As one of the oldest industries, agriculture has existed for thousands of years in China. It is the foundation of the national economy and the most fundamental for China to achieve sustainable development. However, with the transformation of our economic structure in recent years, the agriculture industry is facing tough challenges posed by factors such as the increasing shortage of agricultural labor force (farmers increasingly turning to migrant workers), the improper use of fertilizers and pesticides, and the shortage of water resources. How to achieve refined, green and sustainable development of agriculture is the key problem to be addressed in China and even across the world.
As the world's most populous country, China's food security has a huge impact on social stability. Over the years, the Central Government has issued the No. 1 document on "agriculture, rural areas and farmers," in an effort to highlight the importance of such issues, stress the development driven by scientific and technological innovation, and lead the accelerated development of modern agriculture. Now, with the increasing maturity of LoRa® and other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, the traditional agriculture is combined with modern information and communications technologies to form smart agriculture, thus realizing unmanned, automatic and intelligent management.
As a leading IoT product and solution provider, Milesight IoT Co., Ltd. (Milesight) has launched a number of products including a sensor, a solenoid valve controller and a data collector with rich interfaces for different legacy sensors — all utilizing Semtech’s LoRa devices and running on the LoRaWAN® standard. With cutting-edge IoT communications and artificial intelligence (AI) at its technical core, such products have been exported to 129 countries and regions around the world, and are widely used in robotics, smart energy, industrial automation, livestock breeding, greenhouse, smart park, smart office, smart transport, smart city, smart security, among more.
In order to improve the grain quality and yield and free agricultural workers from heavy manual labor, Milesight offers a set of smart agriculture solutions utilizing LoRa to monitor the agricultural applications in real time. Characterized by low power consumption, wide coverage and easy deployment, a LoRaWAN network’s wireless transmission has been widely used in smart agriculture scenarios. In this article we will present different applications of Milesight's solutions for agriculture leveraging LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard.
Irrigation System for Smart Agriculture
Crops cannot grow without water. However, too much or too little irrigation will affect their growth. With too much irrigation, there is potential for a large waste of water resources. Milesight has launched its irrigation system integrated with LoRaWAN connectivity for smart agriculture. The system includes an installed multifunctional data collector detecting light, carbon dioxide, soil temperature and humidity, electrical conductivity, and input liquid levels on the farmland. This collected environmental data on crops is then displayed on the Milesight IoT Cloud via a LoRaWAN network gateway, for the real-time monitoring and analysis on the environmental conditions of crops, thus allowing for informed and intelligent decision making on behalf of the user to increase the yield of crops.
Milesight has also developed a system to view and manage the farmland water levels scientifically, an installed solenoid valve controller on a water valve. The water valve sensor can detect insufficient water in soil, in which the Milesight IoT Cloud will send out a timely alarm, and trigger the water valve switch to irrigate crops. In other cases of enough moisture, the water valve will close to stop the irrigation. Overall, the linkage-controlled intelligent irrigation system can control the waste of water resources effectively, reduce human labor, and significantly improve the efficiency of crop irrigation.
Fig. 1: Milesight's irrigation system for smart agriculture used by Australian clients
Connectivity Solutions for a Smart Tea Factory
As a major tea producer in the world, China is in need of combining traditional tea making skills with modern technologies for production. In the tea making process, the temperature/humidity in the tea making environment as well as the oxygen content in the air are very important for the fermentation and drying of tea leaves. For this solution, temperature and humidity sensors are installed at different positions inside the tea roasting machine to monitor the temperature and humidity values in real time to control the temperature and humidity during the tea roasting— ensuring the tea is evenly heated at the best quality. In the meantime, the traditional oxygen sensor and the temperature and humidity sensors are connected via multifunctional data collector, leveraging the LoRaWAN standard, through RS485 to collect data about the temperature and humidity and oxygen content in the tea factory. In addition, the PT100 temperature sensor, designed for measuring extreme temperatures, can be used to monitor the temperature values of central parts of the tea roasting machine and the internal temperature of the tea roasting machine in real time, so as to avoid overheating or even damage of parts arising from the long working hours of the tea roasting machine. The data collected will be then sent to the LoRaWAN network gateway, which then will forward the data to the Milesight IoT Cloud for analysis, judging whether the current ambient temperature and humidity and oxygen content are appropriate, and whether the tea roasting machine is functioning properly.
Users can monitor and view the environmental data in real time through Milesight IoT Cloud and mobile APP, and also set alarm values on the cloud platform. When the data detected exceeds the thresholds, Milesight IoT Cloud will immediately send warning messages through the mobile application and email, so the user can make a timely adjustment to ensure the quality of tea and avoid any loss incurred by improper management of production process.
Fig. 2: Adoption of Milesight solution by Fujian Sanyangfeng Tea Factory
Smart Livestock Breeding System
Animal husbandry has rigorous requirements on the environment to the extent that it affects the temperature and humidity, air, light, and abundance of food. This, in turn, has a great influence on the healthy growth of livestock and poultry. To this end, Milesight has developed a complete set of smart livestock breeding solutions with LoRaWAN connectivity, which can comprehensively improve the efficiency of the breeding industry and enhance the economic benefits for raisers. So far, this smart livestock breeding system has been widely used.
By placing Milesight's sensors featuring LoRa to detect the temperature and humidity, ammonia gas, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and light levels in the animal housing, environmental data such as temperature and humidity, and harmful gas concentration can be collected. Additionally, other sensors can be used for traditional estrus monitoring, epidemic disease surveillance, all connected via a LoRaWAN network through the multifunctional data collector to collect the real time health status data of livestock and poultry. Moreover, ultrasonic distance sensors can be used to accurately measure the remaining feed and water in automatic feeders.
Ultimately, all of these environmental, livestock and feeding data are uploaded to the Milesight IoT Cloud via the LoRaWAN network gateway, presenting visual data to analyze and manage. In the case of any abnormal data detected, Milesight IoT Cloud will immediately send an alarm to the users, and the breeders can timely adjust the ventilation and increase the feed, so that the livestock and poultry will be in a healthy, comfortable and reasonable breeding environment.
Fig. 3: A pig farm in the Netherlands with the smart livestock breeding system provided by Milesight
Water level, temperature and quality are crucial to aquaculture. The ultrasonic distance sensor can collect data about the water level, whereas the PT100 temperature sensor can collect data about the water temperature. There is also an ammonia nitrogen sensor that can collect the water quality data.
Any anomalies in the water level or temperature data will be linked to the water valve or water temperature control equipment through the solenoid valve controller, with LoRaWAN connectivity, which keeps the water in the aquaculture farm plenty or at the right temperature. In case of any anomaly detected in the water quality, Milesight IoT Cloud will immediately send warning messages, so that the culturists may respond in a timely manner, ensuring the quality and output of aquatic products.
Fig. 4: Aquaculture farm
"For many years, Milesight has been committed to the R&D and production of Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) solutions and products. By cooperating with the world-leading companies like Semtech, we have launched a number of AIoT solutions that run on the LoRaWAN standard. Thanks to its low power consumption, wide coverage, long transmission distance, wire-free feature, easy construction and deployment, Semtech’s LoRa technology is ideal for smart agriculture use. We are proud that such solutions and products can help farmers, stock raisers and fishery culturists improve their efficiency and produce better products," said Weihong Shen, President of Milesight IoT.
In addition to smart agriculture, products with LoRaWAN standard are also widely used in smart city, smart transport, smart security, smart building, smart office, etc.
"We are pleased to see the effective solutions with LoRaWAN for smart agriculture launched by Milesight. This is a strong showcase of Semtech’s full LoRa IoT capabilities to provide agriculture with intelligent management, reducing labor while increasing yields in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery. With the help of LoRa, China's agriculture industry has a larger scope for development, accelerating China's transformation to a strong agricultural power." said Mike Wong, Semtech’s vice president of China sales.
Learn more about Smart Agriculture solution with LoRa on our website.
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