IHS Markit predicts up to 43 percent of all low power wide area networks (LPWANs) will be based on Semtech’s LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® protocol by 2023*. As of December 2019, more than half a million LoRa-enabled gateways have been deployed globally, supporting 135 million LoRa-based end nodes**. With the global adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and the growing market share of LoRa-enabled applications, it is becoming more and more difficult to identify a business segment that could not benefit from some level of connected devices. With new LoRa use cases being announced regularly, and growing numbers of worldwide LoRaWAN network deployments (public or private), it seems the only limit to these applications is the imagination of the developers and system integrators solving real world business challenges today.
The SPACE 2019 agriculture exhibition recently concluded in Rennes, France. The four-day event, highlighting today’s innovative precision agriculture technologies, brought together industry experts from around the world for a series of conferences, workshops and exhibitions. Approximately 1,400 booths occupied the exhibition floor at the Parc Expo Rennes convention center, and the exhibition provided educational and networking opportunities for more than 100,000 registered attendees.
Inconsistency in crop yield is a major concern for farmers. Even with green houses presenting a controlled environment for crop growth, pests and disease are unavoidable. Additionally, a farmer’s lack of knowledge on the conditions in the farm’s soil presents further challenges. The amount of fertilizer used on crops is often left up to the farmer’s discretion. This usually results in over- or under-dosing, which affects crop growth directly. Human error has the largest impact on a crop's yield, with inefficient or inconsistent irrigation and errors in fertilization having serious negative effects on crop health.
In the past five years, farmers in the Cameron Highlands, which are located 250 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, have taken the initiative to implement a simple monitoring system for their farms’ soil health. However, cost and connectivity presented a serious challenge for the farmers. Smarter solutions and machine-to-machine (M2M) services are often expensive and not available in rural areas. End users, typically the farmers themselves, are naturally very concerned with a solution’s power consumption, availability and reliability, as these factors directly affect the cost to deploy and operate these solutions. For the Cameron Highlands, the region’s various hills and valleys created additional challenges for service providers and reduced network signal strength. As a result, the farmers turned to solutions based on Semtech’s LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® protocol.
The 2019 InfoAg Conference recently concluded in St. Louis, Missouri. The two and a half day event highlighting precision agriculture consisted of a large program of panels, conferences and workshops, with an exhibition of approximately 200 booths in the main hall of the majestic Union Station Hotel. The conference provided educational and networking opportunities for more than 1,200 registered attendees. The annual event is an opportunity for scientists, farmers and solution manufacturers to meet with leaders in the precision and digital agriculture world, and collaborate with experts in Internet of Things (IoT), data, robotics, fertilization management, and more.
With temperatures around the globe forecasted to rise, unpredictable and dynamic weather patterns like droughts and heat waves present new challenges for winemakers. As a result, growers work harder for less product and wine prices increase for consumers. Using sensors for irrigation management is still not common practice in many vineyards. Often growers rely on field observations for their irrigation decisions. As a result, damage is often detected too late for farmers to prevent significant yield loss.
According to recent reports, between 70% and 80% of agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions, such as nitrous oxide, come from the production and use of nitrogen fertilizers. Farmers need real-time visibility into soil conditions while working in their fields. During growing season, manual soil tests fail to provide the data growers need and this can cause farmers to either over fertilize or under fertilize, harming profits and/or the environment. Teralytic, a manufacturer of wireless soil sensors, implemented LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) in its wireless sensor to detect nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (NPK) levels in soil to help farmers reduce waste and to improve crop yields.
Only 3% of the world’s water is accessible freshwater*. Of that, more than 600 gallons per day per person in the U.S. is being diverted for farm irrigation and livestock use. Monitoring soil moisture levels helps farmers to make effective and smart irrigation decisions. Too much water in the soil leads to waterlogged areas and a potential for plant illness or death, while too little water will harm crop growth.