What Is Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of everyday objects being connected to each other via the Internet. From smart thermostats to fitness trackers, these products are rapidly transforming our lives. As IoT devices consist of sensors or other electronic units capable of communicating through the Internet, they can provide real-time data and allow humans to monitor their surroundings in a much more efficient way. Taking it to the next level, some of these devices also include actuators – a machine component that converts energy into motion – that can control other systems. In short, IoT technologies enable us to sense our environment and automate processes with much ease.
According to research, the Internet of Things could generate up to US$11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025 across many different settings including factories, cities and retail environments. This high demand for IoT devices creates opportunities for companies and consumers to gain insights about their customers' behaviour, preferences, and habits.
The Rise of Smart Farming
Farming has changed dramatically over the years with emerging technologies pervading all aspects of our everyday lives at an astronomical pace. With the help of automated machinery such as planting drones to take the complexity out of manual daily tasks, farmers no longer need to spend hours each day tending to rows of crops or livestock.
Entering a fourth age of agriculture, technology has undoubtedly helped farmers become more productive and efficient in the last few decades. Smart Farming uses automation technologies such as drones, sensors, robotics, data analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence, and blockchain to improve productivity and increase yields. For instance, with IoT devices connected to the web, enabling access to data from every aspect of life, a farmer need not physically go out to check whether their crop is ready. Instead, they can simply refer to their IoT device for real-time information. Not only is smart farming changing agriculture by tremendously minimising human input, it also reduces labour costs, increases efficiency, improves soil quality, and helps prevent food wastage.
Applicability of IoT Solutions in Smart Farming
IoT technology fits into agriculture in various ways, seen in the emergence of smart devices that enhance farm yields to cater to the exponential growth of the world population. With the planet having to feed an additional 1.5 billion people in 2030, there is an increasing need for smart solutions to make farm operations more efficient and effortless.
That being said, Industrial IoT has already made significant strides towards increased agricultural production at a much lower cost. With the help of smart solutions based on IoT, farmers get to reap the benefits of adopting IoT twofold such as the improved efficiency of water usage, optimisation of inputs, and many more. Below are some of the ways IoT solutions are planting the seeds for a new age of agriculture:
1. Climate Conditions
Having proper knowledge about the climate helps farmers to produce maximum yield and prevent the deterioration of the quantity as well as quality of the crop production. IoT sensors are used across farms to gather real-time information about the weather and its impact upon the growth of plants. Placed strategically around the farm field to collect all relevant data, these sensors help farmers to make more well-informed decisions through detecting the agricultural field parameters and planning accordingly to suit their smart farming requirements.
Apart from sensing various things such as rainfall, humidity, and temperature to provide optimum information, the sensors can even help farmers to decide what type of crops they should plant and how much water needs to be provided to the soil to cultivate those crops. With these new IoT solutions, farmers also are not required to check on the status of crops in-person as they can remotely monitor their entire farm and get valuable insights without being physically present. Furthermore, IoT sensors help farmers to save money because they no longer need to spend money on hiring people to physically check on the crops.
2. Precision Farming
Precision farming is an application of IoT in agriculture where data collected by various types of sensors are analysed and processed before generating appropriate actions. As such, farmers can utilise these actions to improve crop production efficiently and effectively. Smart farming applications include livestock monitoring, vehicle tracking, and field observation among others.
With data collection methods like GPS, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, moisture metres, rainfall gauges, and wind speed meters, farmers can identify problems and troubleshoot them quickly to improve business operations and productivity. For example, they can check whether any part of the farm is wet or dry and decide if it needs immediate attention, or monitor the health of animals to avoid disease outbreaks.
Due to the recent advancements in technology, the number of IoT connected devices is increasing dramatically. As these devices collect useful data regarding the weather, soil conditions and others, more accurate predictions about future events can be made. The predictions are then sent to the farmer, empowering them to act immediately and accordingly upon receiving the alert. This not only saves cost, but also increases operational efficiency and productivity.
3. Smart Greenhouse
Using IoT, manufacturers of greenhouses can automate the process of controlling the environment by automatically adjusting the climate conditions according to a particular set of instructions. With IoT sensors installed at strategic locations within the smart greenhouse; changes in the surrounding atmosphere, such as air quality, moisture, and temperature can be easily detected. All these information streams are then processed by a central control unit that configures the appropriate environmental settings. By doing so, the overall efficiency of the smart greenhouse improves without requiring any additional manpower. For instance, the usage of automatic watering systems eliminates the need for humans to manually check and maintain sprinklers.
4. Data Analytics
Conventional databases do not have enough memory capacity to store the data collected through IoT sensors, whereas cloud computing-based data storage and an end-to-end IoT platform provides support to develop and implement an intelligent agricultural management system. Such technologies are estimated to play a crucial role so that better activities can be carried out as IoT sensors are the primary source for collecting real-time data on a massive scale. Data analytics help analyse the collected data and transform them into valuable information to understand the current situation of the farms and provide better insights.
Additionally, predictive trend analytics enable us to foresee upcoming weather conditions and harvest accordingly. IoT solutions in the agriculture industry have enabled farmers to manage their fields effectively, leading to higher yields. Data obtained from the multiple IoT sensors for real-time use or storage in a database also ensures that swift action can be taken to minimise any damage to the crops.
Choose PCI As Your Technology Partner
In conclusion, IoT-enabled agriculture has helped to implement modern technological solutions to long standing problems. As farmers ingest data from various IoT sensors to obtain pertinent information about their crops, they are empowered with the ability to take immediate action if something goes wrong, as well as store information about the crops so that they can make future decisions based on past experiences. Bridging the gap between production and quality yields as well as business processes executed by integrating IoT solutions can help farm produce to get processed faster and reach the marketplace in the quickest time possible.
If you are looking for a technology partner for all your IoT solutions, look no further. At PCI, we understand the importance of designing and developing IoT products that meet our clients' requirements. Furthermore, we have manufactured some of the best IoT devices across many industries. Producers who work with us to create high-quality IoT devices benefit from our comprehensive manufacturing and design experience, competitive team of engineers and designers, as well as state-of-the-art production factories. As experts in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry, we ensure that your IoT devices undergo strict design verification tests for security, functionality, and manufacturability. Speak to our team today to learn more about how we can help you develop the IoT device of your dreams.
As technology is continuing to revolutionise many industries, it is evident that innovations such as IoT have become an integral part of the agricultural industry and its solutions to ensure seamless, intelligent and end-to-end business operations. With farmers' growing reliance on IoT technology, it is imperative for businesses to work with a trusted and reliable technology partner that can cater to their every need. The successful implementation of your IoT solutions depends on the impeccable quality of your machine components as well as its operational effectiveness. That being said, choosing a dependable EMS provider like PCI today can help you to enhance your farm yield effortlessly and efficiently.