Low power wide area networks-driven precision farming
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Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) have become a popular low-rate long-range radio communication technology globally. Sigfox, LoRa, and NB-IoT are the three leading LPWAN technologies competing for large-scale IoT deployment. To achieve the UN SDG 2 (zero hunger), companies and organisations are integrating technology with existing frameworks to enable precision farming. Internet of Things (IoT) is the leading technology for this application. The implementation of techniques to sense changing soil parameters and weather parameters directly from the farm requires use of low powered sensors and networks that can send data to the cloud. This is because farm- monitoring sensors are typically deployed far from WiFi networks and cannot rely on Bluetooth connections. On the other hand, GSM/GPRS technologies are both costly and power-intensive. Low power wide area networks are thus essential in the transmission of data to the cloud to guarantee long term running of sensors and deliver the desired value to farmers. Through farm-data driven analysis integrated with predictive analytics, farmers can determine the best input for their farms, schedule irrigation (manual or automated) and study the trends from their farms to decide on the best crops to grow now and in the future. This paper demonstrates an end-to-end system design that collects data from the farm and utilises LPWAN technology – LoRaWAN in this case – to transmit it to the cloud. It also examines the value analytics can provide to drive precision farming.