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5G Likely to Spearhead Innovations in Global Farming Industry

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With the telecom industry on the cusp of 5G boom, various technological firms are aiming to stretch the boundaries of 5G to reap its immense benefits across diverse industries. The farming industry is the latest to be bitten by the 5G bug as it aims to automate production and scale up farm outputs for future population explosion.

Why 5G?

5G is billed as the technology of the future with faster download speed and seamless transfer of data. Leveraging state-of-the-art communication network architectures, 5G is touted to be the primary catalyst for next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) services. These include connected cars coupled with augmented reality and virtual reality platform, smart cities and connected devices that revolutionize key industry verticals. Moreover, 5G is likely to augment the scalability, security and universal mobility of the telecommunications industry, which is expected to lead to the wide proliferation of IoT.

Leveraging such technological advancements, the farming industry is using remote sensors and drones as key tools to test and collate data for the latest farming technologies. Drones with 5G capabilities have been used to boost potato production in the Netherlands through precision agriculture tests. The test involved capturing accurate images of the field through a camera drone and sent to an agricultural machine through 5G mobile connection on real-time basis. This has helped to set the precise dose for proper protection of the crop from pests to boost farm productivity. As the entire process required large bandwidth hitherto unavailable in existing 4G networks, 5G emerged as the perfect option to achieve the desired results. Moreover, it saved time for farmers to physically scan the entire field to detect the quantum of pesticide required for the crops.

Other 5G Innovations in Farming

5G sensors, artificial intelligence and cloud computing methods are increasingly being adopted in Japan to monitor water temperature and salt concentration in oyster farms. Drones with 5G capabilities are used to capture images of fish as they swim in large tanks in farmed fishing. These images are then analyzed to calculate the timing and volume of seafood required according to the weight of the fish. These efficient farming operations are vital to sustain the growing industry that is crippled with shrinking workforce and aging population. Moreover, it helps to reduce seafood wastages to a large extent and improves farm productivity.

A U.K. government initiative with support from tech firm Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO - Free Report) has launched a smartphone app called Me+Moo to track "connected" cows. The project involves 5G-connected collars that send daily updates on the cow’s health and behavioral patterns for accurate data. Veterinarians and nutritionists can then monitor this data for proper feeds and medicines that would have been otherwise been impossible for farmers to do on an individual basis on large farmlands.

Road Ahead

Such technological innovations seem to be the call of the hour to bridge the gap between the soaring global population and the food produce required to feed it. Per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the world will need to grow 70% more food in 2050 than it did in 2009. No wonder that leading technological firms are pitching in their contribution to spearhead innovations in the farming industry. At the same time, firms like T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS - Free Report) , CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL - Free Report) and United States Cellular Corporation (USM - Free Report) are working tirelessly for rural broadband expansion to benefit the overall industry.

With such a holistic growth model, 5G is poised to be the next game changer in the farming industry.

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