Looking towards technology within agriculture, smart technologies could soon be harnessed in the farming sector to benefit both businesses and societies
From transport through to utilities, we have seen the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies come to the fore in recent years, enhancing many different sectors and services – especially technology within agriculture and the farming sector.
New technologies are making it more possible than ever to create better, more efficient and cost-effective ways of working, benefiting businesses and society.
However, while many are embracing IoT and smart solutions, one sector where its potential has yet to be realised is agriculture, explains Sam Jordan, IoT Business Development Manager at Connexin.
The agricultural sector faces a wide range of challenges
These challenges faced in the farming sector can include long-standing issues such as environmental conservation and criminal theft or damage, as well as more recent developments like rising energy costs and inflation.
Many in the industry are aware of how technology can help alleviate some of these pressures and have an appetite to innovate. However, past experiences of implementing digital solutions have not produced the successes they would have hoped for.
While being burnt in the past may have disillusioned some in agriculture to the benefits of technology, IoT and smart technologies are emerging as affordable, effective solutions that have the capability to address multiple challenges across the sector.
Harnessing the power of data and technology within agriculture
This can be demonstrated through examples of how smart solutions can address the previously outlined challenges. When it comes to energy costs, technologies such as smart metres and automated monitoring solutions can gather data on where energy or water usage is high. Using this information, farmers can then intervene in these areas to address or reduce energy usage, ensuring it is as efficient as possible across all areas.
This isn’t just hyperbole – in our experience at Connexin, we have seen how deploying these solutions have achieved savings of between 17%-28%, demonstrating their effectiveness.
From an environmental perspective, sensors now exist which have the ability to monitor a range of environmental aspects. These include tracking air and soil quality, through to the chemical performance of greenhouses in the farming sector.
Installing these sensors across farms and agricultural facilities provides producers with a constant stream of information on their commodities and allows them to make adjustments based on real-time data, ensuring they can create the best environment possible to grow produce and maintain their services to the highest standard.
Safeguarding through monitoring farms and vehicles
When it comes to criminal damage and theft, smart security solutions can effectively reduce the threat of these occurring. Enhanced CCTV solutions have been developed which, when implemented across an agricultural site, can monitor individuals and vehicles from the moment they enter the premises to the moment they leave them.
This means that if any criminal activity occurs, it is immediately picked up and identified, ensuring no damage or theft is missed. At the same time, sensors which can follow and monitor vehicles and goods in real-time mean that if, for example, a product is taken from the back of a truck or the vehicle is raided, it is flagged, and steps can be taken to identify and apprehend the culprits.
The future of farming, today
The challenges facing the agricultural sector are not going away on their own. With costs rising, increasing environmental concerns and the ever-present risk of criminality, farmers need smart solutions that produce immediate results.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these, but IoT and smart technologies within agriculture have the potential to help the sector address these challenges.
By identifying where solutions are needed and how technology can be applied, the agricultural industry can ensure they are getting the best results for their business and customers cost-effectively and yield real benefits.
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