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Robust Irrigation Management: Modern AgTech Solution for Agriculturists
By Utilities Tech Outlook | Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Leading AgTech companies realize that sensors and remote instrumentation of irrigation devices can bring intelligence and efficiency to the process of irrigation.
FREMONT, CA: WiseConn upgrades its solution DropControl with new efficiencies, that allows farmers to analyze and control water usage to accomplish higher yields at a lower cost. The new capabilities feature the Digi XBee-PRO® 900HP embedded modules that offer the top-notch wireless range and employ the DigiMesh® networking protocol with dense network operation, support for sleeping routers and a proprietary point-to-multipoint configuration.
“The keys to us were Digi’s low power consumption, ISM compatibility, and the long-range,” remarks Jose Ulloa, Chief Technical Officer of WiseConn. “Just as important, we are able to use Digi’s peer-to-peer mesh network. Irrigation and long-range flow control need robust P2P communications that don’t rely on a constantly-connected central coordinator. We had a lot of confidence in Digi. Thanks to the Digi mesh protocol, we were able to focus our resources on irrigation functionality – and not worry about networking intricacies. We also liked Digi’s long product lifecycles as well. We’ve had, essentially, the same pin layout and firmware for the past five years.”
DropControl contains wireless network for monitoring and control and a web application. The interface is made of nodes connected to sensors and actuators for monitoring weather conditions, soil moisture, and irrigation data. The nodes interact with each other to transfer information to the central gateway. With DropControl, farmers can determine and control the volume, frequency, and application rate of irrigation water in a planned, efficient manner – all based on the soil moisture, weather conditions, and forecasts.
“This configuration is ideal for giving us distributed control,” continues Ulloa. “Each node can signal hydraulic states such as pump on/off and level-down – and these are crucial for effective irrigation. Ultimately, with Digi XBee-PRO embedded in our solution, our customers are achieving better yields, improving the quality of the crops they grow, and saving up to 30 percent on their water consumption.”
Due to improper management, indiscriminate use, and a changing climate, global freshwater are becoming increasingly scarce. This water scarcity and quality problems are a severe challenge to future food security and environmental sustainability. Thus developing a smart water management system is crucial, and the Intenet of Things (IoT) can help control water resources efficiently. With an intelligent water management system established, better irrigation facilities can be provided for farmers — Agtech companies materializing on this are increasingly providing efficient solutions for the industry. California-based WiseConn also works to fulfill its mission of delivering best-in-class IoT, telemetry technology, and cloud services to give the growers unparalleled overall irrigation experience.
WiseConn’s IoT platform uses moisture sensors to determine and analyze the water current under the soil and manages irrigation duration and frequency for executing agronomic water usage plans with reduced human error. This ultimately results in 5-25 percent improved yields. The company stresses on transferring IoT from higher-value crops to low-value crops and educating distributors, vendors, and end-users to use, maintain, and service the platform for enhanced yields.
WiseConn is not just a hardware or product vendor, but also a service provider that offers appropriate agricultural education component to slightly alter the irrigation process for a quick return on investment. WiseConn is listed in Utilities Tech Outlook’s Top 10 Water Management Solution Providers. Having made identifiable strides with the existing IoT platform, WiseConn is currently working on an improved controller-specific C1 model that boasts seamless automation through bluetooth connectivity. Looking ahead, the company is working on the development of a low-cost monitoring-only unit that is compatible with narrow-band IoT and LTE technologies for flexible switches between communication standards.