IoT in Agriculture

Smart agriculture – using IoT, sensors, robots and AI to improve the quantity and quality of crops – is hailed as the solution to a growing population and unfavourable weather conditions brought about by climate change.

Taking the IoT element of smart agriculture, sensors will collect data including light, temperature, humidity, and soil quality, and pass this information back to the farmer, who can make informed choices about when to harvest. A more sophisticated set up will see this data transformed into automatic instructions to water crops, for example.

Many farms work outside of consistent cellular coverage, and so radio and satellite go hand in hand to record, transmit, and interpret data signals. That’s where Ground Control comes in.

Photo of a robot being used in farming

“New agricultural applications in smart farming and precision farming through IoT will enable the industry to increase operational efficiency, lower costs, reduce waste, and improve the quality of their yield.”

While satellite communication is highly reliable, secure, and fast, it’s not the cheapest means of collecting sensor data. The best compromise is to use the LoRaWAN protocol to collect sensor data at a very low cost, and send this to a satellite transceiver such as Iridium Certus or Inmarsat BGAN.

The transceiver, hosted in one of Ground Control’s robust, reliable devices, will aggregate multiple sensors’ data and send this back to the farmer or another machine. The input can be used to initiate a smart tractor to start its rounds, optimising its route and minimising soil erosion, or simply to prompt the farmer that it would be a good time to start the harvest.

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