IoT & Smart Sensors: The Future of Agricultural Systems Monitoring
The agriculture sector, along with technological innovation, has become increasingly pivotal to our society’s ability to grow and thrive. With population growth forecasted to hit an estimated 9.7 billion by 2050, global demand for agricultural production will increase nearly 69% over the next few decades. As a result, agricultural companies are beginning to leverage smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to bridge demand gaps, increase production capabilities and generate valuable analytics.
Farming has relied on technological advancements for centuries. From the Industrial Revolution’s cotton gin to gas-powered tractors in the 1800s to the use of satellites in the late 1900s. Today, the future of farming and agricultural systems monitoring is being pioneered by a variety of IoT devices and platforms.
According to ScienceDirect, “Smart agriculture technology based on the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has many advantages related to all agricultural processes and practices in real-time, which include irrigation and plant protection, improving product quality, fertilization process control, and disease prediction, etc.”
Here’s a look at how IoT is being leveraged in agriculture to help address current and future challenges relating to population growth and food shortages.
Smart Sensors & High Tech Farming
Companies and farmers in the agricultural space are already utilizing cutting-edge technology to enhance the efficacy of their daily workflow and responsibilities. For instance, smart sensors are being employed in fields, placed strategically around the area to map the topography and deliver valuable data like soil temperature and acidity in real-time.
Smart sensors can address a myriad of challenges relating to crop production through their ability to monitor the characteristics of soil. The same logic applies to their capacity to monitor and assess climate-related factors, supplying users with predictive analytics to forecast future weather patterns. Because the Internet of Things fosters connectivity, drones, ground sensors, robots and similar smart devices can be linked together, accessed remotely and operated automatically.
Speaking to the topic, Business Insider shares, “John Deere (one of the biggest names in farming equipment) has begun connecting its tractors to the Internet and has created a method to display data about farmers’ crop yields. Similar to smart cars, the company is pioneering self-driving tractors, which would free up farmers to perform other tasks and further increase efficiency.”
Workers and executives can use their smartphones from anywhere to remotely monitor and retrieve crucial data regarding crops, equipment health, livestock and more. This technology allows companies to utilize analytics and statistical predictions to preserve resources, elevate production output and reduce costs.
Research from the Food and Agriculture Organization reports an estimated 20%–40% of crops are lost annually due to a lack of effective monitoring, which leads to the appearance of diseases and pests. The idea behind smart sensors and precision agriculture is to improve monitoring capabilities and spatial management. By doing so, companies will be able to curb the misuse of pesticides and fertilizers, while capturing vital data surrounding crop fertility and weather factors. The end goal is to optimize conditions fundamental to crop growth and long-term sustainability.
Leveraging Smart Technology for Greenhouses
In volatile climates or areas not conducive to crop growth, IoT and smart sensors can be used in greenhouses to manufacture controlled environments ideal for production. This technology has the power to produce self-regulating microclimates free from predatory pests and animals as well as inclement weather.
Growers will be able to maximize efficiency using data procured from these innovative monitoring systems. From big data to real-time insights, smart technology in the greenhouse setting can provide invaluable intel on temperature regulation, crop spraying, lighting, humidity, irrigation and a slew of other factors.
IoT Is Paving the Future of Agricultural Monitoring
According to Business Insider, “Insider Intelligence projects there to be nearly 12 million agricultural sensors installed globally by 2023. Additionally, tech giant IBM estimates that the average farm can generate half a million data points per day – helping farmers to improve yields and increase profits.”
With the myriad of applications and irrefutable benefits that IoT offers the agriculture space, it’s no surprise that smart sensors, drones and similar technologies are being adopted at a rapid rate. And this is just the beginning. As technology continues to evolve, the future of agricultural systems monitoring will become even more advanced, allowing companies to gather and evaluate a wide spectrum of data points to drive efficiency, streamline operations and reduce overhead costs.
To learn more about how the experts at Concannon XR can help your business implement game-changing technology to maximize efficiency and profitability, contact us today.