MOKOSmart IoT In Agriculture

So as to match the proposed world human population of 9.7 billion by 2050, the production of agricultural commodities must rise by around 69 percent. New farming techniques should be implemented to achieve this drastically.

The world can meet the required demand by applying the Internet of things in farming. IoT in agriculture offers an understanding of how crops and livestock prevent animals from ailing and efficiently increase their production. However, these IoT solutions become impossible with unreliable connectivity – IoT connectivity is what we offer at MOKOSmart.

The function of IoT devices in the coming generation of agriculture

Progressive usages of IoT in agriculture are influential prospects towards forward-thinking activities that increase produces and, at the same time, improve the safety and delivery of food. From water management to monitoring crops and livestock, sensors, modules, and gateways work jointly to offer precise real-time information collected and scrutinized for more well-versed decisions, cost validation and rationalized regulatory compliance.

IoT in agriculture employs many sensors used to gather real-time data. Farmers depend on smart sensors to examine moisture content in the soil, screen the health of livestock and crops, and efficiently run drones and agricultural vehicles, mostly in remote regions without a complete broadband admission.

Some of the inventions in sensor technology are; the incorporation of low-power, reduced, and non-reusable tracing solutions plus the 5G power, which promise better prospects for farmers to put on the sensing technology to their exclusive settings. The IoT technology can help farmers promptly reply to changing ecological, regulatory, staffing, and demand situations, whether distinct or collective.

The simultaneous flow of data from one network to the other is enabled by hardware devices called gateways. They are important solution links that offer reliable access to sensor cameras, systems, and actuators, vital to the surroundings of IoT in smart farms. Adverse outcomes can be brought by poorly acting data routing, especially when monitoring livestock, controlling irrigation, and surveying an area.

Most farms are located in rural, remote settings where all their operations are widely spread across large distances and have different landscapes. Moreover, the connectivity needs vary significantly. In a gateway design, innovations, especially the incorporation of advanced industrial-grade main components such as game-changing private LTE, wireless communication modules, and remote 5G technologies, assist farming IoT integrators to completely meet farmers’ needs when screening operations under any conditions.

Instead of sending raw data via gateways, applications have become possible to work embedded thanks to the rapid advancement in IoT edge processes. This technique of IoT edge processing aids in easy management of devices and making proper decisions at or near the end-points of creating data. Some NB-IoT and LTE-M standards cellular modules enable gadgets to directly link to a mobile IoT network.

They are ideal for adding cellular or Wi-Fi networking functionality to sensors and other IoT gadgets. Due to the complexities of radio frequency engineering and stern regulatory compliance necessities, the agro-industry IoT device integrators and designers must depend on ready-to-use modules other than the chip-down method suitable for other functional design blocks. This approach to connectivity solutions runs various possibilities and offers an ideal time to conduct research and marketing. It also provides room for ROI development for farming IoT solution integrators to meet the particular needs of the sector.

Modules are essential elements of IoT devices. IoT modules deployed in farming systems should be of high quality and ruggedized to be consistent and reliable at all times, even during the most extreme environmental conditions. Smart agriculture is a mission-vital solution platform. Choosing a linked agricultural device module based on ROI and the entire lifecycle cost is critical instead of the buying price.

MOKOSmart IoT Connectivity

MOKOSmart IoT connectivity plans and management solutions enable you to acquire a one-touch admission to your universal connectivity network. The IoT connectivity tools and resources available at MOKOSmart quickly and competently get you into the market, irrespective of your network’s size, stage, or scale.

At MOKOSmart, you can now receive easily accessible IoT connectivity. Furthermore, your network will get global visibility and a granular switch to an individual SIM.

How do Smart Farming solutions work?

IoT in agriculture enables farmers to decrease waste and improve productivity by determining the appropriate fertilizer and pesticides to apply on a farm. Moreover, IoT enables farmers to efficiently utilize the available resources such as electricity, water, and many more.

Automating a farming system with sensors makes it easy to monitor crops in a field remotely from any location. It also helps farmers choose correctly between manual and automated decisions based on the data collected before taking the necessary actions. For instance, a farmer can deploy sensors to automatically irrigate a farm when the moisture content in the soil decreases. Smart farming is more efficient and well-organized than conventional methods.

Applications of IoT in smart farming

Smart agriculture based on IoT-based plays a significant role in revolutionizing conservative farming methods. It targets agriculture approaches such as organic farming, family farming and boosts highly transparent farming. Also, IoT in smart agriculture is very beneficial in terms of ecological issues. It can enable farmers to utilize water resources effectively and improve farm inputs and treatments.

Some of the primary applications of IoT-based smart farming transforming the agricultural sector are;

Precision farming

Also known as precision agriculture, precision farming involves all the components that make the whole agricultural process precise and easy to control when it comes to growing crops and raising livestock. Information Technology is one primary factor that contributes to this farming practice. Others include; sensors, control systems, robotics, automated hardware, automation vehicles, and variable rate technologies.

Precision farming

Technological advancements have been happening at very high rates in the last few years. The use of drones is one significant advance that has led to the development of technology in the agricultural sector.
Some of the benefits acquired when drones are used in agriculture are; increased crop production saves time, ease to use, integrated GIS mapping, and crop health imaging. The agricultural sector can acquire a high-tech makeover when the drone technology is combined with the appropriate approaches and real-time data collection planning.

Livestock monitoring

Large farm owners use wireless IoT applications to track their livestock’s position, health, and fitness. The data collected by IoT devices enables these livestock owners to easily identify sick animals and separate the ill animals from the herd to take care of them. Moreover, IoT sensors help owners locate their livestock, thereby easily cutting down the cost of labor.

Smart greenhouses

Smart greenhouses are installed with different kinds of agriculture IoT sensors. They help analyze environmental factors and examine the sustainability of these factors to the plants.

The IoT sensors in a smart greenhouse offer essential data on the pressure, temperature, humidity, and light levels in the surrounding areas. These IoT sensors use a Wi-Fi signal to control everything in the greenhouse, from managing the temperatures by opening the windows to switching the lights on and off.

Monitoring climate conditions

Climate is essential in the production of crops. For different crops to grow, they require different climate conditions. A farmer can use IoT solutions to determine real-time weather conditions. Sensors are mounted in agricultural fields assemble data from the surrounding that helps farmers know a crop that can yield more when grown in certain climatic settings.

Remote sensing

IoT agriculture sensors placed in farms are used in remote sensing. They help collect and send data gathered to the analytical tools for analysis. With this, farmers can now easily monitor their crops through analytical dashboards and, as a result, take the perceptions accordingly. In remote sensing, IoT in agriculture is essential as it helps to;
• Access crops
• Access weather conditions
• Access the quality of the soil

Benefits of IoT in Agriculture

Lower production risks

The ability to predict the production outputs enables a farmer to plan efficiently for improved production distribution. When you are familiar with the number of your crops harvested, it is more likely that your product will get into the market faster and easier.

Excelled productivity

IoT in agriculture enables farmers to monitor their crops easily produced in real-time. They acquire insights that help them forecast problems faster before they happen, allowing them to make well-versed choices.

Expansion

Greenhouses managed with IoT allow the supply of fast-food chains. They enable the production of fresh fruits and veggies. Smart closed-cycle farming schemes allow the growth of food essentially in any place at the comfort of everyone’s home.

Reduced resources

Smart farming using IoT depends on the information collected by the sensors mounted in the field. It enables farmers to assign enough resources to every single crop exactly.

Cleaner process

Other than saving water and energy and making agriculture greener, precision farming also suggestively balances the quality of fertilizers and pesticides used in the field. This tactic contributes to more organic and cleaner organic produces.

Low costs of operation

The consumption of resources, costs of operations, and human errors can be reduced significantly by automating the processes in crops planting, treatment, and harvesting.

Agility

With the help of prediction systems and real-time monitoring, farmers can now swiftly find solutions to any substantial change in weather conditions, air quality, humidity, soil, and the health of all crops in the field.

Improved product quality

IoT in agriculture largely contributes to better produces. By using connected systems, a farmer can now maximize the nutritional value and recreate better conditions of the products.

The primary values of IoT in agriculture

Improved produces and livestock health

IoT in agriculture enables growers to close the opening between demand and supply. It has played a crucial part in maximizing produces, profitability, and protecting the environment. Farmers can now increase the productivity of their crops and livestock health when they apply IoT technologies to their ecosystems. IoT helps in livestock location tracking and determining the issues affecting the health of crops.

Sustainability

IoT technologies applied in smart farming enhances sustainability. By utilizing well-monitoring sensors and software applications, farmers can save more money and farm sustainably when they improve the outflow of the available resources.

The market of IoT in agriculture

By 2025, the implementation of IoT gadgets in the agri-business is expected to rise by at least 20 percent annually. Moreover, the global smart agriculture market is anticipated to reach $15.3 billion by the end of the year 2025.

Case study

40 percent reduced water usage and 30 percent more output

Inadequate and extreme water levels can harm plants. This is why it is vital to water plants according to their needs to achieve precision farming. The IoT Farming solution incorporates IoT sensors to evaluate the quantity of water each crop in the field requires. It is essential in offering the appropriate amount of water needed in every plant.

Due to the implementation of the technology, both France and Tunisia farmers have witnessed a dramatic decrease of 40 percent in water usage. This has enabled them to eventually save 25 percent in irrigation costs, whereas their outputs have increased by 30 percent.

Reduced food wastage

More than 40 percent of American food gets discarded and rotten when on its way from farm to fork. This staggering food wastage can be reduced by more than 50 percent by combining blockchain and agricultural IoT technologies. Most IoT solutions in a supply chain place sensor in pallets during harvesting to monitor the temperature and time.

During transportation, the Australian Consolidated Milk tracks the temperature of the milk using sensors. This effectually enables the company to save more as it would lose $10,000 in a case where a tanker-load of milk gets spoiled.

Analyses the moisture content in soil and farm health

MOKOSmart is a cloud-based platform that applies multiple technologies. Some of the technologies it combines for effectiveness include; IoT sensors, drones, AI, ML, satellites, and cloud computing. This makes it easy to collect and analyze data and offers a map with ideas and actionable perceptions. The program intends to gather data using cheap devices such as cameras, sensors, and drones that communicate information through TV whitespaces and Wi-Fi routers for more data analytics and processing.

Rice wetting and drying system

An average of 1,400 liters of water are used to produce one kilogram of rice. MOKOSmart has developed new water sensing devices to help monitor water levels in a field. The data collected is communicated through the network and linked to the farmer’s smartphone. The system allows water to dry to specific levels before more eater is flooded in the field.

This IoT-enabled system has contributed to a decrease of water usage by 50 percent, a reduction of nitrogen usage by 25 percent, and a decrease in methane emissions by 50 percent.

Why is smart agriculture critical?

The population of man in the world is experiencing new and growing challenges regarding food production. Smart farming is critical in the current economy as it plays a significant role in providing adequate food for coming generations sustainably. Some of the challenges farmers in the world are facing today include;

Depletion of resources

Natural resources across the globe are increasingly depreciating at high speed due to the growing world population and improvements in economic conditions. For instance, the United States witnessed a large-scale triple depletion of its underground water between the 1950s and 1990s. Furthermore, depletion of resources largely contributes to climate changes, a growing risk that requires more sustainable techniques for smart agriculture.

Lack of arable land

In the last four decades, the size of arable land around the globe has significantly decreased. Environmental pollution and erosion contribute more to this. The consequences can worsen unless farmers establish strategies to minimize more damages and implement new ways to capitalize on the land available for cultivation.

Labor shortages

Countries such as the US with advanced technological developments face a shortage in human labor as the number of immigrant workforces continues to reduce day in day out. Smart farming can take a new course in reducing human labor in the field. Automation of agricultural tasks offsets the problem of labor shortage.

Increasing global demand

By 2050, the world human population is anticipated to reach 9.1 billion. This will require the production of food to increase by 50 percent. This becomes a massive challenge to keep up with such demand as new approaches to farming will be necessary.

Things to consider before you develop your smart farming solution

The hardware

Building an agriculture IoT solution will help install or create customs sensors for your device. The type of data you intend to collect and the general drive of your solution play a crucial role in determining your choice. Besides, the success of your products is primarily contributed by the accuracy of the data recorded and the quality and reliability of your sensors.

The brain

Every smart farming solution should have data analytics at its core. The data collected is valuable when you do not make sense of it. Hence, applying predictive algorithms and power data analytics is essential to help you obtain reliable insights regarding the data collected.

The maintenance

Although it is challenging to maintain your agricultural IoT hardware, it is still essential. Since sensors can be easily damaged as they are typically used in the field, it is essential to take good care of them. Always ensure that your sensors are robust and easy to maintain, or else you will often have to keep on replacing them.

The mobility

Applications of smart agriculture should be custom-made for use in the field only. IoT plays a significant role in remotely accessing any data set using a smartphone or a computer. Moreover, every connected gadget should be independent and have an excellent wireless range that can send data to the central server and easily link with the other gadgets.

The infrastructure

For your smart agriculture to do well, it is essential to have a robust internal infrastructure. Moreover, this can be acquired if your internal systems are more secure. If your system is less safe, it is more likely for someone to break into it and take control of your data.

Connectivity

Currently, IoT devices are applying various connection protocols, even though building-integrated standards in this part are still in progress. With the invention of the 5G network and other internet technologies, it is more hopeful that this problem will be solved.

Data collection frequency

As the agricultural industry is experiencing a wide variety of data types, it is problematic to collect optimal frequency data. The data collected can be a subject of constraint and guiding principles.

Data security

IoT in agriculture specifies employing large sets of data. This raises the number of potential security gaps that culprits can use to steal and hack information.

Purpose

When building an app, developers should consider the end user’s intentions of applying the IoT technology. This implies that the purpose of an IoT solution is determined by the type of sensors developed.

Technology

Distance plays a significant role in choosing the technology used in farming solutions. Sensors in agriculture are essential as they help collect and send data to the server. The same technology cannot be used to collect data at a distance of both 10 meters and 1000 meters.

Power Requirements

It is important to establish a low power application in smart farming since most agriculture IoT solutions are widely spread on a farm. When large volumes of data are transmitted, this translates to high power consumption rates and increased data costs. Developers need to consider this before building cheap IoT solutions for farmers.

Placement of Sensors

Placing sensors in a manner that delivers optimal performance is challenging for most engineers. Proper sensors placement is vital to acquire more benefits even when the agricultural solution has all the necessary sensors.

How much is wireless range necessary?

The technology used is impacted mainly by the distance required to transmit data. The technology used to collect data over a distance of 10 meters away cannot be used for something 1,500 meters away. In short distance ranges, it is appropriate to apply Radiofrequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC).

When sending data to objects not more than 10 meters away, the most convenient option to use is Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). For instance, a Bluetooth sensor can be mounted to a pig as an ear tag to help the end-user easily determine its age and other vital data about them.

Furthermore, low power, wide-area network (LPWAN) can be a good option if your application is required to transmit data in an extended range of more than hundreds or even thousands of meters. The LPWAN network can be applied to analyze the amount of moisture in the soil and track livestock. Additionally, this network is a perfect solution for monitoring large farms that are hard to access.

The source of power in IoT devices

There is a very close relationship between the range and life of batteries. IoT sensors used to assemble and transfer information over long distances need a lot of energy. To overcome this, IoT developers prefer creating an application that sends much less data frequently to save energy and cost.

When installing a sensor application on your farm, first know where power will come from. Consider a low power application since most IoT smart farming is spread outdoors over a large area. The upkeep and service of most distant sensors are considerably devastating for the end-user.

How often should end-users collect data?

Most individuals think that a sensor should send more data packets, but this is not necessarily the case. Factors such as the local surroundings and the end-user applications determine the number of data packets necessary to send information.  

For instance, a farmer with a moisture sensor in his farm does not need to collect data after every two seconds. Otherwise, it is probably sufficient for him to gather data once or twice a day, meaning that his sensor’s battery life will be more excellent.

Conversely, an application used to transmit GPS coordinates, and other data picked up by a tractor can conveniently transmit near-constant data packets to the gateway. Besides, the tractor offers an ideal power source. Hence large data volumes can be shared without creating a blockage in the network.

The comparison of irrigation and tank leveling is another great illustration. Most farms use large tanks to store livestock feeds, fertilizer, fuel, and other products. Since they do not monitor the heights of these tanks on daily basis, they implement the IoT technology. Alternatively, constant updates can guarantee that the correct amounts are used daily and no leakage when irrigation is on.

IoT challenges in agriculture

Big data technology and IoT in smart farming systems can save the agricultural industry.  However, some of the challenges that comes with integrating IoT in agriculture in traditional agricultural processes are;

Connectivity

In order to make an IoT system more conducive, it is essential to offer connectivity all through the agricultural environment. Ideal system connectivity offers a more consistent continuous connection to endure severe weather conditions and open space events.

Unfortunately, the problem of connectivity is still common in IoT since various systems apply different protocols to transmit data. Hopefully, this problem can be solved by introducing standards and developing the 5G technology and other internet-based spaces. This will offer a more reliable and faster internet connection for every IoT space irrespective of its magnitude and conditions.

Design and durability

Other than connectivity, any agricultural IoT system should also be capable of handling the conditions of outdoor spaces. For drones and portable sensors to efficiently work on a farm, they should be built with a simple and functional design with a certain level of strength.

Limited resources and time

IoT plays a very significant role in smart agriculture, although its integration happens in the setting of a continually changing environment. All companies that develop IoT for agriculture needs to consider the quick climate changes, evolving weather conditions and work with the limited resources available.

The fragmented market of small individual players

Technological advancements have led to more and more software solutions used to connect sellers with buyers, offer farming guidance, educate small-scale farmers, and enable farmers to access enterprise-level knowledge easily. This work is currently in progress, thus bringing hope to a more connected and better future.

Data security breaches

Logically, all businesses require data protection. Although the agricultural ecosystem is devastatingly benefiting from the profusion of shared open data, it is linked with various sensitive data. Eliminating such probable exposure is one key factor software development companies consider when creating IoT agriculture projects.

Deprived connectivity in remote zones across the globe

From the late 2010s, the coverage of satellite internet and mobile networks have dramatically improved. In smart farming, connectivity remains a common issue affecting IoT development, especially in Asia and Africa. Most of these regions lack a strong internet connection for transmitting data packages from the field to the mobile application.

Capital investment is essential when implementing and maintaining IoT systems

The integral pieces of a value chain required to deploy IoT in agriculture are disparate and costly. In precision farming, it is essential to employ several multiple sensor devices all over the farm. Moreover, some components such as mobile network, analytical elements, the application, and the connectivity platform need a significant upfront investment.

The cybersecurity challenges in smart agriculture: How to tackle It efficiently

When investing in smart IoT ecosystems, farmers face a lot of challenges. Some smart agriculture challenges include devices’ poor performances, data leakage risks, high vulnerabilities rates to hardware damages, and unbalanced communication in smart farming amenities.

With the possible risks of undependable hardware being predictable, it is not easy to detect cybersecurity threats on your data. Below are the four essential guiding principles that offer the relevant strategies of addressing the issues of cyber security using IoT smart agriculture technologies:

  1. Never skip regular software updates – Modern software updates are often fixed with security flaws.
  2. Assess the newest technology to protect delicate data – The global markets have been conquered by blockchain technology, including IoT technologies. This helps in safeguarding the integrity of data and offers reliable storage.
  3. Set the limitations of the IoT device’s internet connection – The security of an entire system increases when the function of the IoT device is not required.
  4. Improve the security of all devices – This can be achieved best by using transport encryption algorithms to secure communication protocols.

Information is very paramount when evaluating the risks linked with smart agriculture. Although it is still possible to mitigate the potential cybersecurity breaches and threats, integrated standards have not yet been established.

Technologies available for present-day farmers

Internet of Things refers to the latest technology that determines the interconnection among humans to humans, humans to things, and things to things. The loT technology is a global-shattering skill that shows the future interchange of data and computing. IoT is grounded on the communication among smart and infrared sensors, remote sensing, GPS, RFID, mobile communication, and other communication systems. Moreover, IoT also refers to a system of substances and is regularly a self-configurable wireless system.

The primary drive of loT is to create a broad network by combining various sensor devices like RFID, GPS, remote sensing, laser scanners, and other networks to understand the data distribution of global things. Furthermore, loT incorporates thousands of networked entrenched smart appliances known as smart things. All smart things have the potential of collecting data about themselves, their surroundings, and allied smart devices. Smart things also communicate the data collected to other networks and intelligent devices through the connecting internet.

Some of the IoT technologies available for present-day farmers include;

  • Sensors – Used in managing light, soil, temperature, water, and humidity
  • Location –  GPS, Satellite, etc.
  • Connectivity – LoRa. Cellular etc.
  • Robotics – Processing facilities, autonomous tractors, and more
  • Software – Application skeptical IoT solutions and specialized software solutions that target certain types of farm
  • Data analytics– Separate analytics solutions, data channels for downstream solutions, etc.
When a farmer is armed with such tools, it becomes easy to monitor field conditions without visiting the field remotely. Also, they enable a farmer to come up with strategic decisions regarding the inputs in a whole farm or for a solo plant. IoT is a force that effectively drives smart farming. By linking smart sensors and machines on farms, the farming processes are data-enabled and data-driven.

The IoT smart farming cycle

Smart farming has four phases. They are;

Data collection / data sensing

Data is collected by various sensor devices mounted on drones, agricultural tools, and fields during this stage. For instance, a drone can be used to capture images on a farm, thus helping a farmer collect data on the health of crops and soil conditions and manage the farm efficiently.

Data communication

In this stage, the data collected in stage 1 is sent to the cloud or an application for storage and processing by the disparate systems from different IoT arrangements. Connectivity is an essential element in smart agriculture. The approaches of transferring data to the cloud or an application are made remotely via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, RFID, or LPWAN networks.

Data storage

The data processed must be stored somewhere for analysis. Most IoT technologies offer either public, private, hybrid servers, or cloud for data storage.

Data processing

In this phase, the data collected and gathered is analyzed using ML and AI algorithms to offer actionable perceptions that can assist farmers in making appropriate decisions in managing their crops and yields. This stage typically happens in a specific technological platform or inside the software applications installed in the context of a certain connected farming system.

Smart agriculture value chain

Internet of Things is a system of multiple devices that perform jointly close with the other to undertake a specific function. With IoT in agriculture, such a network regularly comprises a sensor used to collect data: a physical gadget for measuring the moisture content in the soil, a camera that captures images, and a field mapping application that receives the data sent by the sensor. Various technologies and providers are involved in the transportation and transforming the data collected by the sensors until it reaches the end-user in the form of actionable perceptions.

The smart agriculture value chain often incorporates the application provider, sensors, data analyst, mobile networks, system integrator, and a connectivity vendor. The existence of multiple parties and difficulties in the network are the main reasons why only more prominent players deploy IoT solutions. In contrast, small players at times find the technology too intricate.

The table below illustrates the technologies used in agriculture for visualization purposes at every data flow stage in IoT.