Many of you might be aware of the term ‘IoT’ which stands for “Internet of Things”. Let me give you a gist of the term IoT before we proceed ahead with this article.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the use of intelligently connected devices and systems to leverage data gathered by embedded sensors and actuators in machines and other physical objects. The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention. It is a very complex platform for connection of things based on objects being tagged for their identification but also sensors, actuating elements and other technologies. To understand better, consider an example of smart bulb where you can control the bulb using your smartphone via the internet. To sum up, remote controlling of things (in this case the bulb) using internet.
So without further ado, let me present to you an article about the use of IoT sensors in Agriculture. This article has been penned down by Adam Drobot, who is an IEEE Senior member and Chair of the IEEE Internet of Things Activities Board. Let’s begin!
“There’s a common misconception that farms are simple places. While that’s never particularly been the case, modern agriculture is impressively complex and technologically sophisticated, and is becoming more so with the introduction of a wide array of sensors.
The sensors we have today (whether video, hyperspectral or infrared) allow us to understand many of the conditions of plants in the field. The sensors can be based on different platforms, from satellites and high altitude aircraft to smaller drones that are flown and controlled locally, to permanent sensors mounted on structures that overlook the field. The data from these sensors is used to understand the spatially-resolved field conditions and how the crop is progressing. Interpreting sensor data and the spatial distribution can be used to determine how the field should be managed to achieve the best yields, and where and when to harvest the crops. In terms of plants, Miniaturized integrated sensors that are low-cost and can be placed on individual plants is one direction we could see. It all depends on how the cost can be reduced enough to match the economics of farming.
Also, if we talk of the key technological advancements that would allow for the creation of cheap, miniature sensors, we need to mention the use of basic components from consumer electronics where large markets drive economies of scale. The best examples are cheap cameras that now cost a few dollars because of smartphone production volumes, accelerometers from MEMS technologies, and other developments that come from system-on-a-chip (SOC) design and manufacturing techniques. Satellites also play a huge role in assessing the condition of plants. Firstly, an increasing number of satellites use high resolution sensors – both optical and hyperspectral – to improve techniques for interpreting sounding data. There are also many more low Earth orbit (LOE) satellites, whose arrays provide much better coverage, both geographically and in field re-visit rates. The second role is as communications relays for ground sensors in sparsely-populated and under-resourced areas.
Drones also have great potential – they’re just getting started. Because they can get right to where the action is, drones can be used to fly instruments that would not fit or work on satellites. An example is acoustic sensors used to identify pests and animals, data that’s not possible to gather from satellites. A drone can also pick up a soil or plant sample that a satellite cannot.”
Hope you all enjoyed this wonderful article!