Smart Agriculture: fertile ground for digital technology
Agriculture has always harnessed technical advances. New technologies are starting to be seen on farms, improving working practices and results. Orange is addressing this sector's specific demands with Orange Business Services, to develop efficient smart agriculture, which is vital to our planet's future.
Feeding the planet: number one challenge for tomorrow's agriculture
The world's population is expected to reach 9.3 billion people by 2050*. This represents a 30% increase in the number of “mouths to feed” within 35 years. To achieve this, food production will need to increase by more than 5 billion tons per year…while effectively safeguarding resources, because land, water and energy are valuable commodities that need to be protected.
To help agriculture and livestock farming to meet this challenge, digital technologies represent a major ally. Connected devices and Big Data are paving the way for precision farming, able to more effectively anticipate climate hazards and make better informed use of natural resources.
- New technologies are seen as useful by 79% of connected farmers
- More than one in two French farmers are equipped with GPS units
- Tech-savvy connected farmers are embracing digital technologies for their day-to-day work
*Source: Agriculture-Innovation 2025 report, October 2015.
Smart solutions for all types of farming
Agriculture and livestock farming – Connected machines, soil analysis and weather sensors, drone-based data collection…Technologies are supporting crop and livestock farmers with their day-to-day practices and enabling them to improve their yields. For instance, connecting agricultural equipment to an external platform fitted with an M2M SIM card makes it possible to store and analyze data on harvest volumes, seed humidity or soil conditions. After being processed, this data can be delivered to farmers on their computer, tablet or smartphone to help them take the best possible decisions.
Spotlight on Dacom, growing productivity
For instance, the Dutch firm Dacom, whose solutions are based on Orange's M2M services and communications infrastructure, sells connected sensors that can transmit data in real time on weather, livestock health or soil conditions. By comparing data across farms, Dacom is able to deliver reliable, accurate responses for farmers, enabling them to plan ahead and optimize their work. This helps maximize yields, rationalize the use of water, seed and fertilizer, and improve their monitoring of livestock health.
Beekeeping – The vital role played by bees in the natural and human ecosystem is no longer a secret. To stem their decline, the startup Hostabee has set up sensors on beehives and been trialing Orange's LoRa connectivity kit since last May. This enables beekeepers to receive real-time updates on their hives' activity, air temperature and humidity levels, making it possible to improve their knowledge of the bees' health and limit colony losses.
Fish farming – A single fault with a system for rearing millions of salmon can cause a total shutdown in production in just 20 minutes. The network's reliability is crucial. Marine Harvest, one of the world's leading salmon farmers, has entrusted Orange Business Services with implementing and managing its global network infrastructure. Thanks to secure video links, this infrastructure enables cooperation between the company's employees worldwide and makes it possible to monitor their aquafarming operations.
Africa and mobile agriculture
African countries, which often face nutrition-related issues, can really benefit from the development of smart agriculture. In these countries, Orange is developing “m-agri”, capitalizing on the strong development of mobile services on this continent. This is a range of mobile services for the agricultural world, helping improve income levels, boost productivity and, more generally, consolidate the entire value chain.
In Niger for instance, Orange has rolled out “Labaroun Kassoua”: a service to keep track of prices for agricultural produce and livestock. The application analyzes sales prices across 57 markets in real time. By providing farmers with real-time information remotely, this enables them to take the best decisions and handle their business negotiations more effectively.
* Source: National demographic research institute, November 2015.