IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Agriculture Sector

IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Agriculture Sector

The traditional modes of farming and agriculture are getting faint after the introduction of IT based technologies such as AI, big data, IoT etc. in the agriculture sector. 

These technologies have provided farms an opportunity to optimize their yield by using smart sensor and high-tech systems to store and transfer data, to do smart contracts, to manage the crop production, and to optimize the financial aspects. These technologies are providing the real-time analysis and prediction based data to optimize the growth and lower the associated risks. 

Let’s have a look at these technologies being used in agriculture sector so far. 

Blockchain technology in Agriculture

Blockchain refers to the system used to create timeless, permanent and clear records of exchange and processing. The system uses digital technology in which data and information are recorded and exchanged quickly and securely in a decentralized manner.

Blockchain technology in agriculture, which includes smart contracts, makes it possible to store data from the beginning of process to the end consumer, ensuring the legitimacy and authenticity of every transaction which eliminates the risk of any dishonesty in the supply chain. Blockchain technology avoids potential fraud on product quality in order to control treatment across the chain to the point of sale. In blockchain technology, data is stored in the following ways.

Unencrypted data – This data is transparent and is read through every node in the network.

Encrypted Data – This data is available to participants. The decryption token provides access to data in the blockchain and also verifies the data contained in the system.

Hashed data – This data introduced the function. Hashed data consists of a small unit called soil base unit (SBU) in which historical records is continuously recorded using blockchain technology. The fourth revolution in agriculture, 4.0, created a blockchain that is used to store old records, and the decision made by analysts is being made on these SBUs. This SBU stores data such as data related to different types of crops, diseases, solids, nutrients required by the crop at the present stage.

 IoT technology in Agriculture

The potential growth of the IoT industry is in the agricultural sector. Internet of Things (IoT) technology opens up the possibility of deploying IoT devices in agriculture around the world, enabling data to be sensed remotely. Farming data collected through sensor-linked devices help in monitoring the crop growth and supply of essential nutrients such as fertilizer and water and hence optimizes the production. 

The use of IoT logic and cloud computing, by verifying every parameter in the supply chain network, improves the depth of the system in terms of marketing environment, processing and production in agriculture based on precision sensing.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution revolutionized the field of agriculture through the Internet of Things (IoT). Agricultural data is collected through the smart sensors under the supervision of IoT and this data is transferred to the big data analysis software which then is translated to the actionable form. IoT is a sensor-based technology that is used to improve the performance of existing systems so that the information collected from IoT is monitored by devices and action is taken to improve it. It is run by a high-tech system that use various sensors to measure data related to environment, soil structure, fertilizer intensity and its effects on plants. Once these parameters are monitored, the data is transferred to the decision-making system where it is necessary to follow the atomization of the process according to different agricultural applications. Farming techniques are analyzed by sensors through IoT and the farmer is being recommended to improve the traditional process.

IoT draws the line between virtual and real world. IoT has allowed the physical objects in the world to become intelligent through online communication. The system transitioned from machine to communication, machine to infrastructure and from machine to environmental communication.

Drone analytics

The agriculture sector is developed with Agriculture 4.0 technologies that use drone analytics to perform crop analysis through images and videos attached to big data analytics software to show how crops are growing and where potential improvements or repairs are needed. 

Using drones, farmers identify which parts of crop field needs more water or fertilizer, and which areas need anti-​weeding spray. Today these drones are used in agriculture as remote fertilizer vehicles to easily cover a specific area or individual plant.

Under the Fourth Industrial Revolution, drone technology is used to monitor various activities in the fields of agriculture through various sensors developed by high-tech systems. The data collected by the drone is forwarded through IoT systems for analysis.

Big Data Analytics

The use of various data collection techniques improves the development of the agricultural sector.

“Big data” refers to the large-scale processing of data collected from information and communications technologies (ICT) to obtain faster decision-making data to improve productivity. Since all data on crop production and rotation issues over the past decade are available in storage, it makes it possible for farmers to take precautions in advance using the predictive approach provided by Big Data and IoT. 

Artificial Intelligence

Recently, under Industry 4.0, the demand of a new machine learning technique called artificial intelligence (AI) increases in various activities. This artificial intelligence (AI) used pre-stored data for decision making and need of agricultural sectors while preparing the schedule for these activities in advance. This predictive approach has revolutionized the agricultural sector and has helped farmer in predicting a potential risk and take advance steps to avoid that risk.

IT is improving day by day and industries are implementing advanced IT based systems for optimization purposes. Yet there is a lot to be done in agriculture sector. Most parts of the word are still using the traditional modes of agriculture. There are very less examples of farms where IT based techniques have enabled agriculture 4.0. This needs to be improved in order to head towards the agriculture 5.0. 

Let’s see, what happens next!

IT Innovations Enabling the Industry 4.0 In Manufacturing Sector

IT Innovations Enabling the Industry 4.0 In Manufacturing Sector

IT based technologies are changing the ways the world used to see the manufacturing processes. The advanced technologies are making the connectivity among machinery possible which in turn makes the factories smart enhancing their production capacity and also providing them with cost-effective and time saving alternatives. 

We have already discussed about the different technologies that are enabling industry 4.0 in manufacturing industries. Now is the time to have a look at the real life applications of these technologies and how these technologies have been proven successful so far.  

Industrial Internet of Things

As we have studied in previous articles that IoT is a network of digitally interconnected devices and equipment’s that allows the communication and exchange of data within the devices. It comprises of various sensing devices, RFID tags, and electronics attached with manufacturing equipment. 

For example, IIoT can be used is to prevent the overstocking or under stocking of inventory.

Let’s have a look at the real-life application of IoT enabling industry 4.0.

A company BJC Healthcare operates 15 hospitals located in Missouri and Illinois as a service provider company. 

The company is using RFID tags to track and manage their medical supplies. Before application of RFID tags, the company needed a lot of labor to manage the inventory. 

This was a challenging task as the company had a lot of supplies to store and manage physically. It also caused a considerable loss of stock as it is difficult to keep a strict check on inventory, hence the expiry dates of stock could not be noted. 

But then the company applied RFID technology in 2015. 

Now, the company has been able to decrease the onsite stock at different facilities by 23%. It is predicted that company will save $5 million every year due to the RFID tagging technology. 

Big Data and Analytics

Using advanced computer technologies on major data sets to uncover important patterns, trends and correlations for companies in decision making process is termed as big data or big data analytics. 

The main use of big data in industry is as a translator. But it is not an ordinary translator; it translates what no one else can do. The information that is produced by IoT and AI systems needs to be translated into an actionable format and here the big data comes in. 

Bosch is a Chinese automotive company currently using a combination of IIoT and Big Data to connect the machinery and monitor the whole production process. 

The system that company uses is comprised of sensors attached with the factory’s machinery that collect data about a certain machine’s performance and any issues related to the working of the machinery. 

This collected data is then translated by Big data analytics to tell the workers if there is any breakdown in any machinery identified at some place. 

This helps in predicting the machine’s failure allowing the workers to take steps to resolve the future issue before it happens. 

Reports show that due to the use of big data systems, the company is enjoying 10% increase in output along with improved delivery management. 

Cloud computing

Cloud computing allows businesses to access up to date data and applications provided by the emerging technologies. And the good thing is, you don’t need to build a huge physical infrastructure to acquire this all. Cloud based computing can be easily installed and changed depending on the needs of industry.

Volkswagen is a company that developed a cloud network known as “Volkswagen Automotive Cloud” in collaboration with Microsoft. The technology offers features like smart home connectivity, digital assistance, predictive maintenance, media streaming and uptdates. 

With the help of this cloud network, the company plans to add around 5 million brand offerings annually to its IoT.

Advanced Robotics

Industries have been using robotics in one way or other for decades but the fourth industrial revolution has given a rise to this technology.  

Today, we have robots that can perform difficult and complex tasks autonomously. These robots are aided by advanced software and sensors which make them able to recognize, analyze, and act upon the data that they gather from the ecosystem. They are also capable to learn autonomously from humans.

Fetch Robotics is a Californian based company that has a developed system of robots used for tracking, locating, and moving inventory in warehouse. 

In Netherlands, a DHL service Provider Company is using the AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) for pick and drop operations within the warehouse. These AMRs autonomously move with the workers and also learn from their activities and hence remember their routes of work. The company says that use of these AMRs has reduced the order cycle time by 50%. 

Augmented reality

Industry 4.0 is encouraging the use of AR technologies in the manufacturing industry. This technology can help companies from assembly processes to maintaining manufacturing machinery. 

AR efficiently fills the gap between the physical and digital labor by offering virtual images and data on to a physical object. The technology mostly comprises of smartphones, tablets and smart glasses. 

A company named “General Electric” has applied an AR system in their facility to offer a glimpse at how AR technology can work to increase the efficiency of manufacturing unit and labor. The company is using the AR technology on experimental bases in their jet engine manufacturing cell. Before introducing the AR technology, the workers had to stop now-and-then to check the working manuals in order to assure that the work goes in the right direction. With the use of smart AR based glasses, they can now have visual instructions while working. These smart glasses are even connected with the support team and the worker can immediately contact experts in case of any complex issue. 

Company says that it is enjoying 11% increased productivity of workers after introducing the smart AR glasses.