Smart Agriculture and the Internet of Things

The use of the phrase “Internet Of Things” is so broad and pervasive that it has seemingly taken on a life of it’s own, where IoT is the market and companies are jockeying for position to be the ones to sell their IoT products to other IoT players.

That being said, what about applying this technology in Agriculture? In my mind, there are three specific reasons that might make sense to employ technology such as IoT in Agriculture.

  1. Risk Mitigation: good examples of risk mitigation in agriculture include automated frost protection and irrigation systems. Frost is one of the largest drivers of economic damage to crops in North America, and drought, especially for young perennials is also a significant risk.
  1. Cost Reduction: cost reduction can happen in many ways. Not just by labor reduction thru automation, but specifically finding ways thru responsive automation to reduce both energy and water usage.
  1. Production Enhancement: by monitoring critical parameters and applying water and/or nutrients to avoid plant stress growers can increase product and improve the end product.

These are three fairly simple examples, and all three can be accomplished with closed loop automation systems with no connection to the Internet. Any or all of these could have easily been implemented in years past long before the advent of IoT or even the Internet itself. What IoT brings as value-add to each of these examples, is a general solution to improve operation efficiency and effectiveness for growers.

Some of the specific mechanisms that the ‘I’ in IoT brings to provide these gains, are adding abilities to automate the transportation of data, archiving of data, filtering of data, simple analysis of data, and delivery of critical events to operational managers.

I bring up these three examples, because at IAS these are the three most critical concerns of our customers. Paralleling the increased attention to all things IoT, we’ve also found that we gain the most by adding value to the ‘I’ portion of our product offering.