• Internet of Things
  • Karina Popova
  • FEB 01, 2018

How IoT can provide greater value to the agriculture industry

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Real-time agricultural data contains knowledge about what the farming industry needs, how to make production more efficient and how to establish a better IoT market for the agriculture industry.

IoT provides a greater profit to farmers

Agriculture is usually called an industry that has much to win by securing the internet of things. We used to hear that it could be “the first big industrial IoT market.” Progress in technology provides farmers the capability to automatically handle actual information about the status of soil, water and crops. Though the potential of IoT to transform farming productivity, improve economic performance and increase yield is best achieved when linked to data analytics and machine learning.

Besides this, production costs rise — including prices of seeds, water, electricity and machinery. This is putting stress on agribusinesses to more efficiently employ resources and increase production.

Manual data gathering methods make it challenging to reach optimum levels of effectiveness, particularly given the geographic areas in the agriculture arena. Technology today is playing a more significant role in this. The sophistication of smart sensors, internet-enabled devices, software applications and cloud data storage facilities are providing enormous amounts and types of data to be captured, stored, manipulated and supplied into decision-support tools to control decisions.

Greater intelligence for agriculture industry

Proper data analysis will add meaningful value to agribusinesses. Greater intelligence can be extracted when data sets are merged with other data sets.

There are plenty of use cases that prove how combined data sets are providing greater value to farmers. For example, data collected from soil sensors and crop monitoring systems are being coupled with climate data, which is empowering farmers to make better decisions to boost crop yields. On several farms, sensors and monitoring systems are connected to automated watering systems to prepare ideal soil conditions, expedite healthy plant growth and maximize product turnover.

In addition, livestock monitoring systems can store real-time information regarding the geolocation of the sheep, as well as biometric data about activity, weight, blood, heart rate and other parameters that can assist with decisions about health, welfare and reproduction.

Limitations for IoT in agriculture

The number and types of challenges associated with smart farming ranges across various agricultural production systems, and infrastructural limitations apply when it comes to IoT implementation. Many areas have poor connectivity, with comparatively higher cost and slower speed than the services available in urban areas. Lack of access to mobile coverage can be a major obstacle to technology adoption, with many urging the government to justify available funding to secure equal access to infrastructure in rural areas. Most areas will have some kind of 3G or 4G connectivity, but in numerous cases, it’s rather poor.

The main question agriculture leaders have to ask themselves is “How can I get data when and where I need it?” Based on more advanced sensors appearing on the market, the top question is: “How can I use the sensors and data to expand sales and decision-making processes?”

IoT strategy in agriculture industry

It seems simple, but making the first step is tough. The first reasonable move is to follow the “think big, start small” strategy.

Hopefully, the internet of things will bring the industry where it has never been. It is essential to develop a deeper knowledge of IoT benefits and risks while testing agriculture ideas. Keep successes and learn from failures, and constantly search a little bigger — establishing powerful techniques for better research.

With precision agriculture as an industrial IoT market, the compensation for society can be tremendous.

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