Farming is the oldest profession known to humankind. This very essential trade is the basis of human evolution. It is only natural that as humans have advanced they have brought their knowledge into farming in an attempt to make it more efficient and gainful. In the 21st century there are hardly any aspect of our existence that is not affected by technology — and agriculture is not an exception. With the world population exploding it is only fitting that smart agriculture is the way forward. The implementation of IoT (Internet of Things) in agriculture can help the modern world find ways that can effectively ease the burden on farming. The integration of IoT in agriculture will bring in the next most needed technological revolution in this sector.
IoT in Agriculture
The implementation of IoT in agriculture will depend on the use of sensors and cameras along with other connected devices that would be able to turn every element and action involved in farming into data that can provide insights and help in building software algorithms that are customised to the requirements of that specific farm. The data these sensors record will include information on weather, plant health, crop health, moisture measurements, mineral level, chemical applications, and pest presence among multiple other things.
Smart agriculture that employs IoT tools can collect crucial data such as quality and fertility of soil along with weather conditions to help farmers to forecast crop yield and resultant business status. This would lend itself to a better control over agricultural processes, thus reducing production risks, and improving the plans related to distribution and sale. The increased control over farm processes and product distribution will allow farmers to manage their cost better and reduce the waste production. The ability to track every aspect of the crop growth and any possible anomalies will allow them to mitigate risks related to losing yields.
IoT implementation in farms will also lead to the incorporation of smart devices. The smart devices will enable the activation of multiple processes simultaneously. Across a production cycle, the farm would have to undertake processes such as fertilisation, irrigation, and pest control among other things. Using smart devices that allow automation and accomplishment of multiple tasks at the same time will improve business efficiency of farms.
Smart Devices in Agriculture
Sensors in agriculture can be used for a varied range of functions. Smart agriculture will expectedly have a great range of applications to provide an all-round flow of data that can be used to ease farming processes. Sensors can be used to monitor soil, humidity, moisture, light, air temperature, levels of carbon dioxide, and solar energy among other things. Installed throughout the farm, these devices will allow the recording of a continuous stream of data — combining which allows to build crop models predicting of how the crop will grow in the given conditions, practice precision farming relying on sensor and satellite data, and build harvesting strategy.
The application of IoT in agriculture is crucial in reference to actuators. Smart sprinklers can be essential in ensuring that irrigation when automatically activated depending on the predetermined requirements. This could also be extended to actuators being connected to coolers and heater in the storage facilities, which could lead to reduced waste of agriculture produce. Farms could also bring in smart LED lights that could adjust to changing external factors to ensure that the greenhouse storage spaces are illuminated to the exact right amount to ensure that farms can produce at optimum levels. Smart technology would considerably help in reducing water consumptions and make agriculture more environmentally conscious.
Agriculture vehicles are a world onto themselves and often require the operator to have a specific level of competency to handle them effectively. With smart vehicles, this could change. Using artificial intelligence and data collected from the multitude of sensors in the farm, these vehicles will be equipped with computer vision, extreme precision GPS, and machine learning capabilities. Using these tools the vehicles will be capable of identifying the need of irrigation and pesticide treatment on the field, thus, reducing the chances of over-irrigation or excess use of pesticides.
Farm drones are another fleet of devices that are set to revolutionise farming. Drones in agriculture are increasingly designed to help farmers in multiple ways. Most of these drones are designed to have high capacity cameras that can help them to act as safety guards against rodents and pest attacks. The drones are also designed to take commands spray chemicals or water as and when needed following detection based on the data provided by other sensors. Companies have also developed smaller drones that would help in pollination. The falling population of bees and mass beehive collapses have forced agricultural engineers to find ways that can allow desired levels of pollination even with reducing number of bees. The evolving technology is now paving the way for robo-bees or miniature drones that will be able to assist in pollination.
There are few limitations that still hinder the complete implementation of IoT in agriculture. IoT at its core is diverse and employs a wide range of protocols and transmission methods. In addition a successful implementation of IoT would require connectivity across agricultural farms — that would include fields, storehouses, barns, greenhouses. The challenges increase because the space makes it extremely difficult to have an uninterrupted reliable connection. These connections will also have to be conditioned to ensure that they work in severe weather and open space.
Technologies such as drones, portable sensors, connected tracking grids, weather monitoring sensors would have to developed in a manner that can be of function while exhibiting the sense of sturdiness that is required to “work in the farm”.
The role of IoT in agriculture is very important, though the integration of smart technology in this area takes place in the context of a constantly changing environment and lack of time. Innovators designing and developing IoT for agriculture have to take into consideration rapid climate change and emerging weather extremes, work with limited land availability and unfavourable factors like dying pollinators. The technology that can change agriculture forever is already being discussed on drawing boards, bringing them into the real world as tangible products is what remains the challenge. Smart technologies and IoT can strengthen competitiveness and sustainability in production. With the ever-increasing global population, the demand for more food and nutrition is growing. Meeting those demands with the utmost efficiency is critical — thus, investing in agricultural IoT is a smart move.
About Fusion Informatics
The team at Fusion Informatics are determined to play a key role in the global society’s growth into a technologically advanced space where IoT plays a crucial role in our existence. IoT is a technology that still has a huge scope to develop, and Fusion Informatics meticulously assists their clients to find ways in which IoT can help them develop. It is essential for us that our clients can find new strength through IoT implication in their varied businesses.