Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The IoT For Digital Farming

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Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the world that not only provides food but also raw materials for other industries like textiles. Still, it is plagued by several issues, both natural and man-made, that make life difficult for the farmers.

xFarm, an agtech startup in Milano, was founded in 2017 out of Matteo Vanotti‘s need to use a digital service to manage his family’s agricultural company in an efficient manner. He was joined by Salvatore Ferullo, the company’s CEO and Martino Poretti, head of Research and Development. The company aims to create a comprehensive digital platform using the Internet of Things (IoT) to help farmers and others save time while working.

The ecosystem provided by them includes an agricultural application that works both on mobile and desktop platforms, dashboard analytics to manage multiple farms, and a line of connected IoT sensors optimised for agricultural use that can communicate via the Internet directly with users’ accounts.

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xSense weather stations and sensors that are necessary to track weather data and environmental parameters come with SIMs so that users can send data via GSM to the software. The application provides up to thirteen free functions like recording treatments and processes in the field, tracking movements and transport, viewing the position of fields and crops, managing warehouse inventory, among others.

Premium xNode smart modules, when paired with sensors, add advanced functionalities, including forecast models, telemetry, finance management, and precision fertilisation for improved work efficiency and productivity. As the modules use a LoRa wireless system, it is easy to connect up to a hundred devices within an approximate range of ten kilometres on the same network without high battery consumption.

This enables farmers to track activities and analyse local and reliable data, monitor crops, obtain personalised recommendations for their plots to plan optimal crop schedules, improve irrigation and fertilisation, protect plantations, and more. The information provided under the environment tab is made simple to understand with the help of graphs and images. Using telemetry, it becomes simple to control the performance of vehicles, send prescription maps, and allocate fuel expenses.

Besides farmers, target customers include associations, cooperatives, contractors, dealers, agronomists, insurances, and the like. For those employing several workers for their farms, staff management options are available to streamline the process. These customers can keep track of market prices for different crops as well as analyse and manage their company’s financial statements.

The mobile version available for Android version 5.0 and above is free without in-app purchases. Sensors and advanced modules have to be bought. In the past few years, many other IoT-based startups like Auroras, MotorLeaf, Swinesmart, FieldIn, and Cowlar have also started investing in agriculture and dairy industries. The ultimate goal is the same, that is, to aid people in this sector and thereby boost the economy and well-being of individuals.


 

1 COMMENT

  1. Sir, first of all I thank you for posting a good article on my profession. I only now went thru it even though after a year. I am a farmer, Natural Farmer and Organic Farmer in that for over fifty years. We traditionally do only Organic Agriculture very stubbornly.
    I am also a very stubborn Do It All Yourself – DIAY Disciple for over forty years! That’s why I find this article somewhat superfluous in going deeper into the governing aspects of Indian Agriculture. In India, as well as almost all other parts of the globe, Agriculture is STILL NOT AN INDUSTRY! On a straight perspective IT CANNOT BE AN INDUSTRY! It is because, the farming chores are utterly impossible to be automated of controlled entirely. Everything is related to the Natural and Environmental Elements. As you too know, none of these Natural Elements can be monitored round the clock, data logged, analyzed, researched and controlled or programmed! It is so Naturally. Then it is either Go Along or Quit as far as Indian Agriculture is concerned. You know? We cannot even FIX A FIXED TIME FOR OUR MEALS! It is so Naturally. Until this date, we have been on the farm, (24+5)x365 doing very complex duties, non-stop. Finding it very sustainable to do farm works by commuting between our village and the lands, most of us totally moved to the lands decades ago. Most of the villages are occupied by labors and others!
    Then these days, labor scarcity due to migration to the big metros, it is us alone doing most of the physical works all the day. On the other hand, the remaining labors cost too much to hire. In this scenario, since I have personal and painful direct experience in farm automation decades ago, installation and maintenance of the system are labor intensive and investment intensive.
    Now, with the present days’ field situation, with at least twenty power downs and an equal tower downs, a day, powering the automated system and maintaining the network connection are menacingly impossible. Even in the 5G era, the Telecom and Power Departments never cater for the importance of connectivity in rural areas all over India. Then with which you are going to do IoTiation your farm? After my efforts failed to automate and remain connected, I simply dismantled everything back to the good old days of farming, that is manual farming. In India, Digital Farming is next to impossible as along as we rely entirely on Natural Elements. Your design is fit for Bit Tech Agros who do Indoor Farming. Your article needs too many direct field hands of experience.

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