IoT Time Preview: Agriculture Chapter


IoT Evolution, the leading media brand for the Internet of Things (IoT), has published a book outlining more than 150 of the leading trends in the IoT industry, entitled “IoT Time: Evolving Trends in the Internet of Things.” The book, written by IoT Evolution Editorial Director, Ken Briodagh, seeks to explore the factors that have shaped the recent past of the developing industry and use those to predict the trends that will drive the next period of growth. Each of the trends is explicated and illustrated with a case study or product review that supports each position.

In this weekly series, we’ll be previewing chapters for you to read in the hopes that you’ll like enough to read the whole thing. To do just that, for free, click here. Alternatively, there’s a paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99.

Chapter 14: Agriculture
Trend: IoT lead to farming profits
IoT Tested, Farmer Approved

In a recent column, Bill Brehm of James Brehm and Associates, wrote about how farmers can make their farms more lucrative through IoT. Use cases are cropping up constantly, he said.  Technology advances in agriculture are becoming critical to success, and more and more farmers are using the solutions that have been developed to help farmers feed the world. Brehm wrote that he’s contemplated ways to check to see if someone left a barn door open in a storm, if the gate at the pasture is open or closed, and whether the electric fence battery still has enough charge to keep the cows in the field.

Manufacturers like MultiTech have deployed products ready to use today. From livestock producers to heavy equipment manufacturers to irrigation systems suppliers, these manufacturers have very rugged solutions available to help with a wide variety of deployments. In addition to ruggedized hardware, these products work in collaboration with connectivity service providers, ensuring a complete solution. With outdoor base stations for LoRa WAN to devices created for 2G, 3G, and 4G-LTE modems on top of top-notch hardware, these companies have created several ways for farmers to be more successful as they to prepare to feed the world for the next 100 years.

Trend: Connected equipment

John Deere and Telogis to Enable Connected Farming on Verizon Network

Telogis, a Verizon company, has partnered with John Deere to help companies harvest tasty data and insights from connected John Deere equipment, with the goal of filling bellies with cost savings, efficiency and productivity. Through this alliance, Telogis and John Deere are enabling existing and future mutual customers to leverage built-in connectivity on John Deere products. Customers will benefit from access to a richer data set that will help to eliminate manual data entry and generate deeper insights into customers’ operations.

“Equipment – not just vehicles – represent an enormous investment for mobile businesses, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that equipment is running safely, and that it’s out there earning money and delivering value and ROI every day,” said Jeff Cohen, VP, Asset and Security Solutions, Telogis, A Verizon Company. “By understanding how the equipment is being used, how many hours it’s running and where there are opportunities to maximize uptime and utilization, customers can identify opportunities to drive cost and time savings, plus productivity and efficiency in every aspect of their mobile businesses.”

Customers will be able to order parts and services or contact local John Deere dealers for questions, appointments and equipment troubleshooting, while using the Telogis Mobile Resource Management (MRM) software platform for more efficient jobsite use alerts and reporting on engine hours, equipment use efficiency, fuel consumption and details on diagnostic codes.

“Telogis’ successful track record working with both off highway and on highway customers gave us great confidence that this is the right strategic relationship to bring these mission-critical technologies and services to our customers,” said Jena Holtberg-Benge, Director, Worksight Solutions, John Deere. “By working in tandem with Telogis, we’re giving businesses the ability to run their entire mobile equipment business on one comprehensive software platform with one login for all their vehicles and equipment – whether it’s John Deere or a mixed fleet.”

Trend: Food safety

MultiTech and WaterBit Use IoT to Manage Agricultural Data

The agricultural industry has a lot to gain from IoT tracking and sensor systems, not just for insurance and crop monitoring purposes, but also to maintain food quality and help prevent food borne illnesses. This will become ever more important as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) takes full effect over the next few years. MultiTech Systems, a manufacturer of M2M and IoT devices, has announced a field trial with WaterBit, an agricultural services provider based in Sunnyvale, California, of a system using IoT gateways, LoRa technology, LoRaWAN modules and WaterBit sensors to access valuable data from numerous endpoints throughout dense field sites without dependence on cellular coverage.

“Our field trial with WaterBit demonstrates the power of combining sensor and LoRa technologies to capture vital, hard to reach information,” said Michael Finegan, Director of Business, IoT Development, MultiTech. “The Internet of Things enables these various processes to help increase production and optimize efficiencies. Farming industry needs can now be easily monitored through this revolutionary ‘smart farming’ scenario.”

The MultiTech MultiConnect Conduit gateway has the ability to manage thousands of low-cost LoRaWAN ready modules able to connect sensors or appliances and transmit the data over any cellular network to a customer's preferred data management platform. WaterBit is using the Conduit to connect multiple remote modules with its sensors for temperature, humidity, and moisture and will monitor the data via its cloud system.

“It is only natural that some of the world’s best places to grow crops are also the least likely to have complete cellular coverage. Still, the Internet of Things holds a great deal of promise for agriculture. WaterBit conducted a robust study of products and the only solution that worked was the MultiTech LoRa gateway,” said Leif Chastaine, COO, WaterBit. “We required compatibility with Semtech LoRaWAN, and the ARM mbed Platform. We are thrilled to have this implementation up and running.”

Key to the field trial is the ability to test LoRa and confirm its performance characteristic in challenging crop conditions in multiple locations in California during the winter. The dense foliage of citrus trees, rain, and variations in terrain will challenge test radios.

Trend: Data for farming

Wireless Solar Tag Improves Precision Agriculture and Smart Irrigation

Sol Chip, a provider of IoT systems and energy harvesting solutions, recently released its Sol Chip Comm (SCC) autonomous, wireless, solar tag for enabling precision agriculture and smart irrigation. The device is a compact, maintenance-free, solar-powered, wireless tag that powers, controls and wirelessly connects a wide variety of sensors to the cloud. In precision agriculture and smart irrigation applications, SCC feeds real-time data readings from up to hundreds of agriculture-related sensors, including those that monitor soil moisture, soil temperature, ambient temperature, air temperature, nutrients levels and more, into a precision agriculture application server. This essential data is analyzed by a precision agriculture application in order to make data-driven adjustments for optimizing water and fertilization consumption and improving crop yields.

“Precision agriculture is definitely the future of agriculture,” said Avi Schweitzer, CTO, Netafim, a smart drip and micro-irrigation solutions provider. “Sol Chip has the right approach that will turn the promises of precision agriculture and smart irrigation into reality.”

SCC is solar-powered and designed to operate continuously for more than 10 years with no maintenance requirements, removing the need to constantly replace and discard batteries. As a wireless device, it eliminates costs and time associated with deploying and maintaining wires to connect the deployed sensors. In addition, the low cost of SCC makes the deployment of wireless sensors for agriculture purposes to be financially accessible.

“With our LightBattery technology, Sol Chip is uniquely positioned to realize our vision of enabling billions of autonomous IoT devices for many different market sectors in a way that is cost-effective and environmentally sustainable,” said Dr. Shani Keysar, founder and CEO, Sol Chip. “Our new SCC device clearly demonstrates these qualities for precision agriculture and smart irrigation and we are working on more applications for additional market sectors.”

Sol Chip is currently offering an evaluation kit for precision agriculture and smart irrigation, which includes two SCC solar tags, two sensors, a wireless gateway, all the necessary accessories, access to third party Web servers and support. The components of the evaluation kit are pre-integrated, enabling the evaluation kit to be rapidly deployed for testing in an open field or greenhouse.

Trend: IoT from factory to farm

John Deere to Field Factory Upgrade with Telit

John Deere, the greenest of all tractor and outdoor equipment companies, has selected Telit, an IoT implementation company, to implement its deviceWISE Industrial IoT (IIoT) Platform in the company’s factory operations. The platform will help John Deere collect and analyze real-time assembly information with the goal of improving line efficiency, preventing unplanned downtime, and streamlining the supply chain.

“We are honored to be selected by John Deere to provide a solution that enables complete, real-time visibility into their manufacturing assets,“ said Fred Yentz, CEO, Telit IoT Platforms. “Just three months ago, we expanded our IoT Services business with the formation of the Telit IoT Factory Solutions unit and we are delighted to add John Deere to our growing list of customers.”

deviceWISE is an enterprise-grade industrial automation platform designed to connect complex, disparate operation and production equipment from different suppliers with all of the disparate protocols and interfaces within enterprise systems and applications, using limited to no custom programming. The scalable architecture leverages a library of built-in standardized device drivers and enterprise connectors for bi-directional communication to enterprise systems.

Manufacturers can use the IIoT platform to connect to third-party applications and suppliers to accelerate time to revenue and ensure regulatory compliance. The secret to successful factory and industrial operations for the next five years will be efficiency and minimizing downtime. This is where IIoT technology will return its investment for companies all along the supply chain. These savings will lead to greater margins for enterprises, lower costs to end users and a more streamlined manufacturing and industrial infrastructure across all verticals. The real hard impact will be felt in extremely narrow margin end-user enterprises like farming, where John Deere’s customers need tried-and-true methods of finding profits in an ever-more competitive landscape, with rising costs quickly outpacing increased revenues.

In this weekly series, we’ll be previewing chapters for you to read in the hopes that you’ll like enough to read the whole thing. To do just that, for free, click here. Alternatively, there’s a paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Editorial Director

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