Apr 27, 2021

Converting Agriculture domain expertise into automation

eze System – Converting Ag domain expertise into automation

Nichols Farms and eze System began their relationship back in 2013 when Nichols Farms investigated means to collect better field data remotely. Nichols’ pistachios and almonds ranches are located in three different counties and collecting irrigation related information in a timely manner was always a challenge. Nichols ran a comprehensive project for evaluating various data acquisition technologies with the scope of measuring water flow and pressure. eze System’s IIoT system (ezeio® generation 1) was the clear winner as it was easy to configure, install, and allowed the Nichols’ team to deploy it themselves, versus using costly outside contractors. The hands-on service and documentation eze System provided were also big pluses. 

This momentum continued over the next few years as James Nichols, the third-generation farmer of the Nichols Family, began to think bigger about what the ezeio® could do on the farm. James had purchased an ezeio® controller for his personal use for automating a drip irrigation system at his home based on soil moisture. After the successful implementation the work began to retrofit irrigation valves and irrigation pumps with the ezeio® system.

Nichols selected one of their larger ranches, the AKE ranch, as its test site since the orchards were low performing and had issues with irrigation that caused high disease, pest pressure, and nutrient deficiencies. It was nicknamed by Nichols’ staff as the “Head-AKE” ranch due to its complexities. Over the course of a year, Nichols retrofitted 74 irrigation valves, 3 filter stations and 11 pumps with the ezeio® controllers for remote monitoring and control.  

Nichols at that time implemented a more scientific way to irrigate based upon forecasted water usage and used the ezeio® system to remotely view how the orchards were irrigated. The ensuing years proved the value of the system as the productivity of the ranch increased dramatically. Pest and disease pressure decreased, and the plant nutrient content went from deficient to optimal.


The scope of this initial project went from a pure monitoring exercise to implementing a scientific irrigation automation program utilizing eze System’s end-to-end IIoT system for monitoring and control. The Nichols Family encouraged James to take this solution to other growers in the area, and so the new AgTech company HotSpot Ag, Inc. got born.

HotSpot with the help of eze System was able to convert its in-depth irrigation domain expertise into a unique farm automation system which is evolving ever since. Their customers are seeing immediately that the HotSpot system is made by farmers for farmers. It simplifies irrigation and helps growers to comply with ever-changing conditions and regulations.

eze System’s team has been instrumental for the development of HotSpot’s agriculture specific applications on top of its solid ezeio® system. Their development team has developed the tools needed for hassle-free installations and configurations of farm equipment that has allowed Hotspot Ag to scale quickly.


Hotspot Ag provides today complete farm automation solutions and operates in California and beyond providing solutions for irrigation automation, automatic reservoir and off-peak fill, complete frost control protection, and equipment tracking for citrus, nut orchards, wine and table grapes, dairy applications, and public entities. Please visit for more information.

If you do have a in-depth domain expertise in a specific industry and like to expand or build your own business around it then please contact us. We will help you and convert your knowhow into a hassle-free and scalable automation solution. Become a ezeOptimize partner and offer your domain expertise as a service.

We are here to help.