Internet of things for monitoring environmental conditions in greenhouses: a case of Kiambu County
Efficient management of greenhouse farming is a challenge to ensure high yield production. This is a great challenge to farmers who do not have a reliable mechanism to ensure the optimum environmental conditions for their crops. Farmers are opting to look for solutions from technologies such as Machine to Machine and Internet of Things. Machine to Machine Communication refers to solutions that allow communication between devices of the same type and a specific application through wired or wireless communication networks. Moreover, Internet of Things is a connection of physical things to the internet which makes it possible to access remote data and control the physical world from a distance. These types of solutions allow end-users to capture data about events and transfer it to other devices but they do not allow broad sharing of data or connection of the devices directly to the Internet. In this thesis, the researcher investigated the use of machine to machine communication by having small electronic devices equipped with sensors that when deployed in a farm they can record the environmental conditions and communicates the information to the farmers. Moreover, the different types of crops grown in greenhouses at Kiambu County. Thereafter, the information was analyzed and sent to relevant end users such as the farmer and a metrological department that will enable them to monitor and adapt to the environmental conditions. The research used applied method of research, interviews and questionnaires to gather data. Therefore, an IoT prototype was developed to gather the critical environmental conditions in a greenhouse. The recorded data was transmitted by wireless networks using machine to machine (M2M) technologies from the sensors to the cloud platform, Intel IoT analytics dashboard, for real-time predictive analysis of the environmental parameters. An email notification was sent to alert the farmers when the parameters exceeded the threshold which were preset. This IoT prototype was used in small to large commercial indoor operations as well as small personal gardens.