Farmers can now monitor and control cold climate greenhouses via smart phone; Telit assessing global farming market potential.
Telit Wireless Solutions (AIM: TCM), a global leader in machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless technology, announced the successful completion of its first “smart farm” system in South Korea. The technology specifically allows farmers to monitor and control cold climate greenhouses remotely via their smart phone. The benefits include significantly reduced use of labor, water and energy and reduction in crop losses.
Following an initial pilot program, Telit’s remote M2M wireless control system is now in operation on several working oriental melon farms and will be installed and connected in more than 1,000 oriental melon greenhouses in Seoungju County South Korea in 2012.
Telit initiated the smart farm project in partnership with Disys, a South Korean designer of mobile applications. The company underwent a one-year development phase with SK Telecom. SK Telecom expects strong demand for this service and is planning to create a separate communication payment system to provide subsidies and lessen installation cost burdens to farmers.
With the smart farm system, oriental melon farmers are able to maintain consistent crop temperatures by remotely covering or uncovering their crops inside large, clear vinyl greenhouses at night or during any cold weather. Previously, South Korean farmers were required to manually cover crops which are easily damaged during extreme cold. Seoungju County is the biggest oriental melon farming area in South Korea with more than 60,000 greenhouses.
Additional smart farm features are planned, including temperature and humidity sensors that can enhance the growth and health of crops while reducing the amount of water and energy required. Surveillance cameras will also be installed to prevent the theft of crops and provide a visual check of the greenhouses for farmers.
“Telit is very proud to be an integral part of this innovative smart farm system,” said Dominikus Hierl, chief marketing officer at Telit Wireless Solutions.
“The system could enhance sustainable agriculture around the globe, reducing energy and water usage as well as labor costs while increasing crop yield and quality.”
Plans are in the works to provide smart farm systems for other greenhouse crops in South Korea, including watermelons, strawberries and tomatoes.
Many farmers drive more than an hour to reach their vinyl greenhouses in the growing region every day. It’s not an easy job, because it requires close attention seven days a week, especially in the winter. When the temperature drops, the plants can freeze. Once the smart farm system is installed, farmers can check the weather and their crops from the comfort of their homes.
“The system can be used for various other farm applications as well, such as a security and tracking system for livestock barns in case of foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks,” Hierl said. “We are currently assessing the global market potential for this system.”
Telit provided its M2M expertise and wireless data communication modules to the smart farm project to enable instant communication from the greenhouse to an integrated server using the 3G/4G wireless network. The module’s high transmission speeds, small form factor and ability to withstand temperature changes makes it a perfect product for easy connection to most M2M applications and wireless data communication devices.
Telit Wireless Solutions, a subsidiary of Telit Communications PLC (AIM: TCM), is an internationally leading specialist in wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. Telit is the only company worldwide to offer communications modules for all of the various wireless technologies: it develops, produces and markets modules for GSM/GPRS, EDGE, UMTS/WEDGE/HSDPA, CDMA and Short-Range RF applications. M2M applications rationalize business processes by enabling machines, equipment and vehicles to communicate with each other via mobile networks.