The agriculture industry is scrutinized for the waste that can result from overproduction, over-consumption, and supply chain issues. Overproduction leads to a great waste of water, energy, and labor. Other challenges faced by the industry are the increased carbon footprint, high levels of deforestation, and land degradation.
Wireless Technologies in Smart Agriculture
Wireless connectivity can enhance and optimize conventional farming operations and with the help of sensors, robots, computer imaging, and analytical tools, farmers can gain control over their livestock and crops. By simplifying labor-intensive tasks and making farming more predictable, farmers improve efficiency and see economic benefits from the first harvest. Wireless connectivity is seeing great traction across a great range of smart agriculture applications.
Climate Conditions Monitoring
Sensors monitor the field conditions and map the climate condition, to choose the appropriate crop and improve capacity.
Accurate real-time information on greenhouse conditions such as soil condition, lighting, temperature, and humidity.
Detect anomalies and effectively prevent any diseases and infestations that can harm the yield, based on sensor data specific to crop farming.
Cattle Management and Monitoring
Sensors attached to cattle to monitor their health and identify sick animals to separate them from the herd and avoid contamination.
Based on sensor data, farmers get to estimate the optimal amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides that their crops need, reduce expenses, and raise better and healthier crops.
Data analytics tools help make farming, which is inherently highly dependent on weather conditions, more manageable, and predictable.
Silicon Labs Wireless Solutions
Silicon Labs empowers IoT device makers to engineer reliable wireless solutions for every farm. Our portfolio of wireless SoCs enables long range, ultra-low power, best-in-class RF performance, and low latency Sub-GHz solutions.
Wi-SUN Technology for a Non-Proprietary Smart Agriculture Solution
Wi-SUN FAN (Field Area Network) technology is ideally suited to outdoor IoT networks as it offers a good range and an ability to support dense networks due to its mesh topology. Silicon Labs' Series 2 family of wireless SoCs - EFR32FG25 has support for Wi-SUN FAN 1.1 spec, which consists of multiple radios and a 32-bit ARM® a Cortex®-M33 core with 97.5 MHz platform.
Proprietary Networks for Smart Agriculture
While Wi-SUN is a great fit for some applications, there are others that are better suited for a proprietary approach. These applications don’t need the complexity and overhead that come with a standardized mesh approach or may have mobile assets that are not easily supported by standardized approaches. With devices like the EFR32FG23, customers can develop their own low power, point to point or star networks.
Ubiquitous Wi-Fi for Backend Connections
When transmitting field data via the sensor network to the back end or the cloud, Wi-Fi becomes a great connectivity option. Wi-Fi supports irrigation management systems, which don’t require high data throughput, yet demand robust wireless connectivity and a good range.
Key Design Considerations for Smart Agriculture Technology
Let’s explore the application-specific requirements which might be useful during the design stage.
Battery Life for Remote Sensors
When monitoring livestock and crops via remote sensors and tags, if the battery dies, a farmer may lose their harvest, miss out on a registered event, or a machine may halt production.
In agriculture, transmission distances can vary up to several tens of kilometers, making wireless range and reliability of utmost importance. The Silicon Labs sub-GHz wireless solutions come to maximize range and ensure your devices perform flawlessly in all circumstances.
Easy Device Commissioning for Large Networks
Real-time monitoring across an average farm could translate into half a million data points per day. When installing a great number of sensors and tags, easy device installation and commissioning needs to happen within minutes and with next to zero hassle.
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