At Link Labs, we work with a number of companies to help enable their IoT (Internet of Things) ideas. And as a result, we hear about new ideas and solutions that are already solving business challenges with M2M (Machine to Machine) communication. In one of our recent posts, we discussed some of our favorite industrial IoT applications. And today, we want to highlight some of the most compelling IoT applications in another industry—agriculture.
Agriculture IoT is becoming one of the fastest growing fields (pun intended) within the IoT. Today, more than ever, farmers have to more effectively utilize and conserve their resources. That’s where the need for data comes in, and M2M communication has made the ongoing collection of that info easy. Check out these five wireless sensors in agriculture and farming that are making it possible to obtain the meaningful data they’ve been missing out on.
Top 5 IoT Agriculture & M2M Applications
1. THE PHENONET PROJECT BY OPENIOT
With the Phenonet Project, plant breeders can evaluate the performance of different wheat varieties using measurements taken from remote sensors. These sensors monitor things like soil temperature, humidity, and air temperature, and are often used for crop variety trials. This allows farmers to forecast harvest time, improve plant health, plan irrigation time, and determine frost and heat events. By combining these measurements, plant scientists will be able to look at the effects of microclimate and genome, improving the accuracy and speed of plant breeding, leading to better food quality and increased production.
2. TEMPUTECH’S WIRELESS SENSOR MONITORING
TempuTech wanted to bring better safety to their systems for agricultural storage. Silos and grain elevators can be dangerous places with conveyor belts that can catch fire and dust buildup that can be explosive, so using sensors to track hazards is of massive value. But, using GE’s Equipment Insight, TempuTech created a way to connect all of these wireless sensors and help farmers make sense of the data. Using Equipment Insight’s platform, manufacturers can establish baseline performance norms and then set alert and alarm conditions related to temperature, vibration, humidity, and other conditions.
3. CLAAS EQUIPMENT
CLAAS is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agricultural engineering equipment. Farmers can operate CLAAS equipment on autopilot, receive advice on how to improve crop flow and minimize grain losses, or automatically optimize equipment performance. The company is partnering with 365FarmNet, a program that enables farmers to manage their entire agricultural holding on a computer or mobile device. It collects data and makes meaningful use of it through field mapping, fertilization planning, nutrient balance, and calendar and planning programs.
4. CLEANGROW’S CARBON NANOTUBE PROBE
CleanGrow, based in Ireland, has developed a carbon nanotube-based sensor for monitoring the level of nutrients in crops, which can allow farmers to alter the color or maturity rate of produce. Conventional nutrient probes are analog devices that capture a composite picture of the current environmental conditions. In CleanGrow’s device, a nanotube sensor tuned to a specific ion—nitrate, sodium, etc.—sits on one side of a membrane. As water passes through the membrane, the sensor detects the presence and quantity of the target ion. Up to 18 different sensors tuned to different ions can be placed on a probe head.
5. PRECISIONHAWK’S UAV SENSOR PLATFORM
PrecisionHawk has created an autonomous UAV that collects high quality data through a series of sensors that perform civil applications such as surveying, mapping, and imaging of agricultural land. It’s basically a small airplane that performs in-flight observations and monitoring. Before tossing the plane into the air, farmers tell it what field to survey and choose a ground resolution or altitude. Each plane can detect weather conditions in the air using artificial intelligence, so it chooses the best flight path to take based on things like wind speed or air pressure. During the flight, the plane will collect visual, thermal, and multispectral imagery at resolutions up to one cm/pixel. When it’s finished, the plane will land in the same place it took off and will have useable data. Now that’s a cool and useful Internet of Things farming tool.
So, has a seed been planted?
I bet if you asked a farmer 100 years ago how agriculture would change, he’d never consider it would happen by machines talking to each other. He’d most likely babble on about climate conditions. But with these M2M applications, an entire new field known as IoT agriculture has been able to produce greater savings and yields for farmers.
If you have ideas for how M2M communication could improve your agricultural output (or other outputs, too), let’s talk. We’ve done all the hard work building the hardware and software to power your wireless M2M communication needs.