The agriculture community is turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) to capture actionable analytics and enhance production capabilities as demands across the market continue to surge. Agriculture is forecast to be one of the top five markets for IoT growth, and there’s a strong case for long-range, low-power solutions based on Semtech’s LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® protocol). In fact, the benefits of this technology can already be seen in Australia. LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol’s long-range, low-power wireless qualities enable the use of low-cost sensors to send data from the farm to the Cloud where it can be analyzed to improve operations.
The implementation of new technologies on the farm has led to increased competition in the agriculture industry. From GPS-driven automated tractors to double planting crops to increase yield, farmers are constantly on the lookout for the next innovation in agriculture technology. The future of farming is one of real-time data monitoring, in-field sensing equipment and long-term data analysis.
Australian carrier National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) and agriculture company Goanna Ag have deployed a LoRaWAN-based network to enable LoRa-based IoT solutions for smart agriculture applications. By leveraging LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol, NNNCo is able to deploy a publicly available network based on the LoRaWAN protocol. The network has been rolled out with the goal of bringing smarter irrigation management solutions to Australian cotton growers. With this technology, farms utilize low-cost Cloud-connected sensors and data analytics, combining soil moisture data via installed probes, local weather data and satellite imagery to optimize irrigation scheduling.
During the 2018 cotton season, NNNCo and Goanna Ag deployed their first 100 gateways in New South Wales and Queensland, along with over 2,000 sensors across Australian cotton farms. The LoRa-based sensors include soil moisture probes, rain gauges, weather stations and water and fuel tank monitors. This nationwide network and end-to-end platform set up by NNNCo enables solutions for agriculture, cities, utilities, buildings and logistics.
The network and technology NNNCo is using drives down the connectivity cost for data communication and the cost of sensors. LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol is the difference between isolated usage and widespread deployment of the sensors, providing more granular information and higher value to the industry.
Commercial farmers are increasingly turning to LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol for its flexible and proven capabilities to maximize farm efficiency. Key benefits of LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol for Smart Agriculture include:
- Low connection costs
- Open standard
- Available today
- Leverage deployed assets
- Growing ecosystem
- Secure data transmission
By leveraging LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol and the LoRaWAN open protocol, farmers and ranchers are able to maximize their efficiency and focus on the growth and monetization of their business.