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Oz Agriculture, Not Traffic Lights, Seen As Major Winner From IoT

Many people imagine that the much-promoted Internet of Things is a big-city affair – connecting and organising matters like street lighting, traffic lights, parking spaces, road signage, elevators, trucking fleets, water and electricity supply systems and the like.

In fact, says Paul Budde, the newly independent communications industry observer, researcher and commentator, one of the first and biggest industries likely to benefit from IoT is – agriculture.

It is he says, “one of the key industries where the Internet of Things can make a significant contribution to Australia’s future growth and competitiveness”.

“The future of farming is in collecting and analysing big data in order to maximise efficiency, mitigate risk and drive productivity,” he says on his BuddeBlog site.

“Connected farmers will be able to monitor and understand a broad range of specific areas of their farm without physically checking – from soil moisture, paddock-specific rainfall, critical water infrastructure, track livestock movements, and remotely control irrigation and other on-farm resources.”

The notion of IoT-connected farms is already taking shape in Australia, Budde says. He instances a joint venture launched between Discovery Ag and the National Narrowband Network Co. This involves establishment of a new company, Connected Country, to build and operate a nationwide Rural Internet of Things (RIoT) network.

Rollout of the network started in mid-2017 and will initially cover one million acres in NSW. Key partners include Cisco and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

By analysing matters such as soil moisture and rainfall across different parts of a farm, Budde says, the loT network will help farmers make decisions about when and where to irrigate, what to plant in which paddock, what chemicals and fertilisers to use, and when to harvest.

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