Winter 2022 Newsletter

In this newsletter:
  • Maple Trade Show re-cap - video available 
  • Sap Spy cellular technology explained
  • Map of Sap Spy devices - Spring of 2021
  • Limited supply - order your SapSpy today for the 2022 season. 
Trade Show Re-cap

After a full year off due to the pandemic, trade shows finally were a go again this fall and winter. At Sap Spy we are always enjoy talking to other sugar makers at events like these. This is not only to make more customers but simply to understand how Sap Spy can best solve your problems, make your life easier and allow your sugaring operation to be more profitable during sugaring season. Talking to customers in person is a vital piece to innovation and the product development cycle. We were able to attend the following trade shows:

  • Lake Erie Maple Expo - Albian, PA - Nov 12th - 13th
  • January maple Conference - Vernon, NY - Jan 7th - 8th 
  • WI Maple Winter Institute - Marshfield, WI - Jan 14th - 15th
If you want to learn more about the value of remote monitoring click the image below to a video of a seminar we provided at the January Maple Conference in Vernon Downs discussing both the value of remote monitoring and Sap Spy can provide that value. 
Sap Spy Cellular Technology Explained:
Some of the most common questions we receive include:
  • Q) Will Sap Spy connect in my woods? I have poor service?
  • Q) What cellular carrier does Sap Spy work with?
  • Q) How do I get a SIM card for Sap Spy? 
  • Q) I hear 3G is being turned off, does Sap Spy use 3G technology?
  • Q) Can I send pictures or a video over Sap Spy? 
Let's take a few minutes answering these questions:
  •  Sap Spy uses a cellular technology referred generically as Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). More specifically, this is also known as LTE-Cat M1 or NB-IoT. This is different than your mobile phone (LTE) that needs to stream videos, ESPN, YouTube, etc.
  • SapSpy connects to cellular towers but uses a different technology allowing it to connect in areas your phone will not.  
  • This technology is intended for this type of smart agriculture sensor data especially in rural areas where WiFi is not available.
  • Low Power Wide Area Network technology allows Sap Spy to operate 2-4 weeks off of a single battery charge (Low Power...) in areas where a traditional cell phone may not (...Wide Area network)
  • Sap Spy works with multiple cellular carriers in both USA and Canada simultaneously to connect to whoever has the strongest signal. This includes: AT&T, T-Mobile and US Cellular in USA & Bell, Rogers, Telus - Canada (as of Jan 2022). Sap Spy is hopeful to add Verizon to this list by Jan 2023. 
  • Sap Spy is about Simple and Affordable. To best provide simplicity, Sap Spy handles the complexity of cellular connectivity for you. All you do is take it to the sugarbush and turn it on. No need to worry about SIM Cards or activation fees. 
  • By the end of 2022 many US wireless carriers will turn off their 3G connectivity. This means all existing cellular devices using 3G will stop working (including other sap monitoring systems reliant upon 3G from other companies). Since Sap Spy uses the latest technology of LTE Cat M1/NbIoT, Sap Spy will continue to operate many years beyond the sunsetting of 3G. If you are considering a different companies cellular based monitoring system, be sure it does not operate on 3G or you will only have an expensive paperweight after late 2022/2023. 
  • The main tradeoff SapSpy made in choosing the technology it did, is we are unlikely to have support for photos or videos transmitted over SapSpy in the future. This was a conscious choice to allow connectivity in remote areas with less than ideal cellular service and allow for long term battery operation. Secondly, we believe data from sensors can provide a lot more value than just a picture such as SMS alerts, trending, etc. 
  • If there is any doubt of cellular connectivity, reach out with Long. Latitude coordinates and we can provide guidance. We also provide 100% refund including a return shipping label if it doesn't connect in your sugarbush like it should. 

Sap Spy Locations - As of March 2021:

To help bust the myth of cellular connectivity in remote locations, here is a map of locations of Sap Spy devices that were active during the 2021 maple syrup season. To date, we have visited somewhere around 100 sugarbushes across maple country and only had 2 sugarbushes were Sap Spy did not connect. This map is an area Sap Spy will continue to build out and update throughout the 2022 Maple Syrup season. As all the new devices Sap Spy shipped out "come online" we will update this this map with additional pins representing every device out there. There will be many many more dots added to this map by March 2022. We may also include data from those devices such as sap flow rate for the day, total gallons/tap, temperature, date of first and last sap flow, etc. The intent is to provide a holistic view of Sap Spy across Maple Country for users who do not opt out in sharing their data. Stay tuned for further details. 

Sap Spy Inventory Status 

As of January 15th 2022, all orders are fulfilled and shipped. Sap Spy will continue to keep units on hand ready for immediate shipment until the limited amount of hardware we have on hand is depleted. 

We encourage you to place your order today for Sap Spy. All new orders will ship in 1-3 days via UPS with typical shipping time of 1-3 days depending on location. We will ship orders out as they are received until the inventory is gone. If you plan on ordering SapSpy for the 2022 season, the sooner you order the better. 

Next month's newsletter:

  • explanation - What's a "web app"?
  • Tank Level data to help you make decisions using predicted future tank level
  • Release of how to videos 

Are you wondering if SapSpy right for your sugarbush? We are always happy to talk and catch up with other Maple Syrup Producers. Feel free to reach out via phone call, text or email anytime. 

Jeff Skarda
Founder, Principal Engineer, Fellow Sugar Maker
Maple IoT Solutions LLC 
d.b.a SapSpy