SAMS - Decision Support System
The SAMS Decision Support System (DSS) is one of the main results of the SAMS project. In general, DSS can be defined as any system that assists in any kind of decision making. DSS is used to support the decision-makers mainly, but not to replace them. In this case to assist the beekeepers in their daily apiary management. In other words, DSS is a system, which is used for automatic data analysis with the main aim to recognize the status of the monitored object. DSS can help to automatically identify different bee colony states and inform the beekeeper if some activities are necessary.
To assess the status of a honeybee colony, the beekeeper must inspect the colonies physically on site. This procedure is time-consuming and raises stress to the colony which then leads to an interruption of their daily work (and at the end of the productivity). Application of modern information and communications technology (ICT) can help to solve this issue. Precision beekeeping (PB) is a scientific direction that combines ICT and beekeeping. PB is defined as an apiary management strategy that focuses on individual bee colony monitoring in order to minimize resource consumption and maximize the productivity of bees. By applying precision beekeeping methodology, the continuous and remote monitoring of the bee colonies may be a useful tool to decrease the number of physical inspections, support the management of honeybee health, colony development and even bee productivity.
Apiary Management Concept
The complete bee colony (apiary) management concept proposed by SAMS is illustrated in the figure.
The concept depicted in the figure includes all stages of the precision beekeeping three-phase cycle:
- Data collection stage. In this stage, the bee colonies are being monitored by the SAMS bee colony monitoring systems (SAMS HIVE) remotely collecting temperature, weight and sound data. Collected data is sent to the SAMS Data Warehouse and stored for further processing and analysis.
- Data analysis stage. The collected data is being analyzed in this stage by using different models and approaches. This is being done within the SAMS Data Warehouse. As a result of these models, the bee colony state is identified.
- Result interpretation and application. Based on the identified colony states by the DSS, different management actions can be applied by the beekeeper. The beekeeper is informed about the possible actions/recommendations through the User Interface, where the descriptions of the recommended actions are available on the SAMSwiki platform serving partly as an advisory support system (a system that provides advice and supports problem-solving). The DSS points to the SAMSwiki, which includes various articles related to the beekeeping sector, bee biology, bee states etc. It acts as a knowledge base for beekeepers; therefore it does not only provide the recommended actions but also educates the reader on beekeeping specifics. The DSS detects/recognizes the colony states and points to the SAMSwiki, where the specific case is described in more detailed. For example, a broodless state is detected, the reader then is "forwarded" to the related SAMSwiki page, where the broodless state is described and recommendations are given. Then the beekeeper needs to decide what to do next by analyzing the alternatives. After the recommendations have been provided, the beekeeper can choose the appropriate alternative to perform some action or do nothing. This can be done by using an evaluation tool, like the swarm economics calculator which is developed in the Data Warehouse.
The SAMS DSS User Interface
The DSS SAMS user interface for beekeepers is based on the user research. It was scribbled and prioritized during the UCD SAMS prototyping workshop in Bandung, July 2019. The user interface (UI) prototype of the DSS SAMS data display for beekeepers (for mobile devices) was then developed in Figma software. The iterative development process was discussed during regular virtual meetings dedicated to this topic with the SAMS partner and consortium members. According to the usability tests with four Ethiopian and five Indonesian beekeepers (end-users), the interface prototype (in English, Amharic and Bahasa Indonesia) was refined.
The prototype is available in English, Amharic, and Bahasa Indonesia. There is two design version which the latest version is the newest and simplified process version where beekeeper's feedbacks in the Usability Test are taken into account.
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