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Emmanuel Parlier, president of Flex Sense, with the electronic oyster in hand

Innovation: an oyster plugged into your pocket to prevent theft

Click on the flag for more information about France FRANCE
Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 22:00 (GMT + 9)

While several thousand tonnes of oysters are stolen every year in French parks, Flex Sense, a Vendee company, has just developed a "spy" oyster to catch thieves. Equipped with an electronic card, this false oyster slips in the bags of real alive oyster and sends an alert by SMS in case of movement. In Plougrescant (Côtes-d'Armor), an oyster producer is testing this innovation.

Emmanuel Parlier showing the plastic oyster with the device

Thieves can not digest this connected oyster. Emmanuel Parlier, head of Flex Sense, opens it easily and reveals the heart of the plastic oyster: an electronic card powered by a battery, which has a range of 60 months.

With his feet in the sand in the Plougrescant oyster park, Emmanuel Parlier supply Christian Le Coadou with three oyster spies. With its gray-green shell in relief, the oyster spy looks very similar to the real mollusk. After several tidal cycles, it becomes difficult to locate. Placed in an oysters' bag, the spy sleeps in silence. In case of movement, an alert is sent by SMS to the oyster producer. Stalking can then begin if a thief has stolen oysters in his concession. An application tracks the spy "oyster" that is inside the bag. The "other plastic" is equipped to transmit its geographical position. For 52 days, it sends a message every minute specifying its coordinates. 

Box with oyster devices

8,600 spied oysters

This concept was develop by Emmanuel Parlier, legal expert in the aquaculture industry and president of Flex Sense. After 36 months of development and a budget of EUR 700,000 invested in research and development, this product has been on the market since last March. "In July, there was a fundamental break in oysters cultivation, before, offshore parks were not insurable, insurers did not know how many oysters were put in the sea," he says. The insurers could not determine the cause of the oysters' disappearance. Mortality or theft? "Were there really oysters that had been put in the sea?" There were many dangers. As insurers do not like many risks, they decided to disconnect and not to have an insurance for the farmers. The "antitheft" developed by Flex Sense, which has existed since July 2015, has changed the problem data.


Detail of the "electronic oyster"

"From the moment we implement an oyster connected to the field, it will protect about 20 bags, they are 200 kg, EUR 10 when it is sold well, you get EUR 2,000." If an oyster producer is equipped with connected Flex Sense oysters, he has insurance against theft. This is the first time Emmanuel Parlier managed to convince an insurer. "We talked for almost two years with them. If the oyster breeder is equipped with three oysters connected, it is secured for 60 bags. The insurer relied on Flex Sense considering that our technology was mature enough. "

Detail of the electronic system and cover caps

Ten euros a month for an oyster, it's not huge

Several thousand tonnes of oysters are stolen every year. The professionals were naturally seduced by this snitch: "Today I have more than one oyster to sell," says Emmanuel Parlier, who does not want to give details of the oyster farms equipped in the region. His company, which is based in La Roche-sur-Yon, achieved a turnover of EUR 86,000 with this product. With a monthly subscription of EUR 10 or a purchase of EUR 240 per unit, this is a total of 8,600 of these devices that are waiting for suspicious movements in the water today.

The oyster "spy" on a bag of oysters in a farm

Wood and vegetables too

"We work all over France and also internationally." Flex Sense also designed connected bark for precious woods. Near Nantes, even the chicory is connected.

"I agreed to try it, I did not know about this solution, during the summer, we had many bags opened, it was to steal, they did not steal large quantities," says Christian Le Coadou, an oyster producer in Plougrescant. The community of Lannion-Trégor asked him to try this device. "In the area, we are a bit calm compared to other areas where there are more flights," says the oyster producer, who has been on this site since 1984. Two years after retirement, he does not. He has not hesitated to try this system for free: "Ten euros a month for an oyster is not huge," he concludes.

Author: Eric Rannou / etelegramme.fr

[email protected]


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