Agriculture 4.0 & Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things has changed the way of operating different processes. The wireless connectivity of various sensors with IoT platforms and data analytics tools makes things easy to automate. We can control and monitor all business activity through SaaS platforms displayed on a simple mobile app.
The emergence of IoT is also linked to the development of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) long-range connectivity networks. These telecommunications technologies have been developed to meet the specific needs of the internet of things, such as Sigfox and LoRa:
Limited network capacities but compatible with most of IoT use cases: These technologies have been designed to meet most outdoor, in-transit and indoor connectivity needs.
Cost reduction: They use an unlicensed spectrum, cost-free frequency band.
Low power consumption: technologies developed to allow small objects to communicate for years without a power supply.
However, agriculture is the sector that must benefit from this digital transformation for sustainable development, improved nutrition, and food security, and there are many different ways by which the internet of things can help agriculture.
Saving resources is an essential factor of intelligent agriculture. Several resources are crucial to human survival, like:
Things like irrigation, pest control, soil or water quality monitoring can be automated with an end-to-end IoT solution. That way, all elements involved in the agricultural cycle could be optimized as long as all parameters under control with real-time data generated from sensors implanted in the field.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (known as FAO), farmers will have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to meet the world's population's exponential growth and face the scarcity of natural resources and environmental constraints. Under these conditions, farmers have to increase their production while keeping high-quality products and converge on new working methods, such as using the latest technologies like analyzing crops using connected sensors.
Whether it's cereal, apricots or rapeseed, there is a time when farmers have to make the decision that comes after months of hard work and harvest. However, depending on the temperature, sunshine or land quality, the right time is not easy to define. Connected objects are an effective solution to choose the ideal moment. By analyzing all the factors in an automated way through data science tools, farmers can make the right decisions at the right time and thus obtain better returns with the use of resource and waste management.
Agriculture is also animal husbandry. Here again, connected objects provide support, particularly animal traceability, whether simple animal positioning or identification systems. Thus, farmers no longer reading the labels on the ears of animals. A simple sensor automatically transmits the animal's data, including stress level, temperature and more. Instead of visiting their farms several times a day, farmers are notified by SMS of the minor anomaly and can follow their herds in real-time directly on their smartphone.
When it comes to population growth, resources scarcity or climate change, our agriculture must respond to numerous new challenges. The Internet of Things provides many solutions that allow agriculture to push its limits without destroying the planet.