IoT insights for better regional agribusiness at scale

Jurisdiction: Australia

How might we harness open data and IoT insights in near-real-time to enable local agribusiness and farms in our regions be more productive and sustainable at scale? How can we share private IoT data and regional open data for an overall more productive and sustainable agribusiness?

With the increased prevalence of droughts, natural disasters, harmful pests, and climate change, it has never been more important to innovate for sustainable and resilient farming practices. Environmentally friendly techniques and technology are the key to meeting the food demand with right nutrition for consumers.

Using IoT data, design and develop a solution that improves farming practices and increase yield in a sustainable way ( i.e., reducing carbon footprint, leveraging scarce water, minimal pesticide usage) . The solution should empower farmers to make informed and timely decisions on how to grow, manage and sustain farm produce and the environment with minimal effort.

The “Internet of Things” refers to the billions of devices and sensors connected to the internet that can send and receive data. These devices could be smart lights, temperature monitors, water meters, cow trackers, security cameras, tractors, glasses, soil PH monitors, fences, anything you can thing of! Those devices generate an incredible amount of data. That data may be useful to the owner of the device, AND if combined with other data points it could drive big data insights to our agribusinesses.

There are many ways for IoT devices can connect to the internet. You could connect them with internet cables, or connect over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Sigfox, and several other local networks. But arguably the easiest and fastest way to connect to the internet is by putting a SIM in those devices, so it can connect straight to the 3G/4G/5G network without you having to set up cables or configure passwords. This is ‘cellular’ IoT.

At Telstra, we have 2 incredible cellular IoT technologies that are “Low Power Wide Area Networks” (LPWAN): NB-IoT and Cat-M1. With lower power required to connect, LPWAN IoT devices have a longer battery life. For rural deployments, this means less time spent going out to remote areas for battery changes, and in urban dense areas it means less disruption digging up underground sensors. Cellular IoT also allows rapid deployment, with minimal change to existing infrastructure; no dodgy wi-fi connections or cables, just set and forget!

In agriculture, IoT has been used to understand hyper-local weather rainfall and sunshine levels to help farmers plan harvesting times, or in tracking cattle location and temperature to protect their livestock, or alerting land owners when the water tanks on their remote farm are running dry so they can trigger a water pump to top it up.

We can use granular data points from the live agriculture systems to visualise and automate these systems in real time, but we can also use historical data from the IoT sensors paired with open data to create long-term changes to the fundamental systems.

How can we enable agribusiness to use enhance precision farming with minimal water and energy wastage and reduced pesticide application?

How can we give land owners and farmers in agribusiness the insights they need to change the way they produce sustainably?

Don’t limit it to the single farmer, or the single paddock, think big!

Additional Information:

Challenge explainer video:

Technology to highlight:

• Telstra’s Low Power Wide Area Network Internet of Things technology, IoT connected devices with cellular IoT SIMs:

Useful links:

• Quick explainer of IoT in agriculture:
• Capabilities of the Telstra IoT Network:
• Purchase IoT Devices and Connectivity on TelstraDev:
• Examples of devices on the cellular LPWAN IoT network for environmental monitoring:
• Agritech AusIoT meetup group recording:

Judging criteria:

• Must show how the solution proposes to use Internet of Things devices/sensors
• Must demonstrate how the data collected from these sensors can be used to create a positive outcome for agribusiness
• (Recommend) Combines the IoT data set collected from IoT sensors with open data set
• (Recommended) Can describe the selection of network for the IoT devices/sensors. E.g Telstra NB-IoT, Wi-Fi, Satellite etc.
• (Optional) Utilise Microsoft Azure. Credits available from Microsoft in the #talk-microsoft Slack channel
• Note: does NOT need to include a working prototype, just a plan. If you do want to make a working prototype, reach out in the #talk-telstra Slack channel to get a Telstra IoT starter kit:

Image credit: AlkeMade on Pixabay

Entry: Challenge entry is available to all teams in Australia.

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