|By Scott Allen
|March 7, 2017 03:52 PM EST
Precision agriculture has long been one of the leading industries for deploying cutting-edge OEM technology. Autonomous vehicles, sensor systems and data-driven analytics are all examples of technology that the precision ag industry embraced well ahead of widespread adoption. Today, precision agriculture is responsible for a sizable portion of our national economy, and the accompanying technology appears poised to push management practices even further into the realm of the Industrial IoT. This week, we’re highlighting two tech trends driven by the growth of next-gen OEM technology and looking at the effect those technologies are having on the industry as a whole.
Perhaps one of the most immediately obvious areas of development is the commercial drone industry – specifically, as it applies to its application in precision agriculture. Research and Markets announced last week that it expects the agriculture drone market to reach $3.7 billion by 2024 – a scant seven years down the road. The report cites innovations in GPS mapping, OEM systems that incorporate advanced analytics, and an increase in the automation of the agriculture process as driving factors in the expected market boom.
On a Commercial Drones FM podcast, Thomas Haun, VP of strategy and globalization for PrecisionHawk, discussed the accelerated convergence of commercial drone hardware and software. He looks at drones as having the unprecedented ability to redefine and change the foundational verticals due to the innovative applications that are being enabled by advanced hardware and software. Even though precision agriculture has never been shy about leading-edge technology, drones may just upend the industry even more than most analyst originally predicted.
OEM and IoT via Satellite
Northern Sky Research recently looked at how OEM is intersecting with IoT powered by GPS and satellite technology. The report notes that most new installs of M2M and IoT technologies will be powered by precision GPS:
This is a more data-intensive type of data gathering for Agriculture applications, where data points such as machine performance, moisture levels, pesticide levels and other characteristics are all harvested and optimized on a higher resolution coordinate system in the field, essentially, a real ‘smart farm.’
The deployment of precision GPS technology is a notable departure from the traditional meter-reading applications that have driven agriculture technology in the past. These new ‘real smart farms’ will have the ability to collect that data run real-time decision making powered by data analytics. The report also highlights the expected boom in partnerships with agricultural equipment manufacturers, driven mostly by the growth in the “number of OEM installs in farming equipment such as forklifts, tractors and dozers …” The result looks something like a smart network with proprietary third-party applications responsible for delivering automated, data-informed decision making in real time.
Intelligence at the Farm’s Edge
If the two trends mentioned above come to fruition, the precision agriculture industry will see a successful transition from ‘big’ data to ‘smart’ data. If programmable OEM technology can be integrated into new and existing farm systems, the industry will see intelligence and analytics being deployed closer to the edge – the point of data collection – than ever before. Drones are becoming critical tools of for data collection and asset monitoring, and as GPS precision continues the improve, the farming industry is poised to reap the benefits of increased data-driven intelligence.