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Big Data in agriculture: what they are and why they are useful

Big Data is the term for the large amount of data collected continuously and in real time by instruments specially made. Big Data, in fact, has exploded with the Internet of Things (IoT), the systems composed of devices that act automatically based on preset rules and that communicate with each other via the network.
They are advanced systems, but easy to use and, above all, independent, in the sense that once they are positioned they do not need manual intervention.

The IoT (Internet of Things) tools give rise to a data communication chain in which we can distinguish the following stages

collection – transmission – processing – action

AURORAS  has committed to make all this possible also in agriculture with systems created ad hoc.

But how?

It all starts in the field: wireless sensors are located in the vineyard / orchard / field where they collect data in order to support agricultural management (e.g. soil moisture to know when to water, electrical conductivity to know the composition of the soil, leaf wetness to watch over the health of plants … there is a sensor for every need).

The AURORAS wireless sensors transmit the data automatically to the Service Center where they are stored. At this point the processing step takes over (analytics): based on a software program developed in-house data are processed to achieve predictions of fungal diseases, frost etc. Alerts are sent automatically – via text message or email – when a dangerous condition arises.

Not only. The data relating to the physio-pathological conditions of the plant and to the micro-climate are visible in real time from any internet-connected device (PC, tablet, mobile phone). Data then return “to the field” and provide the farmer the opportunity to act not only based on experience but also with the support of reliable information.

( SAVE CROP graphs )

It is possible to realize an even more complete system, integrating wireless actuators which, on the basis of data provided by wireless sensors, trigger automatic actions such as the start of pumps for irrigation or the control of valves.

AURORAS offers the advantage of adopting an extremely effective network protocol, LoRaWAN. LoRaWAN, in fact, is the most innovative protocol and allows to transmit data over long distances (as tested) and in the presence of natural obstacles (case history in the Land of Prosecco with advanced monitoring system of the vineyard SAVE GRAPE).

Big Data obtained from these IoT (Internet of Things) systems allow to:

  • identify trends that the mere use of wireless sensors can not reveal;
  • act on the basis of a scientific support,
  • intervene promptly and accurately,
  • target actions to the true requirements of the plant or soil, and then,
    • save work  hours,
    • reduce the number and cost of plant protection treatments
    • dose the fertilizers and reduce spending,
    • optimize water consumption.

( fertigation system in a greenhouse )

Not only that, in a greater vision, the use of Big Data in agriculture could

  • attract the interest of the food industry
  • allow to choose the type of crops according to market demands
  • support a more sustainable and organic production, minimizing or eliminating pesticide residues
  • make more efficient the supply chain.

The Big Data are therefore information which are distinguished by
the volume – the speed – the variety
and allow you to make in every stage of production
the best decision.

 





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