Over the last decade, the global agricultural industry has witnessed a massive transformation owing to the increasing demand for sustainable farming practices. Rising global population and high-income growth have resulted in growing concerns of food security across the world. Various agricultural start-ups and technology innovators are developing numerous sustainable farming systems.
One of the most disruptive technologies in the field of smart agriculture has been the internet of things (IoT) due to its increasing role in the field. Agriculture industry’s interest in IoT based farming has been evolving rapidly with applicability in various verticals, such as crop farm management, livestock monitoring, indoor farming, and aquaculture. The advantages of the IoT technology for agriculture are wide-ranging from farmers to equipment manufacturers to internet service providers. Adoption of IoT technology in the farming industry results in increased agricultural productivity and sustainability.
The IoT technologies have completely transformed the agriculture sector by providing decision support systems, supported by real time data that is gathered by utilizing the most modern technologies. IoT in agriculture is an ecosystem comprising wide-ranging components. It enables the user to gain a multifaceted view of the farming operations and also contributes to decision making. IoT technologies actively assist in collecting data regarding crop and soil behavior, animal/cattle conditions & their locations, agricultural machines, and inventory status, among others, with the combination of different technologies such as sensors, cloud computing, RFID tags, and data management software, in one system.
With the rapid introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) since 2008, the farming industry has been witnessing another revolutionary phase. Integration of sensing systems into farming equipment has led to the generation of large amounts of data that can be analyzed using software tools, providing farmers with valuable insights to promote yield growth. Moreover, incorporation of navigation systems into agricultural machinery and equipment has led to their precise movement and application in the field. Earlier, the use of IoT in agriculture was restricted to large farm operations that could invest in the IT infrastructure and other technology resources. However, with the rapid advancements in technology, the application of IoT in agriculture sector has gradually moved to farming cooperatives and small-scale farms, from 2013 to till now.
The IoT in agriculture market includes a wide array of systems, such as sensing, communication, cloud computing, and data management. Sensing systems encompass a broad range of systems including different sensors, GPS devices, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Addition of sensing and navigation capabilities makes it even more promising. Site-specific farming and variable rate application are two of the major applications of IoT based solutions; and sensing and navigation components are two of the most critical contributors for its execution.
Major application areas of IoT in agriculture technologies include precision crop farming, livestock monitoring and management, indoor farming, and aquaculture, among others. Precision crop farming represents the most significant application in the market for the IoT based technologies. Precision crop farming has the capability to efficiently utilize water by finely matching irrigation inputs to yields in each area of a field. During the forecast period, application areas, such as aquaculture and indoor farming are expected to display the maximum growth, owing to the high possibilities of value addition in these application areas.
Livestock monitoring and management applications also present colossal market growth opportunities. With the globally growing demand for livestock products, innovative techniques and systems are employed to aid in the monitoring and management of herds. Automated infrastructure, livestock monitoring equipment, and various other management technologies have enabled livestock enterprises to manage large herds with reduced manual labor requirements and have ensured high productivity. These technologies have given rise to several livestock monitoring and management applications to simplify the complexities of herd management and improve performance.