India Mobile Congress: How 5G technology can boost agriculture production?
One such application of 5G in smart farming solutions is displayed in the ongoing India Mobile Congress, the event where 5G was launched on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally introduced 5G services in India last Saturday. Promised to transmit high-speed internet like never before, with low latency and more stability, this new age technology is set to bolster the digital revolution of India.
One such application of 5G is smart farming solutions, displayed in the ongoing India Mobile Congress, the event where 5G was launched on Saturday.
A joint initiative of telecom major Airtel, along with a leading manufacturing firm L&T Smart World and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC)-backed AgroW Smart, is working to raise the yield of agricultural produce by integrating smart sensors and controllers in agricultural fields.
These sensors sense the crop and soil conditions. The data is then sent for processing to a 5G powered cloud-based infrastructure, which outputs suggestions for optimal farming practice for the farmers on their smartphone through an app.
“For a plant to give optimum yield and also for getting optimum growth of the plant, the particular parameters have to be in the soil. Moisture, temperature, everything has to be kept at a particular range,” Anish Sathyan, Joint Director in Control & Instrumentation Group of CDAC Thiruvananthapuram, told Hindustan Times.
To maintain it, he informs, the feed of controllers and sensor wires are used to keep a particular threshold value or within the limits.
The idea is to artificially maintain the natural condition conducive to the plants by continuously monitoring the crop with sensors and drones in real-time and commanding the change to maintain the level, if required.
This technology is boosting the lifespan of the plant and the quality of the yield. This aims to reduce the cost of cultivation by reducing labour costs and electricity charges. The CDAC official explains, “We are giving enough water whenever and wherever it is required to the plant roots. So eventually the water usage and electricity usage will come down.”
They are also displaying a climate resilient farming chamber which maintains the atmospheric temperature or parameters. This will help in diversifying farming, as crops which are usually not suitable in the particular area’s climate can also be grown by bringing the required parameters in the climate resilient farming chamber. “Capsicum needs a temperature within 22 to 28 degrees Celsius. So with this setup, we could maintain the temperature within that range,” Sathyan says.
Drone camera-based system is also used to analyse plant leaves. It takes plant leaf images at regular intervals to identify any disease in the crop. After comparing the images with existing data, the system finds symptoms of the disease and also chalks out a solution with help of agricultural scientists in very little time. The app informs the farmer so that he/she can take precautionary steps in time.
With the 5G network, it becomes workable to transmit huge data in real-time. So with the introduction of 5G, experts believe, this type of solution will see drastic improvements.
But the smart solution comes with its attached cost, which needs to be affordable enough for farmers to enthusiastically apply the innovation in actual practice.
Even so, the exhibitors are hopeful that the solution will gain traction. “Already we have completed more than three installation in Kerala and from farmers' own words, he could go breakthrough in two years,” Sathyan adds, stressing that it will be a good one time investment.