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Western Australia’s First Demonstration Smart Farm

Business Profile

myinsight.io worked with local installer and expert Regional Communication Solutions based in Narrogin, WA, to provide a University with their first demonstration SMART Farm.

Business Needs

The Internet of Things/Everything (IoT/E) is often called the next Industrial Revolution and is set to become the biggest agricultural business enabler. It will make a staggering impact on rural and regional industries in the next decade and will change the life of many but particularly those in the agricultural industry.

myinsight.io is leading with the latest agricultural innovations using cloud-based smart farm technology which covers the important question on connectivity plus the integrated use of digital equipment such as sensors and GPS, providing farmers with the training and data they need to make highly informed choices and help improve efficiency.

myinsight.io will increase productivity, environmental sustainability, safety and workflow, which will ultimately make the working farm more self-sufficient.

The Solution

As with the majority of regional IoE installations, connectivity is key. No industry can take advantage of new technology without robust connectivity.

For this installation installers erected a 12m communications tower with a LoRa Gateway, Altai A8 for WiFi access and an Altai C1xan’s for wireless backhaul across the facility.

This site utilised top of the range Altai Technologies products for Wi-Fi access and with Wi-Fi and LoRa for the backhaul. The approximate distances for available connectivity are:

WiFi = approx. 1km radius

5GHz backhaul = approx. 10km

Lora= approx. 15km

The client wanted to showcase the latest in Smart Farming technologies to demonstrate to those in the broad acre farming community what is possible with introducing highly accurate IoT sensors.

These sensors give a farmer the ability to make smart decisions based on real time data provided from sensors deployed all over the farm turning what used to be manual processes into precision farming practices.

During phase one of the installation we deployed 2 x EnviroPro Soil Moisture probes – these probes are the most accurate on the market due to the way they adjust their readings on the dielectric solution inside the probe itself.

These probes measure salinity, moisture and temperature of the soil allowing a farmer to accurately decide when to plant, water and fertilise a crop.

These probes are designed with data loggers that can operate on cellular network, however this is not sustainable for someone that may need to deploy hundreds of them across a large property.

The team at MyInsight set about designing a connectivity module that could not only talk the same language as the soil probes but also transmit over any medium that would give it the flexibility to be deployed anywhere using open source wireless technologies.

Products Used

Products used below are the start of the smart farm – they are planning to add to their set-up and include them in their education program.

Altai A8n Base Station

The A8n is a unique product in the field of WiFi connectivity and holds the title of world leader for coverage and throughput. It is a multi-radio base station utilising 8×8 MIMO smart antenna technologies provide the industry’s best coverage per base station. The multi-beam antennas of the A8n is designed to provide up to 3 times the range and 10 times the per site coverage as standard access point. Accordingly, up to 90% fewer installation sites for the same coverage area, especially in non-line-of sight (NLOS) environments.

Altai C1xan/C1xn/C1an Access Points

The Altai C1 series of products employ patented smart signal processing algorithms and antenna design to increase WiFi signal strength (transmit and receive) by as much as 16 dB in areas covered by an A8n Super WiFi Base Station. It can be installed exactly where the throughput is required to boost up, and it allows the service operator to increase the coverage range of an A8n base station substantially and provides greater flexibility and cost savings to WiFi deployments.

Kerlink Carrier Grade LoRa Station

LoRaWAN is designed for long life battery powered “things” allows access to various types of LoRa application nodes and supports wired Ethernet and cellular 3G access to the cloud platform, mainly for LoRaWAN data transmission between LoRa node and cloud platform.

myinsight.io Connectivity Module

This revolutionary product allows you to set up sensor networks using Wi-Fi, LoRa, and/or NB-IoT.

The low power design not only provides you access to LoRa, the latest in long range communications technology but also provides alternative power options depending on your application, and the most cost-effective outcome for the user. It also has the advantage of providing other methods of data transfer within the one module, giving you failover for your sensor set-up.

Solar 10W 12V 5Ah Battery Kit

Where it is too expensive or too remote to connect to mains power, installing a solar powered energy system can be an economical solution – particularly in rural and regional communities where there is a lot of scope to improve business opportunities.

EnviroPro Moisture and Temperature Probes

EnviroPro® sub-surface Soil Probes have been carefully engineered to be accurate, long-life, maintenance-free instruments suitable for all soil types. Their design employs clever techniques to correctly compensate moisture measurements for variations in salinity, as well as compensating moisture and salinity measurements for temperature variations, something not observed in any competitor probes.

The below pic shows indicative range of wireless technologies deployed. Distances are subject to LOS or NLOS.

In this case we deployed the data loggers to work over a private LoRa network with the idea that they would be deploying hundreds more sensors and LoRa not only gave them coverage but the ability to scale without the requirement to keep deploying radios to keep up with demand.

We also integrated with the sites existing bureau of meteorology weather station to gain even more insights into weather patterns and considering data points around rainfall and wind readings. These readings would help make smart decisions around whether to water crops due to the amount of rainfall measured over the last 24hrs or if to spray the crops if the wind is over certain speeds.

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