Background

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the population is predicted to increase by 30 percent by 2050 and the world will need to produce 70% more food. Enhancement of crop yield is critical but traditional farming cannot meet such a challenge. As a result, a new strategy should be introduced into farming practice. Internet of Things (IoT) is the revolution of modern farming which can be helpful in this farming challenge. For the sake of farmers, LoRa technology, a popular IoT technology in the LPWAN field, can be a good solution to help farms solve a lot of farming problems in order to create smart agriculture.

Many factors affect the plant’s growth, such as light, water, carbon dioxide, temperature, moisture, soil salinity, pH, nutrients, pest, diseases, and so on. It’s important to learn the crop’s living environment to maximize plant growth. However, there are many difficulties to monitor the environmental conditions of crops in the practice of farming.

Farmers face many pain points such as:

  1. Traditional time-based and volume-based farming strategy cannot precisely and timely respond to subtle environmental change and plant’s need. So it may result in resource waste or insufficiency.
  2. Sensing technology makes it possible for human beings to turn the farming into a data-driven strategy but remain disadvantages of time-wasting, great manpower requirement and on-site testing.
  3. A wire monitoring system can solve this problem but also has defects, such as complicated wiring installation; inflexible sensor installation and difficult troubleshooting.
  4. There are a wide variety of sensors and companies. And it’s hard to choose. Devices from different companies may not be compatible with each other.

Based on those pain points, farmers need a monitoring solution that should have pain-points-solving features, such as wireless data transmission, real-time alerts, remote management, compatibility, scalability, and good user experience.

And a LoRa based smart agriculture solution is an ideal answer to these concerns.

Why LoRa?

Compared with other IoT connectivity technology such as NB-IoT, LoRa is one of the best options for agriculture application due to its unique features.

  1. NB-IoT incorporates a SIM card with a monthly bill for each device. The total monthly fee will be cost-prohibitive because of hundreds of sensors. On the other hand, LoRa physical layer utilizes the frequencies that are free to use anywhere in the world;
  2. LoRa devices consume very little power, making it suitable for battery-powered devices; the LoRa sensor doesn’t require a wire power supply and frequent battery recharging or replacement;
  3. Smart farming practice doesn’t require large volumes of data or low latency communication but requires large coverage. LoRa is a long-range technology. And a LoRaWAN® gateway can cover up to 15 km in suburban areas and connect with hundreds of sensors.

In conclusion, LoRa technology is ideal for smart farming practice.

LoRaWAN® Smart Agriculture Solution Starter Kit

To meet the need for smart agriculture, Ursalink designs a LoRaWAN® Agricultural Monitoring Node-to-App Starter Kit. It aims to simplify the process of remote monitoring, build a data-driven and insightful farming strategy and help farmers earn more money.

Ursalink offers whole smart agriculture solution including several agriculture sensors: ambient temperature and humidity sensor, soil electrical conductivity, temperature and moisture sensor, light sensor; one LoRaWAN® gateway which can cover the whole farm and connect to hundreds of sensors; and Ursalink Cloud. In addition, the kit offers 1-year free Ursalink Cloud standard subscription.

  • LoRaWAN® Ambient Temperature and Humidity Sensor
    Extremely low or high temperatures stunt growth or cause foliage damage, leaf drop, spindly appearance and so on. Relative humidity levels affect when and how plants open the stomata on the undersides of their leaves. That affects the plant’s “breathe.”
  • LoRaWAN® Soil Electrical Conductivity, Temperature and Moisture Sensor
    Soil electrical conductivity (EC) is a measure of the amount of salinity of the soil. If the irrigation water contains high levels of dissolved salts, over time there can be a build-up of soil salinity. Soil salinization will eventually reduce crop yields. The soil temperature and moisture are key measure factors indicating soil temperature and water content. Soil temperature influences aeration, soil moisture content, and the availability of plant nutrients. And water content mainly indicates the need for irrigation.
  • LoRaWAN® Light Sensor
    The light sensor detects illuminance applied in agricultural planting. Many plants will do just fine with a wide variety of light levels while some plants require not too much or too little light.
  • LoRaWAN® Remote I/O
    Embedded with multiple trigger conditions and actions, Ursalink UC1114 LoRaWAN® Remote I/O
    allows users to create various combinations of commands accordingly. Coupled with Ursalink LoRaWAN® gateway, UC1114 enables users to fast build up a LoRa-based IoT solution for monitoring and control of remote devices without traveling on-site back and forth.
  • UG85 LoRaWAN® Gateway
    The Ursalink LoRaWAN® gateway is an intelligent, performant and configurable LoRaWAN® gateway for smart IoT applications. The UG85 is based on the Semtech SX1301 chipset, allowing to operate on multiple channels at the same time. With its embedded Network Server (NS), it is very suitable for small business or private area use cases.
  • Ursalink Cloud
    The Ursalink Cloud is a comprehensive cloud service that links vertical and back-end applications to remote assets. In addition, this kit offers 1-year free Ursalink Cloud standard subscription.

How it works

Smart Agriculture Starter Kit

Agriculture sensors sense environmental conditions. The gateway collects data from sensors then sends them to Ursalink cloud. Users can remotely monitor crop’s environmental conditions on Ursalink Cloud anytime anywhere. Users could set up the threshold and receive an alert once the threshold is reached, then using remote I/O to take action. In addition, Uses can also set up combined triggers to automatically take actions. For example, Ursalink Cloud can automatically turn on the pump for 20 minutes while the soil moisture level is less than 6%.

Benefits

Turnkey Solution

Ursalink offers hardware and software including sensors, remote I/O, gateway and cloud platform. The agriculture starter kit makes it easy for your PoC of batch applications.

Remote Management and Combined Triggers

Remotely monitor the field and take actions according to the triggers such as automatically turning on the pump for 20 minutes while the soil moisture level is less than 6%.

Plug and Play

If given the authorization, we can use your email to register an Ursalink account for you, and then configure the cloud. All you need to do is plug and play.

Scalability and Compatibility

By adopting standard LoRaWAN® protocol, customers can add any other standard LoRaWAN® devices. And these LoaRaWAN devices also work with third-party cloud platforms. (Note: Ursalink Cloud only works with Ursalink devices)

Costs Reduction and Profit Increase

Ursalink’s smart agriculture solution kit can help to reduce operating costs and enhance production, hence increase profit.