The company needed to publish its Drone Spray Configurator app in time for the rice plant protection season — only two months away.
Rice farmers needed accurate configuration parameters in time for spraying season.
Drupal, Acquia Cloud Platform
Syngenta launched its Drone Configurator app in a fraction of the time available, exceeding expectations.
Syngenta Japan is the Japanese subsidiary of the Syngenta Group, a total agribusiness company that contributes to agriculture around the world and continues to create new value with world-class human resources and products.
Retailers, distributors, food and feed companies, and consumers always seek higher quality and safer agricultural products. To meet a variety of needs, Syngenta commercializes pesticides suitable for Japan's cultivation environment from among safe and highly effective compounds developed globally and produces high-value-added pesticides targeted at the Japanese market.
Syngenta Japan’s goal was to publish its Drone Spray Configurator app in time for the rice plant protection season, but the company only had two months to deliver.
As a general local practice, the rice cultivation cycle happens once a year. Rice transplantation typically completes in May, with farmers immediately starting pest, disease, and weed protection afterward. In recent years, farmers have been demanding the ability to perform crop protection via an aerial drone — and rice farmers anticipated that Syngenta would be able to provide accurate configuration parameters in time for spraying season. Failing to release the configurator app over rice farmers' mobile devices in time could prove detrimental to business. However, digital marketing and public exposure needs were surging everywhere, and it was nearly impossible for Syngenta Japan to allocate resources to the project in limited time, given the challenging circumstance and need to build features in the domestic language set.
A global user of Acquia Site Factory for its corporate website, which is governed by an in-house Drupal center of excellence, Syngenta Japan was already familiar with Acquia technology. Partnering with Genero, the teams built country-specific features under local regulations in an agile manner. Having developed competencies over the years, the teams felt confident to tackle another challenge.
After considering all conditions and possibilities, the teams built the new features on Kamihaya, the Drupal distribution explicitly developed to meet Japanese Digital Agency website guidelines.
Syngenta has been working closely with multiple aerial drone brands like DJI, Yamaha, and NTT. Each brand and drone model has different flight configuration parameters, and Syngenta also offers various crop protection products. Every combination of drone model and product must be physically tested for its spraying performance, leading to enormous R&D efforts.
Before this project, the Syngenta team successfully built a database including formulas for the best drone model/product combinations. The teams had to convert this large data model into a farmer-friendly UI that fits on a smartphone screen. Additionally, farmers expected to be able to use the mobile application to track the use of drones and products, including timing and location. Using Drupal to build the application, Syngenta harnessed all the benefits of offering the most effective and productive drone spraying method, creating touchpoints to farmers for further marketing outreach.
Syngenta Japan took a hybrid approach, using both global capability and domestic agility — a task that required proper harmonization between different cross-border stakeholders. Working with Genero, Syngenta launched its Drone Configurator app in a fraction of the time available, exceeding expectations.
Additionally, using Acquia's DevOps platform’s features, the teams could release twice during the project term — first, releasing the front-end features and next, releasing the back-end features. By doing this, the team effectively met the requirements of both end users and systems administrators.
Syngenta’s bold plan is to offer a global farming DX solution, called Cropwise, which will include the Drone Configurator. This will make the aerial drone use case more relevant and easy for farmers everywhere and support the global food supply.