The agriculture industry presents a huge number of opportunities for IoT technology. It would give farmers significantly more control over their livestock and crops, allowing them to make more informed decisions as well as respond more efficiently to setbacks and challenges. Farmers would be able to collect data using smart sensors to check weather conditions, soil quality, livestock health, moisture levels in hay production, etc. “Insider Intelligence projects there to be nearly 12 million agricultural sensors installed globally by 2023. Additionally, tech giant IBM estimates that the average farm can generate half a million data points per day – helping farmers to improve yields and increase profits.” (Meola) You could quickly find a break in the electric fencing or automatically test milk for antibiotics/hormones, etc – it would be amazing to have all of that data arrive on your phone. By having such tight control over production, farmers would also be able to better manage costs and reduce waste, thus yielding a higher revenue.
IoT technology appears like it will be a major game changer in the agriculture industry. “John Deere (one of the biggest names in farming equipment) has begun connecting its tractors to the Internet and has created a method to display data about farmers’ crop yields. Similar to smart cars, the company is pioneering self-driving tractors, which would free up farmers to perform other tasks and further increase efficiency.” (Meola) Being able to automate repetitive, tedious tasks would be a huge time saver and would help decrease labor cost. In addition, with the world population increasing so quickly, finding more efficient ways to create food is going to be extremely important. The UN estimates that the world population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. That’s a lot of mouths to feed! Farmers will also need to be able to adapt to the ways climate change is affecting their industry. IoT technology will help them do that.
In terms of implications for marketing strategy professionals, the focus should be on future financial savings and ease of use, but they should also keep a couple things in mind: farmers are often operating on super tight margins and they’re prone to be skeptical of new technology. According to Jeff Caldwell, an agricultural content marketing manager based in Des Moines, Iowa, there are some things you should consider when you’re trying to market agritech to farmers: you need to be realistic about the outcomes and timeline – don’t oversell something that you can’t guarantee. Connect on the business goals; listen to their needs and then find your common ground. Be receptive to the farmers’ feedback about your product and be willing to adapt. They care very intensely about their business and you need to reflect that you care as well. Having grown up on a multi-generation farm, I will also add that convincing farmers to break away from traditional ways of doing things will take a pretty huge cultural shift. Finding the right marketing strategy will be extremely important.
The implications for the IT side are more connected to infrastructure. Many rural areas still do not have access to high-speed internet (let alone great cell reception) which means smart sensors would need to be satellite technology based. “Monnit’s wireless sensor networks currently operate on the ISM 900MHz (902-928MHz) band as well as 868MHz, 433MHz, and 940 MHz radio bands.” (Monnit Knowledge Base)
Caldwell, Jeff. “5 Things to Think about When Marketing New Tech to Farmers.” AFN, 11 Feb. 2020, https://agfundernews.com/5-things-to-think-about-when-marketing-new-tech-to-farmers.html.
Chalimov, Alexey. “IOT in Agriculture: 5 Technology Use Cases for Smart Farming (and 4 Challenges to Consider).” Eastern Peak – Technology Consulting & Development Company, 20 Apr. 2021, https://easternpeak.com/blog/iot-in-agriculture-technology-use-cases-for-smart-farming-and-challenges-to-consider/.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” Frequently Asked Questions | Monnit Knowledge Base, https://www.monnit.com/support/frequently-asked-questions/.
Meola, Andrew. “Smart Farming in 2020: How IOT Sensors Are Creating a More Efficient Precision Agriculture Industry.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 2 Feb. 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/smart-farming-iot-agriculture.