Global warming, air pollution, agricultural concerns, water crisis, waste management, and urbanization are only a few of the ecological challenges that we are facing today. Annually, we consume more natural resources than the planet can sustain in a year. In 2019 for example, we’d used a year’s worth of resources by the end of July. To continue at this rate we would need 1.8 planet earth’s to fulfil our needs.
The Industrial Revolution was instrumental in the development of those ecological issues. Can the current technological revolution —and IoT in particular— help us find some solutions to our problems?
In this series of articles, we’ll be looking at a number of ways in which IoT can help us manage our resources more efficiently and reduce our environmental impact… The subject is broad so we’ll be splitting it into several articles, each one looking in more depth at one application such as agriculture, biodiversity preservation, or green cities. We’ll be presenting a few innovations in each field to illustrate how IoT can help in each specific area. If you’d like to suggest some innovations, feel free to email us at energizeIoT@saftbatteries.com, and we’ll add them.
We’ll be creating an infographic to illustrate some of those innovations too. Our aim is to make it more widely known how technology can be put to use to improve the quality of life whilst also reducing our impact on the environment. Feel free to use the infographic as you see fit (just don’t forget to name the source!).
With the rapid growth of the world’s population and accelerating globalization, our demands on the planet have increased manyfold. The UN predicts that the world will require 70 percent more food in 2050 than it did in 2006. Intensive farming methods are no longer seen as the solution as they consume a growing amount of resources. The increased use of pesticides used to improve yields is also responsible for generating more pollution than ever before.
IoT technology can make farming not only smarter but also less damaging to the planet.
Here are a few examples of how this approach has been implemented.
The use of IoT-based smart agriculture applications is in its infancy but we are already seeing encouraging results; More efficient water usage via embedded sensors, drones that collect data on crops and self-driving tractors are but three examples.
In South Africa, Saft supplies batteries to DFM for highly specialized hardware and software solutions; soil moisture probes that monitor critical data in real time and continuously log water levels, salinity, oxygen and plant root development. Read more here:
Battery solutions for smart agriculture - DFM use case
and here: Making farming smarter – and more environmentally friendly
Smart greenhouses are another example of how IoT technology can benefit the farmer. Automating the controlling of shade screens, LED lighting systems, climate control, irrigation and dosing systems and combining this with historical data and crop analytics enables the farmer to increase the efficiency of the plot. This has other beneficial knock-on effects such as releasing the reliance on manual labour allowing workers to focus on other priority tasks.
Italy’s Emilia Romagna region is home to a smart irrigation system provided by Saft’s batteries user Libelium that helps improve the local Kiwi fruit harvest. Using wireless sensor networks connected to a GPRS system, information is collected on water stress conditions enabling swift action to be taken by farmers to alleviate any problems that could impact the health of the fruit.
Technologies such as these are growing necessity in today’s agricultural industry. With challenges like climate change, over-cultivation, and pollution it is important to be able to optimize farming operations and improve the sustainability of agriculture.
By rapidly processing the swathes of data produced by IoT sensors, computer vision, and more, farmers are able to —with the aid of machine learning— make impactful changes to everything from planting to harvesting. And as IoT becomes a more common tool in the agricultural industry, this will enable farmers to more precisely find the answers they need to increase yields and preserve the food supply of the future.