How 5G Powers Agri Technology to Revolutionize India's Agriculture Sector
Agriculture is the oldest profession and the backbone of the Indian economy. It has witnessed phenomenal growth in the past few years, taking the country from food shortage to sufficiency to surplus. However, even though around 60% of the country's workforce is engaged in agriculture, they only contribute to approximately 18% of India's GDP. Why? Because of wastages, attrition of natural resources, like water and energy, overuse of fertilizers & pesticides, and other inefficiencies of the present agriculture system.
So, how is India addressing this challenge? Agriculture Technology. India has witnessed a resurgence of the agriculture industry in the past few years thanks to the new age and sophisticated techniques like Robotics, GPS, soil, weather, and moisture mapping through big data, IoT (Internet of Things), etc. These are helping make the sector more productive, efficient, profitable, safer, and environmentally friendly. Agriculture is moving towards lean and innovative management and digitalization, leading to a shift of focus in big data from technological innovation to application innovation.
This is where 5G, supporting higher bandwidth, lower latency, and significantly faster internet speeds (as much as 100 times faster than 4G), will help bring about an unprecedented digital transformation.
How 5G Powers the Agriculture Industry
5G will power the agriculture industry to harness the next-gen agri-technology to improve productivity and operational efficiency and facilitate the evolution of smart agriculture. It will unlock numerous use cases in agriculture and enable many exciting possibilities for the future of smart farms, improving their capabilities to harness the value of data.
7 ways 5G will power next-gen technologies and transform India's agriculture industry
From deploying autonomous drones to inspect crops using AI, applying pesticides with precision, a better understanding of water consumption, and applying irrigation systems based on accurate data, future farms will rely on 5G. Discover seven ways 5G will power agri-technology to transform the agriculture industry.
1. Precision Farming
Precision farming is all about the accurate treatment of crops. It's about optimizing inputs from water, energy, and fertilizer to insecticides, which helps the farmers identify and cater to the exact requirement of each row of plants, rather than treating an entire field the same. With 5G supporting Machine to Machine (M2M) services, the operation becomes more efficient as it allows the machines to be controlled centrally and data transfer sent in real-time, speeding up the processes.
2. Autonomous Agricultural Vehicles
Autonomous farming vehicles like tractors, excavators, etc., can be fitted with 5G-enabled devices, which allow them to be operated remotely. Farmers can also monitor the status remotely from their cell phones for images and live data. Autonomous farming equipment also allows the operators to remotely adjust the vehicles' speed, distance between rows, soil penetration depth, etc., making the operations more flexible and efficient while saving labor costs.
5G-powered drones, fitted with multispectral sensors, can be used to analyze the crops' nutrient status by Digital Soil Mapping. Further integration of this data with weather and other agronomic information can help optimize fertilizers and other plant nutrients for a specific area. 5G-enabled drones can also detect pests, diseases, and weeds and spray pesticides at precise locations after analyzing data by an AI algorithm. These can collect real-time information in high-resolution videos and relay it faster to improve efficiency.
4. Real-time Livestock Tracking
5G promises to transform livestock monitoring and management. 5G will enable connectivity and geolocation services to locate and monitor valuable livestock, reducing the cost and increasing the performance of existing livestock monitoring solutions. India is the largest consumer of dairy products globally, but our cattle productivity is low. Using 5G-enabled sensors, farmers can monitor pests and diseases in farm animals and even treat them remotely, if required. They can also monitor animals' behavior, feeding patterns, health, food and water quality, and hygiene levels. Their location can be tracked and traced.
5. High-Tech Irrigation Techniques
Irrigation is among the most evolved areas in agriculture that uses technology to improve the efficiency and sustainability of natural resources like water. New techniques like sprinkler and drip irrigation play a pivotal role in optimizing water usage in the fields, and 5G helps in ensuring these are used efficiently. 5G-enabled sensors give accurate and real-time information on soil moisture, weather, and other critical field-related data on phones and computers, supporting farmers in making informed irrigation control decisions and achieving better yields.
6. Weather Forecast
5G-enabled weather stations can help farmers monitor wind speed, direction, temperature, humidity levels, air pressure, etc., specific to their farms in real time. These play a crucial role in farm management.
7. Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
A reliable 5G network helps in the quick and timely flow of ICT-enabled information in the villages to oversee the movement of produce from farms to markets, improving traceability. Using 5G technology, various government and private institutions can do real-time inventory and stock management in Anaj Mandis and train farmers to use agri-technology by digitizing the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs).
The Future of the 5G-enabled Agriculture Sector
5G will unlock a wide range of next-gen technologies for the farming industry. Combined with other technologies, it will revolutionize the sector by making farming more precise and data-driven, enabling future farmers to use more data and fewer pesticides. 5G will help farmers progress from a generic one-size-fits-all approach for water and pesticide use, crop yield, and waste management to a customized approach to farm management. It will optimize natural resources like water and energy and maximize the usage of drop and livestock resources. To sum up, 5G will power the application of advanced agro technologies to transform the agriculture industry, facilitating the evolution of smart agriculture.
Leverage Amantya’s Homegrown 5G Lab Solution to Test & Accelerate 5G Agro-Tech Use Cases
To truly benefit from the above use cases, they must leverage the power of 5G fully and deliver immersive and flawless digital experiences. More so in the current era of complex ecosystems and high consumer expectations where the slightest aberration can risk losing the competitive edge, innovation, market opportunity, customers, and revenue. Therefore, the pivotal role of comprehensive and intelligent testing in ensuring Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS) at every stage of 5G, from development to deployment, cannot be stressed enough. Amantya's state-of-the-art 5G Lab Solution, built using our latest unique offering, 5G Network-in-a-Box, is a one-stop solution to test and optimize 5G products in a live test environment. It is a proving ground for organizations to pre-validate their solutions to current 3GPP standards, and test them for interoperability with third-party integrations, helping speed up the innovation cycle and reducing time-to-market.
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