Wireless Sensor Solutions Demystify Precision Agriculture

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Facing a water shortage crisis and the demands of a global economy, farmers are turning to wireless sensing solutions to save labor costs, increase yields, improve quality, and conserve water, according to a recent report by ON World. ON World's recent survey with 36 vintners and farmers found that more than half are current wireless sensor users and nearly a third are planning new wireless sensing applications over the next 18 months.

As drought conditions worsen in areas such as California and Australia, vendors can barely keep up with the demand

Facing a water shortage crisis and the demands of a global economy, farmers are turning to wireless sensing solutions to save labor costs, increase yields, improve quality, and conserve water, according to a recent report by ON World. The emergence of standards based short range radios, advanced network protocols, and the availability of low cost backhaul technologies, have made wireless sensor systems an affordable competitive advantage for farmers/growers.

"As drought conditions worsen in areas such as California and Australia, vendors can barely keep up with the demand," according to Mareca Hatler, ON World's director of research. Smart irrigation systems can save 30% of a farm's water bill while increasing production yields by 20%.

ON World's recent survey with 36 vintners and farmers found that more than half are current wireless sensor users and nearly a third are planning new wireless sensing applications over the next 18 months. The most common applications include monitoring the weather/climate (e.g. ambient temperature, rainfall, wind speed/direction, sunlight levels, frost), irrigation (e.g. soil moisture, leaf wetness), crops (e.g. soil temperature, sulfur, copper levels, dispensing of fertilizers, insecticides, etc.), and for detecting pests/mold. There is a global $76 billion total potential market for the top three crops most likely to benefit from wireless monitoring solutions.

Despite this large market opportunity, there are only a handful of wireless crop monitoring providers today with end-to-end offerings. Some vendors such as Crossbow, Grape Networks, and Ranch Systems use unlicensed radios and mesh network systems that collect sensor data from multiple points to a low cost backhaul system. Others include Adcon, the current market leader with a long range telemetry infrastructure and SCADA software, and PureSense, a NASA spinoff that provides a hosted software service for crop monitoring and water management.

ON World's recently published report, "Wireless Sensor Networks for Smart Crops" analyzes the drivers and return on investment for adopting wireless crop monitoring solutions for several crop types. It includes global and US Total Potential market size forecasts, in-depth profiles on the top six vendors, and analysis of WSN technologies such as IEEE802.15.4 and mesh networking.

Power management is a key consideration that affects the performance and lifetime of a wireless sensor node, especially for mesh networks. IEEE802.15.4 provides the best performance in sleep mode which is a key consideration for managing power. In this report, ON World conducted several power performance tests using the wsnSimulatorâ„¢ for 802.15.4 with several protocol variations including battery life, average power by component, required size for batteries and energy harvesters, and the effect of crop obstructions on transmission range.

For more information, go to: http://onworld.com/smartcrops/

About ON World
ON World Inc. is the leader in emerging wireless research. Our market intelligence and information services are sold to Fortune 1000 companies, service providers, venture capitalists, and startups worldwide. Website: http://www.onworld.com.

Media Contact:
Mary E. Purvis
ph: 858-259-2397

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