Technology is core to an efficient, sustainable agri-business

Blog published by CW (Cambridge Wireless)

This guest blog has been contributed by Andrew Pockson, Divisional Marketing Manager for Anglia who are gold sponsors of CWIC 2019's Agriculture track.

Find out more about CWIC 2019

Agri-food businesses aim to deliver healthy, quality outputs on a sustainable and resource-efficient basis. Modern communication technologies connecting advanced sensors and cloud based servers are as essential as tractors to these businesses.

Cost effective, robust and compact sensors detect a host of environmental parameters including motion, temperature and more. Omron has just released a single sensor that returns values on seven different environmental parameters from a single compact module.  Sensors such as those from Figaro can accurately detect the presence and level of a specific gas or group of gases.

Powering these sensor modules can be a challenge, as not all agricultural settings offer ready access to mains power. A convenient alternative to battery power is energy harvesting using sunlight, thermal or kinetic energy. Solar panels from Littelfuse supported by integrated circuits (ICs) from STMicroelectronics or Analog Devices have proved highly effective.

Having collected the data, it needs to be transmitted to a central point. Wireless solutions are preferable – both because of the remote location of some of the sensors and because of the vulnerability of wired infrastructure to damage.  Bluetooth, WiFi, LoRa or cellular infrastructure might be the most appropriate approach depending on the range. ST and others offer appropriate low-power, long-range wireless connectivity solutions.

Having processed the data, the central server can influence the environment by adjusting the inputs: deploying water or chemicals as required or adjusting the climate by increasing the level of heating, ventilation or lighting. The ST portfolio of power management and motor control solutions for actuation offer an ideal front end.  

Using such technologies, inputs to fields and animals can be controlled completely and precisely to maximise yields, reduce costs and minimise environmental impact.

Anglia offers technologies to measure all the parameters relevant to modern farming with precision, to transmit the data to the cloud for processing, and to control the environment in response to the resulting analysis. Meet the team at CWIC 2019.

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Missed the CW International Conference 2019? The CW Technology & Engineering Conference will be held on 26th September 2019, find out more.

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