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Smart Agriculture Harvests Greater Production Efficiency

Growing Population and Food Demands

The United Nations predicts that the world population will continue to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050. The surge in population has put tremendous pressure on the agricultural industry as it requires higher productivity to meet the needs of population growth. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that a 70% incremental food production is necessary to meet the projected population demands by 2050.

Despite many innovative and convenient tools that have been invented and adopted in the field, agriculture still relies heavily on human input and requires many manual interventions. But lack of workforce, especially under the huge supply-demand gap in manpower, severely restricts farmland output. In addition, fluctuating weather, drying lands, and deteriorating soil have made food production more difficult. To overcome these man-made or environmental difficulties and meet the growing demands for production, the adoption of new IoT-based smart agriculture applications is imperative to lower cost, improve efficiency, maximize production, and enhance the quality of the crops.

NB-IoT Applications in Modern Agriculture

Among different communication technologies that have been applied in the agricultural industry, NB-IoT (narrowband IoT), an LPWA (Low-Power Wide-Area) technology, has proven to be particularly suitable for smart agriculture practices. Not only because it builds a bridge between remote equipment in the vast field and the farmers’ smart devices, but also because of its extremely low costs that meet the requirements of agricultural production.

Monitoring from Anywhere

One of the most often seen smart agriculture applications of NB-IoT is agricultural connected sensors. This refers to a series of smart sensors that monitor essential environmental parameters including weather, light, temperature, soil moisture and nutrient levels. NB-IoT technology enables these sensors to send aggregate data from the remote field to the cloud for computing and analysis, and then output an organized and comprehensive report to farmer’s smartphones or tablets. The intelligence and convenience of NB-IoT technology allow farmers to monitor their crops on an hourly basis anywhere.

Precision Farming

By understanding the moisture, temperature and nutrient level, farmers can optimize their use of resources. In the scenario of farm irrigation, an NB-IoT-enabled irrigation system can intelligently water crops when soil moisture reaches a set level without manual intervention. The same measures can also be applied to light and temperature control on farmlands or in greenhouses as well. The smart irrigation system greatly improves efficiency and reduces labor costs, freeing farmers from burdening agricultural work. Besides, farmers can apply the most proper measure, with the most appropriate intensity to ensure the healthy growth of crops based on accurate data collected from the diverse sensors. Optimization of inputs and treatments also complies with the notion of sustainable farming. For example, by giving just the right amount of water to the crops, farmers can save money, avoid energy waste, and improve water efficiency while achieving desired outcomes. Precise use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides canremarkably lower the negative impact of chemicals on the environment.

Risk Management and Predictive Analysis

The significance of NB-IoT-enabled sensors also shows in its ability to offer farmers predictive insights before issues happen. In this way, farmers can effectively avoid loss by making informed decisions on how to avoid potential risks or prepare in advance when inevitable. Another major advantage of the connected sensors is its capability to collect and store valuable historical data for analysis and improvement purposes. Traditional methods are merely able to aggregate unstructured data for immediate responsive measures whereas database backed by IoT sensors canhelp farmers predict the most opportune planting and harvesting times to yield the highest output in the year.

Fibocom NB-IoT Module N510

Fibocom’s NB-IoT module N510 is designed to offer an affordable wireless data transmission solution for scenarios that require large-scale IoT deployment with massive end devices. Equipment embedded with N510 can survive up to 3-5 years without battery replacement. Such a feature would help users save time and operating costs. In the case of smart agriculture, N510 has its dominant advantages of ultra-small size, super-wide coverage, extremely low power consumption, and very low deployment cost, all of which are ideal for agricultural equipment. Farmers now can achieve desired outcomes with the least labor and capital investment by using revolutionary NB-IoT technology.

Fibocom’s NB-IoT module N510 supports the global frequency band and integrates multiple network protocols. It is available in LCC+LGA form factor and supports eDRX, PSM low power consumption mode, which is especially suitable for IoT industry applications with low power consumption and ultra-small size as core requirements. With global certification, Fibocom’s N510 module is able to meet different deployment requirements of customers from all over the world. At present, the N510 module has been widely used in fields such as smart agriculture, smart cities, smart grids, smart metering and etc.

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