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Smart Sensor Solution for Horticulture Market

Global Horticulture
– Sambit Sengupta, Associate Director – Field Applications | Avnet India

Global horticulture market, especially in India, is growing at a scorching pace. India’s horticulture production is estimated to rise by 1 per cent to record 314.67 million tonnes in 2018-19. According to government reports, this growth is 10 percent higher than the past five years’ average production.The horticulture stress can be attributed mainly to a shift towards short duration crops. In India, there are many marginal farmers who grow horticulture produce in small patches of land. With shrinking land holdings and a lack of proper land titles, these farmers are fast turning to horticulture for quick returns. Large landowners also earn more margin from horticulture. As a result,we see a horticulture boom sweeping India. Today’s horticulture industry is data centered, precise, and smarter than ever. The internet of things allows farmers to stay connected to their fields like never before. Using a sensor based smart solution, farmers can become more effective and efficient. Most horticulturists or farmers consider maintaining a healthy soil moisture and water balance as the most essential parameters for producing high quality horticultural crops. Under-watered plants suffer from nutrient deficiencies, stunting and wilting. Conversely, overwatering causes plants to be susceptible to diseases and less tolerant to dry conditions. Addressing the concerns of its customers, Avnet India developed a new solution that allows local farmers to remotely access real-time information about rainfall, temperature changes, wind conditions, air pressure, and humidity for their precise location. This optimizes labor, water usage and crop health to employ precision agriculture.

The smart sensor solution is easy to install and maintain. Farmers simply have to insert the rugged sensor into the soil to be tested, and the volumetric water content of the soil is reported in percentage along with other parameters (at multiple levels).

This is how the system architecture of the solution looks like:

The sensors in the agricultural produce can be connected to the application server in multiple ways, such as using public low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) like LoRa or Sigfox. After which, they can be connected to a platform like IoTConnect, which provides ready-to-use data visualization as well as analytics that can be customized to a large extent if required by the deployment scenario. The ready-to-go app pairs them with any smartphone through BLE.

Sensor DataThe major features of this solution include:

  1. Measurement of volumetric water content in the soil
  2. Capacitance-type sensor responds immediately to changes in soil moisture content for better irrigation decisions
  3. The major parameters being measure are: soil moisture, soil temperature, air temperature, air humidity, light intensity and battery status
  4. LoRa, Sigfox and BLE connectivity options
  5. Easy parameters configuration through mobile app
  6. Data visualization and analytics using IoTConnect platform By maintaining optimal conditions that minimize plant stress, the sensor solution enables farmers to make better crop management decisions and increase horticulture production. Avnet’s capabilities and connected ecosystem provide a holistic approach to smart horticulture solutions for the next generation.

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