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IoT in Food Production

IoT in Food Production

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How IoT can help in food production…

The internet of things could be key to the farming industry meeting the challenge of increasing food production by 70% by 2050, says report. Despite great investor interest in agriculture technology, it’s a little known fact that farming has been, and continues to be, among the most fertile laboratories for Internet of Things (IoT) innovation and large-scale adoption.

The global food challenge necessitates that farmers find better methods of feeding a population that’s expected to grow by 2 billion before 2050. Doing so with IoT makes business sense: it improves operational efficiency, drives productivity, creates new revenue sources and, ultimately, makes sustainability synonymous with profit.

 

 

By 2050                                  <8000 years of                               70%

9+ billion                                 combined food                             will be from

Production                        technology

The agricultural sector(right now in developed countries like America, France, soon approaching Asia ) is embracing the Internet of Things in order to face the challenges raised by an increasing worldwide population and the impact of climate change. The agricultural operations are changing through the Internet of Things and the related smart and connected farms concepts. Moreover, it can assist in providing a geographic analysis of the phenomenon in public policies, adoption drivers and barriers, and opportunities for the M2M/IoT community.

A case study shows how IoT is contributing to agriculture efficiently:

The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (U.S.A.) has already pushed the envelope more than most agencies.  Several years ago, NASS rolled out iPads to its 3,500 field enumerators – staff who visit farms around the country to collect information on crop yields, soil conditions and a variety of other data.

The deployment of iPads not only speeded the processing of data, according to Michael Valivullah, chief technology officer at the NASS, it also resulted in savings of $3 million to $5 million in printing and mailing costs.

At the same time, the deployment presented challenges. To secure the data, Valivullah’s team configured the iPads so that the collected data was transmitted immediately to the agency’s servers rather than stored on the local device. And if there was no Wi-Fi – as is common in the rural areas to which NASS enumerators are sent – the data is cached and automatically sent as soon as connectivity is restored.

While NASS’s mobile deployment has already garnered strong returns, Valivullah said he’s aiming much higher. “My main interest is to use the Internet of Things in mission-to-mission communications,” he said.

Much of the information NASS staff collects – how much land was sown with what seeds, how much water was used, how much was harvested, etc. – is automatically being collected by sensors carried by combine harvesters.  “With the Internet of Things, we would be able to get the data from these onboard systems,” said Valivullah.

Merge that data with satellite data already being collected by the government, and the department, Valivullah said, will be able to make unprecedented contributions to precision agriculture. “By applying precision agriculture and big data we can increase productivity by another 10 percent to 30 percent and make farmers more profitable,” he said.

 

 

Let’s see how IoT can behoove us in generating food.

 

Productivity

The field of precision agriculture, a practice that uses analytics to optimize farming decisions, is a gold mine of opportunities for IoT innovation. Today, it’s more critical than ever to maximize yields from every acre of land dedicated to food production.

Wireless, cloud-connected systems aid in this crop yield maximization, automating everyday agriculture operations and providing real-time monitoring and data analysis for smart decision making, day-to-day and season-to-season. Connected equipment from companies like Topcon Precision Agriculture leverage GPS, monitoring and electronic controls to help farmers continually analyze and improve performance.

 

 

Pest Control

As the organic movement gains popularity, the food and agriculture industries have taken increasing interest in finding effective and relatively inexpensive alternatives to pesticides.

Pheromones are particularly useful when they are paired with the power of IoT. Wireless sensor networks like that of Semios monitor pest counts, and when it detects that the pest population is too high, its metered pheromone delivery system automatically activates and disrupts the mating patterns of pests. This minimizes, and in some cases completely replaces, pesticide use.

 

Conservation

Farming in the face of water shortage has historically been a challenge, demanding extensive technical knowledge and mastery of complex data collection and irrigation systems. For effective drought response, farmers require precise, real-time information to help minimize waste, prevent over- and under-watering and proactively manage water costs.

Enter enterprise-grade IoT software. With embedded wireless devices and soil monitoring systems like that of Smart Watering Systems and Observant, farmers can measure moisture, detect leaks and more efficiently manage energy usage, all in real-time.

 

Continual Value

For agriculture solution providers, the greatest challenge — and opportunity — is offering service beyond product. Fundamentally, farmers care about results. Agriculture technology needs to deliver new, incremental value throughout the product lifecycle, akin to the subscription-based software industry’s task of continually adding features and functionality after releasing a title.

Farmers can track their machines and analyze actionable data in real-time. Responses to that analysis are automated to optimize crop yield, ultimately boosting productivity from season to season. Insight and automation like this enable farmers to program exactly what and where each piece of equipment will plant, fertilize, spray and harvest for an area as small as one by three meters.

It is important to note these solutions are already being implemented on a large, global scale in America and Europe. Soon, it will cultivate the lands of Asia pacific as well.

The agriculture industry is proof that soon, every company will be an IoT business, no matter their size or industry. The benefits of converging the digital and physical worlds are too valuable to ignore. In the not-so-distant future, constant connection between people, companies and products, in real-time, will be the norm.

 

 

 

 

     
     
     

 

 

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vivek@encypher.in

i am a technology lover. i am b.tech fourth year student . i also serve as the chairperson for the IEEE NIEC student branch chapter.

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