Implementation of technological solutions to boost agricultural performances is not exactly a new concept. Smart tractors have been in active use across the globe for a fairly long time – along with various other Internet of things (IoT) tools and applications. Semtech’s open standard LoRa technology—in collaboration with National Narrowband Network Communications (NNN)—is being used to bolster the rural IoT and smart farming network in Australia. Earlier this month, it was also announced that Spanish IoT service provider IoTsens will be integrating LoRaWAN in its smart water platform. In India, LPWAN technologies like LoRa and Sigfox have begun to make a difference in the agricultural scenario.
For instance, in a benchmark move in 2016, the Government of Andhra Pradesh entered into collaboration with Microsoft and ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics) for technology-based analysis of soil parameters, weather conditions, and other key stats. The entire system is operated on the basis of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and of course, secure cloud computing – and it sends text messages to the farmers (mentioning important information, like correct sowing times).
It has been proven that crop-growers can increase annual yields by up to 30 per cent with this AI-powered agritech system (the Microsoft Azure platform is used to examine four decades of data). Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also extremely important in the overall smart agriculture setup, for an array of purposes – from crop spraying and field/soil monitoring (soil mapping), to planting and regular crop examinations. Research projects for using drones for smart farming in India are already underway.