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Sep 26 2016

Old MacDonald gets a “Smart” Farm

Twitter: @Jishnu_Dasgupta

Nokia’s Systems Integration team in India shows how a service led approach to the Internet of Things can solve the agricultural challenge.

India, Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala region. Photos courtesty of Viktoria Pal.

Old MacDonald’s diversification into the Indian agricultural sector wasn’t going very well.

The average yield per acre in India is only about 30-40% of the world’s most efficient agrarian economies1. Productivity inefficiencies, coupled with the vagaries of erratic rains have a severe impact on farming. While various government agencies aim to help sustain the business of farming in India, they do so through financial support. However the ballooning subsidies bill is unsustainable. For reference, fertilizers subsidies alone are equivalent to 0.5% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).2

India is not alone in this situation. It is critical for countries across the world to revolutionize the agricultural sector to improve yield efficiency while optimizing usage of fertilizers and other crop inputs.

Our India Systems Integration (SI) team is taking an innovative IoT-based approach to address these types of critical challenges that have a major macroeconomic impact.

Keeping the ubiquitous “tractor” as the central focus, Nokia Systems Integration experts engaged with an ecosystem of partners including business consulting organizations, operators, farming agencies, heavy equipment makers, and device and sensor OEMs to create a flexible and low cost “Connected Smart Farming” solution to solve the agricultural challenge. Agricultural needs were translated into technical design inputs based on parameters like cost, size, feature-set, security, connectivity and interface type for device/sensor partners. Our site solution experts also contributed with key design inputs on where sensors need to be placed for optimal connectivity, and what sort of casing is required to ensure high reliability and shielding from electromagnetic interference.

It’s estimated that a government led initiative for widespread adoption of this solution could result in a fertilizer subsidy saving in excess of $2 billion annually for India alone3.

The solution uses data received from soil based sensors, crop health sensing sensors and calibrated hyper spectral camera imaging devices to analyze presence of nutrients or identify diseased plants and weed infested areas. The solution also enables a variable rate precision farming approach. Location based solutions coupled with tractor based ultrasonic sensors help identify specific locations within the field where crop inputs like fertilizers are needed most. Ultrasonic sensor based spraying ensures minimal wastage by ensuring crop inputs are applied on crop areas instead of in the gaps. Opportunity costs associated with forced idle time due to equipment breakdown are also significantly reduced through tractor telematics based preventive maintenance.

Empowered by our Nokia Connected Smart Farming solution, farmers can now take necessary actions to increase potential average yield by anything between 10-50%. Additionally, the variable rate precision farming approach presents a potential saving in crop inputs of nearly 20% versus a uniform approach. “The Internet of Things is a cornerstone of Nokia’s strategy for the connected world and can significantly benefit the global economy,” says Sanjay Raina, Head of SI Engagement India/ APAC “We have shown how a service led approach combining the right expertise, products, applications and partner ecosystem can result in IoT game-changers.”

Visit our website for more on IoT including:

IoT for Service ProvidersIoT for the Automotive Fleet IndustryIoT for UtilitiesIoT for Smart CitiesIoT for Automotive

1. "World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030. An FAO perspective 2. “Reforming the Fertiliser Sector”, Pg 24 , 2015-2016 India Economic Survey 3. Subsidy saving calculation = Subsidy Bill / Exchange Rate *20% Fertilizer usage reduction (Exchange rate considered for calculation 1 US$= 70 INR)

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About Jishnu Dasgupta

Jishnu is responsible for Nokia Networks IoT Services Marketing. He’s a lover of life-hacks and any technology that gives him more time with twin passions of music and automobiles. His dream of coasting along the French Riviera in a Ferrari convertible is currently replaced with rush hour crawls in his PeopleWagon.