Internet of Things (IoT) broadly means “All objects, which are connected to the web, will be able to share and process data through their sensors and communication devices independently”. It is estimated that by 2023, globally, there may be 7 billion connected people, more than 30 million applications and integrated systems, more than 60 trillion GB of data, and around 8 trillion revenue opportunities. The IoT market value is expected to reach $11 trillion and security spending to reach $3.5 billion shortly.
The history of the evolution of IoT began with an archaic mode of interaction between humans and things (people and things), followed by the interaction of machine and machine (things and things), which led to the interaction of people through the Internet. proverbial (people and people), resulting in multiple things connecting on the network (web of things) and then eventually the internet of humanity.
IoT in agriculture basically implies the network in which the physical components of the sector will be connected to the Internet, which can be the farms that comprise trees, plants and animals, the tools and various objects of the sector. This enables information sharing, monitoring, and tracking, which helps humans manage the complex agricultural sector more productively under certain protocols. For example, most developed countries, such as Germany, Japan, and the US, have already advanced sensor technology and manufacturing processes. Net benefit of IoT application is increased agriculture
production, improvement of the quality of agricultural products, reduction of labor costs along with higher agricultural income for farmers.
Smart farm machinery or IoT incorporates cluster IoT, remote IoT, and internal IoT. While cluster IoT focuses on communication and control between agricultural machinery operating in the same area, remote IoT is between the operating site and remote terminals and servers. The communication between sensors, actuators and the central processing unit in agricultural machinery is known as internal IoT.
IoT finds immense application in the agricultural sector, where almost all developing economies see a sustainable future for food as the goal. By 2050, the world population is expected to grow by 30% to 10 billion and this requires increasing agricultural productivity by 1.5 times. The goal of global climate stability implies, among other things, the reduction of at least 67% of greenhouse gas emissions, which requires rectifying the problems of the current system. In developing countries, there are a multiplicity of problems in the agricultural sector, such as the lack of a system for crop selection, a faulty irrigation system, the lack of integration with the weather forecast, the lack of a process for analyze the soil, inefficient animal husbandry, etc.
In view of the above, the monitoring of climatic conditions and efficient decision-making must necessarily be part of the sustainable agriculture strategy. Accuracy in data-assisted agricultural decision-making, i.e. tons of data collected by smart agricultural sensors help agricultural scientists devise suitable strategies to address challenges. This can result in better control over internal processes and, as a result, lower production risks. IoT application can also contribute to greenhouse automation, where weather stations automatically adjust conditions to match given parameters and smart sprinkler controller allows irrigation and lighting systems to be managed remotely.
Globally, in light of the water scarcity that has a significant impact on agricultural production, the application of IoT allows choosing appropriate irrigation methods instead of the traditional flood irrigation method, solving the problem of water scarcity. to a large degree. IoT also finds application in livestock monitoring and management where IoT devices are connected to animals on a farm to monitor their health and record performance. Species-attached collar tags (comprising wireless links, actuators, sensors, and terminal equipment) help provide information on the temperature, health, activity, and nutrition of each individual cow, as well as collective information about the herd . This allows farmers to analyze the nutritional and physiological status of animals and ensure their healthy growth.
Crop management is another key area, where IoT finds application, especially in agriculture-specific data collection; temperature and precipitation to leaf water potential and overall crop health. This can help, among other things, to monitor crop growth and any anomalies to effectively prevent any disease or infestation that could harm the proposed yield. Soil testing is another application area where efficient planning can help strategically coordinate the crop cycle and irrigation, which can lead to improved efficiency in the areas of energy use and fertilizer cycling.
The quality, safety and traceability of agricultural products is another benefit of IoT where the storage, logistics and distribution of agricultural products come into the picture. Through high-speed Internet connectivity along with the application of electronic data interchange, electronic labels and barcodes; agricultural inputs and outputs could be legitimately tracked, used and stored, reducing waste and improving system efficiency.
Advanced research in the area of IoT system structure is still in progress because there may be a reduction in the timeliness of data transmission by IoT due to problems such as data transmission instability coupled with difficulties. to share data, poor positioning accuracy, etc. Data speed is another requirement for IoT-enabled systems that is, in fact, missing in almost all developing economies where agricultural activity occurs mainly in remote rural areas. The investment required for 5G and related technologies, a key enabler for agricultural IoT, is also very high and facilitating the same in rural areas is really challenging.
Barring these few challenges, end-to-end farm management systems must necessarily be part of the IoT strategy in the next technological age. A powerful dashboard with analytics capabilities and integrated accounting/reporting functions enables farmers to improve efficiency through continuous monitoring, efficient coordination, and automated low-level decision making. It is therefore time to focus on facilitating increased investment in the agricultural sector, through government-led public-private partnerships that invest in key areas to deliver desired long-term benefits to the economy.
Surjith Karthikeyan is serving as Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Finance. The opinions expressed are personal.