The SAMS-project

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SAMS is a multi-national, interdisciplinary three-year project, which goal it is to apply IoT technology for precision apiculture in beehives located in tropical regions in order to achieve active monitoring for beekeeping improvements. It enhances international cooperation of ICT and sustainable agriculture between the SAMS partner from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Latvia, Austria and Germany since January 2018. Bee health and sustainable beekeeping are a key for sustainable agriculture worldwide but the degradation of pollination power of suffering the bee colonies threats overall agricultural production and affects entire population. In addition risks of depleting honey production threatens livelihoods of beekeepers.

The idea behind SAMS is to develop an appropriate and adapted ICT solution (open-source) for beekeepers to allow an active monitoring and remote sensing of their bee colonies from wherever they are. Beekeeping with small-scale operations provides perfect innovation labs for demonstration and dissemination of cheap and easy-to-use open source ICT applications. An integrated Advisory and Decision Support system shall support the beekeeper in ensuring the bee health and bee productivity of their colonies. The recommendations, provided to the beekeeper, are based on the evaluation of the gained beehive data and are related to the country specific questions and/or context settings. The already collected beehive data is available in the SAMS Data Warehouse, which is a universal system, able to operate with different data inputs and have flexible data processing algorithms. Complementary to the Data Warehouse, a SAMS bee-management and bee-health database, including 10 Golden Rules of Honeybee Management, to increase the quality of honeybee products (e.g. honey) and improvement the health of honeybee colonies, has been established.

The primary success factor for SAMS is to develop solutions that are understandable and useable for all user groups, beekeepers as well as scientist and commercial users. The partner countries Indonesia and Ethiopia are quite divergent in culture and other preconditions, which influences the development of above mentioned support tools differently. Therefore, a team of local experts analyze requirements in each country.

Hereby SAMS follows the User Centered Design approach to promote and advance forms of existing beekeeping while ensuring, that needs, demands and limitations of end users are major focus in all steps of the development and to be able to adapt the system accordingly to the country context.


The SAMS UCD approach foresees the following specific implementation actions are:

  • Identify preconditions, potentials and user´s needs through research and context analysis in SAMS partner countries
  • Include end-user in solution development of the (1) Advisory and (2) Decision Support System through SAMS User Centered Design Cycles
  • Set up first pilot proto-hives for further iterations and adaptions of the developed ICT solution to regional settings and users’ needs
  • Enable the end-user to monitor and manage bee colonies in a sustainable and efficient way by taking also bee-health aspects in consideration
  • Development of business concepts along the bee value chain

The UCD process iterates until the user requirements are met and goes hand in hand with locally conducted Capacity Development measures. Capacity Development measures are specifically conducted for modern beehive construction including use and maintenance of the related IT-systems, the use and optimization of the Decision Support System and to raise awairness for specific bee-health as well as bee-management aspects among beekeepers.

Three continents – three scenarios

  1. Africa – Ethiopia: Beekeepers have a limited access to modern beehive equipment and bee management systems and the apicultural sector is far behind his potential.
  2. Asia – Indonesia: A weak beekeeper rate, a low rate of professional processing, support and marketing lead to a slow development of the apicultural sector.
  3. Europe - Consumption and trading of honey products are increasing whereas the production is stagnating and pollination services are less developed