With farms becoming an increased target for burglaries, it’s no surprise that surveillance technology is playing a vital hand in deterring unwanted visitors.

However, these sophisticated cameras can also be a useful tool for efficient livestock monitoring.

This is precisely the reasoning behind the launch of the newly established enterprise, Farmstream, founded in March, 2020, by farmer’s son and engineering student, Eddie McDiarmid and fellow friend and classmate, Callum Hay.

Based in Aberfeldy, Highland Perthshire, Farmstream specialises in self-installed CCTV systems for the rural and agricultural sector, with a range of products designed for off-grid rural areas that struggle with limited connectivity and power.

“Our aim is to make cameras accessible to all to increase farm security and productivity helping our customers grow their businesses,” commented Eddie, who was born and raised on a diversified sheep farm in Highland Perthshire.

“Having installed a system of 20 security cameras and two livestock cameras on our home farm, I realised that the associated expense and complexity was not viable and justifiable for most farms.

“I installed the system myself so there was no labour cost and afterwards worked out that to hire an electrician, or equivalent would have cost my family an upwards sum of £15,000.”

“I foresaw Covid-19 resulting in a lot of staff and resource shortages – especially over the lambing and calving periods – in addition to the increase in crime, which we are now experiencing and will likely get worse. So, I bought the biggest whiteboard you can buy on Amazon, a box of beer and sat with my best friend, Callum – who studies Masters of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering – and we brainstormed until we came up with a few solutions to solve the problem of making camera systems more affordable and suitable for farming.

“Our cameras are all custom designed and built for us by our supplier in Shenzhen – the technology manufacturing capital of the world. We decided to partner with this factory as they have a very dynamic team of developers and engineers who we work with daily to improve the products capabilities as well as developing new products and services,” Callum added.

The pair now have a wide range of cameras on offer to the agricultural sector, specifically designed for animal monitoring and rural security, with all models retaining the business’ main aim of easy self instalment and being more affordable for farmers.

A key feature is the remote viewing aspect, allowing farmers to remotely stream both live and recorded footage from a smartphone or tablet wherever they are, reducing the number of times they need to physically check stock during lambing and calving.

“Our cameras are designed to be self-installed, which lowers the cost and makes livestock cameras more accessible. No technical knowledge is required for installation and all the cameras require is a power supply – mains, 12v battery, solar or wind – a sim card and mounted to the roof of the shed,” Eddie explained.

Since its establishment, the business' total capital of £1000 – invested by both Eddie and Callum – continues to grow on the pair’s monthly retained profits.

With expectations for the business’ popularity and growth certainly being exceeded, the pair’s hard work and determination has led the business from selling three cameras during March, 2020, to selling more than 3000 cameras to date.

And, with the business’ first anniversary fast approaching, the enterprising pair have seen sales gross more than £600,000.

“We now are manufacturing more than 500 units a month and are in talks with the factory to help them increase production capacity allowing us to import even greater quantities,” said Eddie.

“We are proud that we haven’t taken anything out of the business and have continued to invest everything in improving our products and growth,” added Callum.

Farmstream is now home to seven members of staff and, with a range of sophisticated platforms, employees are able to work remotely from home whilst still providing a high level of customer support.

“Employing staff has been difficult this year as there are a lot of people on furlough, or are temporarily unemployed, however we always look to employ people who will be working with us for the long term so that they can grow with the business,” commented Eddie.

Farmstream’s cameras are also hitting the mark with customers, with many five star reviews being left following successful purchases.

On January 25, one customer commented on the business’ website: “We absolutely love our Farmstream 360 camera as it is really easy to install, navigate and so helpful during lambing! No doubt we will be hoping to get more of these cameras in the future.”

Eddie, Callum and their team are planning to upscale their enterprise in the near future, with the launch of various new products on the horizon.

“We are currently developing our own app and have just formed a partnership with an AI developer with some exciting features in the works, as well as rapidly expanding our warehouse and capabilities with increased storage along with a permanent office to facilitate our growth plan,” commented Callum.

“We also have other cameras in the works, including an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera along with software improvements and new features.

“As a relatively young Scottish technology company, we invite anyone who thinks there is a way you think you can help us develop and grow our business or are interested in a partnership opportunity to get in touch,” Eddie concluded.