Published on 12/15/2016 | Use Cases
Although there is a great interest among investors in agriculture technology, the fact that farming has been, and continues to be one of the best laboratories for IoT innovation and large-scale adoption is little known. Here are some ways in which the agriculture industry has emerged as a key testing ground for IoT strategy.
A farmer needs to find better ways of feeding our growing population which is expected to grow by 2 billion by mid-century. Hence, there has been an increase in the adoption of IoT solutions as it improves efficiency, drives productivity and make sustainability coherent with profit.
Precision agriculture presents a whole set of opportunities for IoT innovation. It uses analytics to optimize farming decisions. It has become even more critical today to maximize yields from the land that is dedicated to food production. The use of IoT solutions allows the automation of everyday operations and provides real-time monitoring and data analysis. There are many companies that manufacture connected equipment, which use GPS to monitor crops and allow farmers to electronically control all the processes from seeding to harvesting the crops. They use pulsing laser diodes to scan crop health and nutrition needs and enables the farmers to add specific components to the soil to meet these needs, increasing overall productivity.
Pheromones to control pests are more useful when they are paired with IoT devices. A wireless sensor network monitors pests counts and detects their population. When the population level crosses the set limits, a metered pheromone delivery system automatically activates and disturbs the mating patterns of pests. This not only eradicates the pest problem; but also destroys the need to use pesticides.
Water shortage has always been a challenge for farmers. It demands extensive technical knowledge of complex data collection and irrigation systems. Farmers need precise and real-time information to reduce waste and prevent over and under-watering. Enterprise-grade IoT software, with embedded wireless devices and soil monitoring systems are able to measure moisture, detect leaks and more efficiently manage energy usage, in real-time. This allows only the required amount of water to be used in farmland, reducing the wastage of water significantly. As a result of controlled supply of water, the crops turn out to be healthier.
Agriculture technology is required to deliver new, incremental value throughout the product lifecycle, similar to the software’s industry’s practice of continually adding features and functionality after releasing a product. Agriculture technology companies are changing now; the sale of a machine today marks the start of a long term relationship. Farmers can now track their machines and analyze actionable data in real time. Responses to these analyses have been automated to optimize crop yield, boosting productivity season by season. This type of automation enables farmers to program exactly what and where each piece of equipment will plant, fertilize, spray and harvest for areas as small as one by three meters. The fact that all companies will be an IoT business very soon, irrespective of their size or industry, has been proved by agriculture industry. It is expected that in the near future, there will be a constant connection between people, companies and products in real-time; and agriculture is just the beginning.