The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) disruption to the traditional industries worldwide, including the agriculture industry, is not of a new thing. As one of the oldest industries throughout history, the global value of the connected agriculture market stood at USD 1.8 billion as of 2018. Its perpetual, sustainable growth will likely hit USD 4.3 billion by 2023 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.3%.
As the world’s population grows exponentially each year — recent statistics predict that the earth will be populated by as many as 9.6 billion humans by 2050 — the agriculture industry needs to always search for the fastest, most advance, and agile innovative ideas. In the late 20th century, mechanical innovations such as tractors and harvesters took place and brought into agriculture operations. Now, the extensive use of IoT in industries at various scales has also been a driving force to leveraging agricultural production by lowering the production cost. It helps the industry to overcome challenges such as extreme weather conditions, climatic changes, as well as environmental impact.
Soon, the use of IoT-based smart solutions will seek the peak in agriculture operations. The integration of IoT allows the agriculture industry to meet the demand for more food and to feed the earth massive population. Recent studies show a compound annual growth of the IoT device installation at the rate of 20% in the agriculture industry. Furthermore, the studies suggest that connected agricultural devices will reach 225 million by 2024, an immense growth from 13 million connected devices in 2014.
However, innovation runs in parallel with its unique challenges. IoT solutions provider, as well as the business owners, often faced implementation challenges in remote or less developed regions due to a lack of constant and reliable communication network infrastructure. Many network providers offer satellite connectivity and expending cellular networks as an effort to overcome the issue.
The modern agriculture industry has been utilizing sensor technology in their daily operations. The sensors do the record and log the data into their attached memory for the benefit of the user. However, the traditional approach of utilizing this technology means that the users are not able to get live data from the sensors.
Industrial IoT in Agriculture comes as an answer for the live data issue, by utilizing far more advanced sensors. It allows the users to have real-time data from the sensors as they are connected to the cloud via cellular/satellite network. This, in turn, provides efficiency in the decision-making process.
The advancement of IoT technology in agriculture operations helps farmers to monitor the water tank levels in real-time. It maximizes the use of sensors in every step of the farming process, such as the time frame and acquired resources for the seed to become a fully-grown vegetable. It helps farmers to plan and execute the irrigation process efficiently.
The great advantage of integrating the Internet of Things in agriculture has helped farmers to effectively increase yields and decrease their costs at the same time. Its accurate data allows farmers to have a smooth, efficient decision-making process. Many would argue that the Internet of Things in Agriculture presents to bring a second wave of the green revolution.
IoT in agriculture presents as the building block of the Smart Farming concept as a hi-tech and effective system in eliminating the need for physical work of farmers and growers. It strives to boost productivity in every possible way. As a way of implementing connected devices and innovative technologies, Smart Farming empowers farmers to perform best practices in their agriculture workflow and sustainably grown food.
The Internet of Things has become a revolutionized agriculture in recent days. It brings immense benefits to the recent agriculture trends like an efficient use of water, optimization of inputs, and many more.
IoT based Smart Farming enhances the entire agriculture system by providing real-time field monitoring, utilizing the sensors and interconnectivity. It provides crystal clear, real-time observation of various natural conditions such as humidity, temperature, soil, etc. It allows farmers to save time and avoid the excessive use of resources such as water and electricity.
Climate plays a very critical role in farming. Lack of knowledge and information about climate may lead to improper yield management of its quality and quantity. However, the IoT solution allows you to know the real-time weather conditions. The entire IoT ecosystem consists of sensors to accurately detect weather conditions such as humidity, rainfall, and temperature. Sensors are placed all around the fields to collect environmental data. You can always use the data to decide what and when to plant specific corps to sustain in a particular climate. Various types of sensors are available to detect different parameters and configurations to suit your Smart Farming needs. They monitor both the corps and the weather. When the weather is alarming, they will trigger the system to send you an alert instantly. This IoT solution eliminates the need for physical presence during an alarming climate. It will, in turn, boost yield productivity and help farmers to generate more agriculture benefits.
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Precision Agriculture/Precision Farming is one of the most popular uses of IoT in agriculture. Precision farming helps you to take intelligent and quick decisions by generating and analyzing data from the sensors. It enables precise and controlled farming practices by implementing smart farming applications such as livestock monitoring, vehicle tracking, field observation, and inventory monitoring. Precision farming aims to analyze the data from the sensors, allowing you to take appropriate actions. Precision farming helps you to analyze soil conditions and other related parameters, promotes operational efficiency. There are various precision farming techniques such as irrigation management, livestock management, vehicle tracking, and many more. You can also monitor the real-time status of the connected devices to detect water and nutrient levels. Each of them plays a vital role in improving efficiency and effectiveness.
Smart Greenhouse utilizes IoT weather stations to automatically adjust the climate conditions according to a particular set of instructions. The integration of IoT in greenhouses has eliminated human intervention, making the entire process cost-effective and improving accuracy at the same time. For example, the use of solar-powered IoT sensors builds modern and inexpensive greenhouses. These sensors collect and transmit real-time data, which allows you in precisely monitoring the greenhouse state at any time. You will also receive e-mails or SMS alerts from the sensors system to monitor the water consumption and greenhouse state. These sensors provide information on the pressure, humidity, temperature, and light levels. Furthermore, the IoT system can also help you to carry out automatic and smart irrigation in the greenhouse.
As the part of IoT ecosystem, sensors are the primary source to collect data on a large scale. The collected data support the developments in technological innovations which, in turn, helps you take better decisions. A conventional database system may not have enough capacity to store data from the IoT sensors. Hence, cloud-based data storage and an end-to-end IoT Platform plays an important role in the smart agriculture system. These systems promote better agricultural operations. IoT devices allow you to watch the real-time status of the farm by capturing the data from sensors. With the help of analytic tools, you can analyze and transform the data into meaningful information. The data analytics helps you to analyze weather, livestock, and crop conditions. Using predictive analytics, you can acquire insights to make better decisions related to harvesting. The trend analysis, on the other hand, helps allow you to learn the upcoming weather conditions and harvesting of crops. IoT in the Agriculture Industry provides great help to farmers to maintain the quality of crops and fertility of the land, which serves the increase in the volume and quality of the yields.
The introduction of agricultural drones has become a trending disruption as technological advancements lead to revolutionizing agricultural operations. The use of ground and aerial drones helps to assess crop health, crop monitoring, planting, crop spraying, and field analysis. Applying proper strategy and planning based on real-time data, drone technology contributes to the development and advancement of the agriculture industry. Drones with thermal or multispectral sensors identify the areas that require adjustments in irrigation. Once the crops start growing, sensors monitor their health and calculate their vegetation index.
Smart drones have decreased their environmental impact. The results show a massive reduction and much lower chemical reaching the groundwater.
IoT-enabled agriculture supports the development of modern technological answers to time tested knowledge. It reduces the gap between yields production, quality, and quantity. Data ingested by obtaining and importing information from the multiple sensors for real-time use or storage in a database guarantees swift action and maintain the quality of the crops. Seamless end-to-end intelligent operations and improved business process execution allow yields to get processed faster and reach supermarkets in the fastest time possible.
As in other industries, the application of the Internet of Things in agriculture supports efficiency, reduction of resources and cost, automation, and data-driven processes. In agriculture, however, these benefits don’t act as improvements, but rather the answers for the challenges in the industry, facing a range of critical issues.
Today’s agriculture is challenging. Farmers have to grow more products in decaying soil quality, declining land availability, and uncertain weather. IoT-enabled agriculture empowers farmers to monitor their products and shapes in real-time. They get instant insights, the ability to predict issues, and make informed decisions on how to avoid them. Furthermore, IoT technology in agriculture introduces automation, such as on-demand irrigation, fertilizing, and robot harvesting.
IoT-based greenhouses and hydroponic systems help to shorten food supply chains to efficiently supply fresh fruit and veggies. The challenge will be at the time we have 9 billion people on the planet, as 70% of them will live in urban areas. Smart closed-cycle agricultural systems support growing food everywhere—in supermarkets, on skyscrapers’ walls and rooftops, in shipping containers, and, of course, in everyone’s backyard.
Many agriculture IoT solutions focused on optimizing the use of resources—water, energy, land. IoT-based precision farming utilizes the data collected from diverse sensors in the field, which helps farmers accurately allocate adequate resources to each plant.
The same area of focus goes on the approach to pesticides and fertilizers. IoT-based precision farming allows farmers to save water and energy. It makes farming greener and reduces the use of pesticides and fertilizer. This approach allows a cleaner and more organic final product as opposed to traditional agricultural methods
One of the benefits of using IoT in agriculture is having agile processes. Thanks to real-time monitoring and prediction systems, farmers can quickly respond to any notable change in weather, humidity, air quality as well as the health of each crop or soil in the field. In alarming, extreme weather changes, new capabilities help agriculture professionals to save the crops.
Data-driven agriculture helps farmers to grow more and better crops. Using soil and crop sensors, aerial drone monitoring, and farm mapping, farmers acquire detailed insights on dependencies between the conditions and the quality of the crops. Using connected systems, farmers can then set the best conditions and improve the nutritional value of the yields.