One of the main catalysts for the development of the Internet of things in many countries is farming. New technologies help to make production much more efficient, and create new sources of profit. IoT-development is used to control pests, save water, control the storage and processing of products, optimize the movement of agricultural machinery and workers across the territory and much more.
Precision agriculture: IoT works, farmers - have a rest
The Internet of things in agriculture makes it possible to organize the so-called precision farming, which would be even more accurately called "pointed" agriculture. Its essence lies in an extremely careful approach, even to a small patch of land.
Here is how it can be organized: within the limits of one field, the boundaries of small homogeneous areas are determined, which differ from each other in some respects. Then, sensors are installed on each of them to monitor the condition of the soil. Data from all devices are collected and analyzed. Based on the analysis received, sowing is planned, irrigation rates, fertilizer application and plant protection products are calculated. For example, if the sensor shows that the soil is fertile in some area, it means that fertilizers will save.
Such systems can also calculate a long-term irrigation strategy, based on weather forecast, soil composition, crop volumes, and other agricultural data. Thus, costs are optimized and damage from nitrogen fertilizers is reduced. Also, with the help of the obtained data, it is possible to predict more accurately the yield and plan the profit.
The territories can be observed with the help of flying drones or special wireless sensor networks, as well as spectral cameras - they are able to determine the presence and quantity of pests on the field. If there are too many insects, the system will activate spraying exactly those areas where it is necessary. Already there is software that analyzes the behavior of pests and predicts their reproduction and behavior.
Storage and processing of products
Separately, it is worth mentioning about IoT-equipment, intended for monitoring of agricultural premises. It is, for example, sensors that monitor the condition of warehouses and elevators, measuring the temperature, humidity, the norm of vibration of conveyor belts. If the sensors fix a deflection, an alarm is triggered or a script of automatic actions (ventilation, cooling / heating, door locking, etc.) is activated. Having received a signal about potential equipment failure, the system can send a report to the repair team and even purchase the necessary spare part.
The development of IoT solutions for the AIC is still hampered by poor coverage of rural mobile networks. Often, agricultural land is simply isolated from mobile and fixed communications. With devices operating in low power and high coverage (LPWAN) networks, IoT solutions have become more accessible to farmers. Abroad there are already LPWAN-networks: one base station of such network can cover a signal of several tens of square kilometers, and the battery life of the device from the battery is calculated for years. At the same time, the cost of owning such solutions is significantly lower than using conventional mobile communication.
Smart technologies for growing
Throughout the world, the movement towards smart farming is carried out through the spread of IoT-technologies. Crop production - a branch of agriculture engaged in the cultivation of cultivated plants - is being automated quite actively.
Future: New Challenges
According to UN experts, by 2050 the world population will reach 9.8 billion people, and world food production will grow by 70% to provide the society with food. Agriculture has already faced global problems, including climate change, land depletion, water scarcity and high energy costs.
In overcoming the current situation, "accurate" farming and crop production, in conjunction with agronomy and chemical research, will most likely play a key role.
For whom and for what
Even for small farms, it makes sense to implement IoT solutions primarily to reduce operating costs. Big players in the agribusiness of Internet of things are attracted also because they are interested in strengthening their reputation as "green" and responsible producers.
Of course, agribusiness is a fairly conservative sphere, because there are enough risks in it. Nevertheless, in the world there are already enough examples of successful implementations of Internet technologies of things in agriculture and plant growing. The Iot system, which automates the activities of agricultural enterprises, is an attractive factor for both the private investor and the state.
Technology Low-power wide-area network (LPWAN). Its characteristics well suited to the needs of agricultural companies. Devices based on LPWAN have a wide coverage and "hear" each other at a distance of up to 50 km, and are relatively inexpensive.