While most people think of IoT (Internet of Things) applicable to making a city smarter – it also plays a huge role in improving productivity, connectivity and profitability in rural communities. IoT technology may be associated more with the connected home and industrial sectors, but it is having a practical and profound effect on the food and farming sectors.
Globally, we are seeing an increase in tech projects helping the food, farming and fishing industry.
Ministry of Marine and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, in partnership with a local vendor efisher, has designed a smart feeder for fisheries that uses sensors to help farmers dispense the right amount of feed into the water. These sensors work in conjunction with a complex algorithm, and can assess how hungry the fish are by measuring the rate at which consume the food provided. Farmers receive real-time food consumption reports on their smartphones.
It can reduce up to 21% of the feeding cost, boost profits, and gives the convenience of handling business remotely.
“The best thing about this technology is the real-time monitoring. I can easily control my farms wherever I am. It can make my business more accountable” said Mr. Hernan, a Tilapia fish farmer in Subang
Mr. Rahmad a Carp fish farmer in Cirata lake said “This technology indeed shows significant results on reducing the FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) and the feeding cost”
Smart technology is being brought to the fish farming industry in South Korea introducing an 'Internet of Things' eel farm management system.
The system is being tested at an eel farm in Gochang in South Korea's North Jeolla Province. It will first be introduced to eel farms across South Korea, before steps are taken to adapt it to the farming of other species of fish.
It is hi-tech way to keep an eye on water quality in the fish tanks of eels. Eels are sensitive to any change in water conditions and can die quickly if the farmer doesn't fix the problem in time. This is huge considering in South Korea there are more than 450 eel farms. The aim of the software is to collect real-time data and transmit it wirelessly over the company's 4G mobile network to its central IoT platform.
Farmers receive emergency alerts to a Care4Fish app on their smartphones, enabling them to monitor the water quality remotely. During trials over a period of three months, six wireless emergency alerts were issued to an eel farmer's smartphone, successfully preventing the loss of almost 12 tonnes of eels.
Providing the real-time monitoring feature and optimal information on fish farming, the management system is expected to enhance productivity of farming business while bringing revolutionary change to the farm management process by enabling farmers to manage risk factors simply with their smartphones.
Meanwhile, the smart farm management project is partly funded by the government as it was selected as a public-private partnership technology project by SMBA (Small and Medium Business Administration) last July.
In Ireland, a cow and its calf can often die during birth mostly when the farmer is not there to help. When an App founder of Moocall, Niall Austin lost a cow and a calf this way, he sought a solution to the problem. "He had noticed what a lot of other farmers had, that cows move their tails when they are about to calve, and he thought there was something non-invasive that could be done using that knowledge." He developed an App which correctly predicts when a cow will calve 95% of the time, the company says.
This non-invasive, tail mounted sensor gathers over 600 pieces of data a second. It can accurately predict when a cow is most likely to give birth by measuring tail movement patterns. When they reach a certain level of intensity over a period of time it then sends an SMS text alert directly to your cell phone on average 1 hour prior to calving.
Farmers receive a simple text message identifying the individual cow that's about to calve, and the system can work over the basic GSM mobile network – 3G and 4G will come later.
"This product interested me from the start and while I felt I may be taking a gamble, I felt that if it only saved 1 calf it would be worth it. End Result 26 cows, 26 calves. OK, 23 calved unassisted, but the other 3 needed help and moocall can claim responsibility for ensuring that I was there to assist. This in my mind, is the best farming product to come on the market for some time." said Michael Brosnan, Killarney, Ireland
With any new technology it takes people time to figure out how they can use it to their advantage. A lot of the time problems are not with technology but with the person operating the application.
These examples just show how rapidly tech in agriculture is growing. And that IoT will eventually become a part of everyday life – in the city and the country – nationwide. In a new era where all things are digitally connected, ICT, including IoT, is raising productivity and bring innovation to traditional industries.