards, hopelessly behind the times. 

    But who wouldn’t be distrustful? They’ve been burned before. You don’t touch a hot stove twice. 

    And they’re right to be risk averse. Their livelihood depends on their ability to manage risk. Climate risks. Labor shortages. Pests and disease pressure. Keeping a crop alive is a full-time job. A little bit of paranoia helps. 

    That’s why we think about risk differently at Lumo.

    In particular, we aim to ensure adopting Lumo translates to an overall reduction in risk for growers. We want Lumo to be a safe bet. 

    Now, we understand that’s a tricky proposition, especially because we’re so new. New tech companies have been known to fail and that’s one way farmers have been left in the lurch in the past. 

    And frankly, there’s nothing any business can do to guarantee they’ll be around in ten years time. Deep down, we know we will be, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure we are, but at some point, a leap of faith is indeed required. 

    Our focus is making sure that leap is as little as possible. 

    We’re new, but we’re not inexperienced. All of our founders are successful entrepreneurs with decades of experience and proven track records of success in software, hardware, wetware, agriculture and connectivity. Henry Halimi, our Chief Inventor, holds 25 water-related patents and has sold millions of hardware devices over the years. Lumo is unique, like all companies, but this is far from our first rodeo. 

    We’re already working with many of the best vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. Everyone we worked with last season is working with us again this coming season, and over 90% are expanding their use to new ranches. We have case studies from Redwood Empire Vineyard Management, Clos du Val, and Pine Ridge Vineyards, which detail the results they’ve seen and the reasons they’re optimistic about expansion. 

    We guarantee our hardware, so growers aren’t taking on that risk. Our smart valves are on unions, so they’re super easy to install and just as easy to rip out. No trenching in wires or expert plumbing required.

    We have a dedicated support team on the ground, ready to come fix any issues that arise. This past season, our team was often on site before clients even knew there was anything wrong. 

    Our Lumo One smart valves come with built-in computers that save your irrigation schedule. So even if they lose internet connectivity, they’ll still work. Another risk managed. 

    The name of the game is minimizing operational risk for growers. Too much technology of the past has put growers in an awkward position, where they’re unable to maintain the tech themselves and getting someone else to fix it has been time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. Too much time and too much money for too little return. The risk hasn’t been worth the reward. 

    That’s why we go a step further, not just by minimizing the risk of adoption, but also by helping growers to reduce the risks they were already managing. 

    Lumo valves have built-in flow meters, so growers receive data about their irrigations as they happen. We send automatic alerts when irrigation runs start and stop, and whenever there’s a flow rate issue. 

    By catching catastrophic leaks as early as possible, we help growers avoid crop damage and running their water tanks dry—something that’s especially important given the water scarcity risks many growers are now facing. 

    The data and accountability we provide growers also reduces the risk of human error. Irrigation runs have been known to run a few hours long or a few hours short just based on the practicalities of an irrigator’s schedule. And, when it’s all tracked manually, it’s easy enough for someone to fudge the start and stop times, so a vineyard manager or viticulturist might not even know. 

    Those risks get eliminated with Lumo. You know exactly when your irrigations start and stop, and exactly how much water was applied. The constraints around labor and geography also get greatly reduced. Once you can schedule irrigations in advance, and open and close valves from anywhere, you unlock all 24 hours of the day

    This also comes in handy in advance of heatwaves. If you need to get water applied ASAP to avoid losing yield to dehydration, you don’t have to worry about how far the drive is to the ranch. You just tap a button on your phone and the water starts. 

    We also help growers shift to nighttime irrigations, which means less water lost to evaporation and, if you’re using an electric pump, energy savings by pumping at off-peak times. 

    When you look at the full picture, we’d argue ranches using Lumo are at far less risk than ones without it. 

    Go down the list of risks and Lumo helps with just about all of them. 

    We save irrigation labor hours, which helps with risks related to the labor shortage and not being able to find enough help. 

    We give growers far greater control over their irrigations, allowing them to respond more rapidly to the volatile weather conditions brought about by climate change.

    We catch leaks automatically, reducing the risk of crop damage. 

    We give growers full visibility into their irrigations, reducing the risk of over or under watering. 

    We save growers water, reducing their risk of running out. 

    And, of course, we save growers money, which helps reduce the biggest risk of all—going out of business. 

    In the end, does adopting a new technology still come with certain risks, no matter how thoughtful we’ve been to mitigate them? Sure.

    But every grower knows that risk is an unavoidable part of their operation. The question isn’t whether there’s risk. Of course there is.

    The question is whether it’s even riskier to do nothing.

    To learn more about how you can reduce irrigation related risks with Lumo, contact us at [email protected] or request a demo here.

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