At the core of the advanced AI, IoT, big data and analytics-based solutions for smart farming is the collection and analysis of data for generating real-time relevant insights at scale and speed, leading to phenomenally higher yield and better utilization of resources.
With human population expected to touch nearly 10 billion by 2050 (according to U.N report), the earth’s landmass will come under tremendous strain to meet our food needs. Additionally, the mounting problems of global warming, deforestation, soil erosion and the depleting water resources, pose serious challenges to farm productivity.
However, the evolution of technologies such as AI, Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning, big data analytics, is encouraging the use of smart machines and intelligent robots in agriculture. Called precision or smart agriculture, these technologies are paving the way for improving agriculture yield with the limited natural resources we have to feed a burgeoning global population.
The global precision farming/agriculture market was valued at USD 5.3 Billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 14.1 billion by the year 2026, at a CAGR of 12.7% (Source: Reports and Data)
The rise in precision and smart agriculture
The major drivers for the rise in smart agriculture/precision agriculture market includes increased strain on global food supplies, the need for optimizing crop production and the introduction of government initiatives promoting modern technology-induced agricultural techniques.
We are evolving towards an AI-enabled smart precision agriculture and smart connected farm culture where technology dictates and empowers a farmer in a truly rewarding way. Since ages, farmers world-over, especially in Asian countries, have been waging battle with all sorts of external and internal factors such as unpredictable hostile weather, pest problems, water shortage or even drought. Now, the trend can be reversed with AI and big data analytics, which has emerged as a true revelation benefitting the farmer community.
Advanced digital technology can be used to optimize every inch of farmland so that no part of the farmland goes unused or is left wasted, unlike what happens with traditional farming. Today's smart technology ensures every plant is scanned for the health and growth tracking, and any persisting pest problems are identified and notified to the farmer - something which is not possible with traditional agriculture methods.
AI combined with big data, cloud, IoT and ML is transforming rural farmlands with a range of data-driven solutions- from automatic detection of drought patterns to tracing the ripening patterns of apples or tomatoes, to smart tractors that weed out the diseased and sick plants.
Today, drones are extensively used in agriculture for research analysis, safety, rescue, terrain scanning, spatial analysis, monitoring soil hydration, identifying yield problems, etc. These smart drones even pinpoint and precisely spray pesticides on diseased plants in the vast expanse of farmlands, help add micro and macronutrients, check physical properties such as moisture, chemical properties, pH balance by adding lime, etc.
Precision agriculture along with an AI-powered application helps farmers identify the disease that has crippled the plant and later, match it from the list of its disease imagery database, and get corrective measures. This is just one of the almost endless possibilities with AI and data analytics in precision agriculture. The data and analytics provide the insights farmers need to make the right interventions at the right time.
The role of AI and analytics in smart farms
An AI-driven technology solution must be able to offer insights that will help farmers produce significantly higher yields. Building smart solutions involves staging multiple data points in large agricultural farms, collecting precise and pertinent information from those data points and various edge devices like drones, sensors, and smart cameras, and combining these with intelligent monitoring and analytics systems to provide relevant information to the farmer.
Innominds solutions for precision agriculture
Autonomous AI platform: Our award-winning, iFusionTM analytics platform has AI and ML capabilities, and its inference engine has a seamless capability of collecting and processing huge amounts of data coming from multiple heterogeneous sources like sensors, drones, and various IoT-enabled connected/edge devices.
iFusionTM can seamlessly process a large number of nodes in milliseconds. The collected and analysed data is shown in highly visual dashboards, as customizable accurate agriculture reports/analysis, helping farmers take fast and smart decisions (decision agriculture).
We have helped global farming, agriculture and food companies with our cutting-edge emerging technology solutions. Combined with our iFusionTM- Edge platform edition (for running secure, real-time scalable IoT applications), we leverage our end-to-end devices, apps and analytics, hardware, software/embedded engineering and IoT expertise to create IoT-powered and connected smart, edge devices such as smart sensors, drone solutions, monitoring systems, etc., which are the lifeline of precision agriculture solutions.
Our geospatial analysis solutions provide farmers with fast, timely and relevant information via highly visual real-time analytics. The insights provide farmers with information pertaining to the right time to sow, soil analysis, amount of water and nutrients required and weather updates which enable farmers to adapt to the changing weather and make data-informed fast decisions.
For sure, precision agriculture and smart agriculture in the future, powered by technologies like AI along with big data analytics, IoT, AI, ML, DL will help agriculture take a quantum leap. It will make agriculture and farming more lucrative providing farmers with huge profit margins.
Blockchain for higher livestock and fish farm yields
AI combined with ML, big data analytics and IoT-powered smart edge devices like GPS, drones, sensors, RFID and LED lights is also revolutionizing livestock and fish farming.
Blockchain is now the new kid on the technology block in the agriculture space. Blockchain solutions are helping ensure transparency, faster processing time, zero-time lag whilst upholding superior accountability, all attributes contributing to a thorough optimization of farmers' supply chain produce, thus adding real value.
Maximizing farm output by a factor of 6X
Farmers can turn their dreams into reality of assured increased farm output of up to 5-6 times per acre by embracing and adopting future smart technologies into agricultural practices thereby, making the most out of every acre. By any standard, that is an impressive number. Like never before, today’s technology is empowering farmers to take a giant leap forward, thereby dramatically improving their quality of life. From a farmer’s point of view, it’s a big miracle happening in their small farm place.
Digital technology tools powering the next green revolution
The AI technology has become so advanced that now-a-days we have tractor machinery that weeds out the infected plants and satellite imagery giving pictures of drought patterns. AI-powered plant app ‘Plantix’, for example, proved to be a true blessing for the farmers. It is a plant disease and diagnostic tool, which furnishes complete information on plants. It helps in identifying the plant disease and suggests corrective measures to be taken by farmers.
So, forget the naysayers! It’s already happening, the future of agriculture is in the hands of the smart technologies and machines, and the early adopters will surely be rewarded.
Although the cost part is not yet clear but one thing is for sure, with more and more technology players entering the market, the growing competition brings efficacy and cost reduction resulting in mass adoption. Not just farmers, but we all will benefit from improved agricultural outcomes and high food productivity. Farmers can not only get rid of their long-standing agricultural woes but also reap huge profits from limited farmland they have by turning them from ‘small’ to ‘smart.’
But, to turn this into reality, the industry thought leaders, technology companies and agriculture experts should collaborate and work continuously to improve, innovate and harness the potential of AI. Also, governments across the globe should spread the message on how important precision agriculture is to the farmers by educating and encouraging them to embrace emerging technologies like AI, which is proving to be a game-changer having tremendous potential to improve farm yield productivity.
Discover how Machine Learning, AI Ops, Big Data, and Cloud technologies are transforming agriculture and how you can benefit from these technologies. Join us at the IoT Forum Africa 2021 for the session on “Transforming the Future of AgTech”.
Register here for free: https://itnewsafrica.com/events/event/iot-forum-africa/
The early adopters of AI and other emerging technologies will have a significant advantage in farming. It will help farmers with an increased farm output, better wealth, and most importantly, make precision agriculture and sustainable farming a reality benefitting mankind.