The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept of a network consisting of the interconnection between physical devices that have built-in sensors, as well as software that allows data transmission and storage. It includes disparate networks loosely interconnected, while each is deployed to solve specific important tasks.
For example, in modern cars, several networks work at once: one controls the operation of the engine, another – security systems, the third – supports communication, etc. Many networks are also installed in office and residential buildings to control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, telephone communication, security, and lighting. With the development of the Internet of Things, these and many other networks are connected to each other and acquire more and more opportunities in the field of security, analytics, and management.
As a result, the Internet of Things provides more opportunities to open new, broader perspectives for humanity. IoT is used in manufacturing, transportation, and utility organizations. In recent years, it has begun to be widely used in agriculture, leading some businesses to digital transformation. Read more about this below.
Internet of Things and Agriculture
Food production and agriculture must become more productive today and able to produce higher yields. This is because of the growth of the world population. According to UN forecasts, by 2050, it will be necessary to produce 70% more food than now in order to meet the needs of the growing population of the Earth.
This means a regular and constantly growing demand for agricultural products, as well as the emergence of a variety of new challenges and fundamentally new requirements for the productivity level in general. To meet this demand, farmers will have to expand the boundaries of their practices and apply innovative solutions offered by euristiq.com.
According to forecasts, the Internet of Things will have a positive impact on the future of agriculture and will contribute to the development of so-called smart farming. Smart farming involves the use of digital technologies to optimize agricultural work. It allows farmers to increase the efficiency of the use of resources (electricity, water, etc.), carry out remote control of fields, minimize waste, etc.
Connected Farming System
Connected agriculture is effective management, control, analysis, and monitoring technology for use at different stages of the agricultural cycle: pre-production, production, and post-production. It is based on the exchange of data between various devices, ranging from farmers` smartphones to sensors located in the field. To effectively practice connected farming, it makes sense to use IoT ecosystems in the office, in the cloud, in the field, and in farm equipment. This will provide a complete overview of the entire agricultural cycle.
Connected agriculture is directly related to IoT, aimed at the rapid collection of data using devices with sensors. Modern devices can detect the level of nitrogen in the soil to make decisions about the need to add fertilizers to the soil. They also determine the level of soil moisture, which allows farmers to decide on the need for watering, etc.
Possibilities of Using IoT in Connected Farming
Smart agriculture aims to automate agricultural activities as much as possible and increase yields and product quality. Here is an example of several applications of the Internet of Things in connected farming:
- Precision agriculture. This is a wide range of technologies (GPS, sensors, drones) from sowing planning and soil preparation, condition monitoring and sowing management, control of moisture levels, soil mineralization, and temperature conditions to harvesting the crop itself. Precision agriculture is designed to optimize operating costs and increase yields (by 15–20% on average), which are achieved by:
- reducing the number of seeds, agrochemicals, fertilizers, and water used;
- more efficient use of land;
- Smart greenhouses. When using smart greenhouses (sensors, devices, and software for remote control of greenhouses), operational savings are achieved through more efficient use of fertilizers, chemicals, and water. The technology also makes it possible to optimize the number of personnel needed to care for crops and reduce losses due to the human factor;
- Smart farms improve animal performance and product quality. According to market experts, automated systems for fattening, milking, and monitoring the health of livestock can increase milk yield by 30-40%;
- Vehicle monitoring using GPS and sensors allows, first of all, to reduce fuel consumption, as well as optimize routes and workload of personnel;
- Raw material management is designed to reduce losses (up to 25%) due to suboptimal storage conditions for agricultural products. Specially defined algorithms monitor the state of products in real-time (in particular, the temperature regime of storage facilities, humidity levels, and carbon dioxide content) and help to make a decision on the need for sale or further processing.
Main Phases of Connected Farming
There are several important phases of connected farming:
- Data collection. This stage involves the collection of data by sensor devices that are installed on vehicles, drones, and in the fields. Drones are widely used as they can take high-quality images to collect information about the state of the soil and crops, map fields, and manage them effectively;
- Data transfer. This stage involves sending the data collected by IoT devices to a special platform, application, or cloud for subsequent storage and processing. Connectivity is one of the most important in connected agriculture. Methods of transfer typically range from mobile networks and Wi-Fi to satellites;
- Data storage. Data must be stored securely. This will ensure their problem-free analysis. There are many options for storing data (public, private servers, etc.), but cloud storage has received the most widespread use today;
- Data processing. At this stage, the collected data is processed. Machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms are used to obtain actionable information. The data obtained helps farmers to make effective agricultural decisions in crop management and so on.
Therefore, the Internet of Things solves many problems in the field of agriculture. Thanks to the emergence of new, affordable, and reliable communication channels, as well as the development of electronics, agriculture around the world is experiencing a real revolution. New technologies are being introduced everywhere, and an increasing number of processes are being automated.