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    Smart agriculture

    The global IoT in agriculture market was valued at nearly $22 billion in 2021 and is expected reach more than $35 billion by 2026. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the need for greater efficiency, better use of manpower, keeping costs under control, and enhancing animal welfare – and this is where IoT-powered technology can have a real impact. Founded in 2005, Luda.Farm is all about making smart farming easy through their app My.Luda.Farm and their simple, easy to install solutions that address the real needs of real farmers, without having to have extensive technical knowledge or a big IT setup.

    Luda.Farm was an early player when they began offering IoT-based agriculture solutions to the market in 2017.  The company has two IoT solutions: the SmartPlug and the FenceAlarm and the beauty of both is that they are essentially plug-and-play, which means farmers enjoy the benefits of using IoT technology while focusing on what they do best: farming.  Luda.Farm does the rest.

    The FenceAlarm monitors electrical fences, sending alerts to the My.Luda.Farm app if, for example, a fence post falls over, the grass grows too long, or the fence touches the ground in some way, which will cause the fence to lose voltage. Being able to receive an alert on the app means famers save a lot of time because they no longer have to go out and manually check fences.

    “Normally, a farmer goes and checks all of their fences once or twice a day, just to check that everything is ok, which is very time consuming when you consider the area fences are spread across, even on the smallest of farms,” explains Jonas Andersson, CEO Luda Farm. “Luda.Farm’s FenceAlarm sends you notifications if the fence voltage is lowered, which not only saves time and manpower, but also money, because it allows them to address any challenges quickly.”

    Fence.Alarm is also about animal safety and welfare, because if a fence goes down and the animals escape, the farmer won’t know where they will go or what will happen to them.

    Luda.Farm’s other IoT offering, the SmartPlug, brings a number of different benefits. There is the part where it saves money and optimizes processes, but there is also the softer side of things, which is making sure your animals are well taken care of.

    I think most people don’t realize that there are a lot of things that can happen on a farm and a lot of things the farmer needs to have control over. Back in the old days, the farmer did things manually, but now we have this technology that makes day-to-day work much easier, and, in the end, this is what Luda.Farm is all about: making things easier for farmers to do their work in a more cost-efficient way and optimizing their processes.

    Jonas Andersson CEO Luda.Farm

    Because there is a lot of automatic equipment on a modern farm, it is important that to be able to monitor power. Just say you have a refrigerated milk tank, or a water pump for keeping the animals hydrated. Both need to be kept at the right temperature and if you lose power – maybe during the night while you’re sleeping – you could wake up to some big problems. You can also monitor the temperature in the barn overall: if something isn’t right or the temperature goes below a certain level, the farmer receives an alarm in the app and is able to address things quickly. When it comes to electric fences, you can turn off the power supply to the fence if you need to check on something.

    With the SmartPlug, you can also automatically turn equipment on and off – including electric fences – and there is also software in the backend where you can add on alarms that can measure power consumption, as well as temperature and power loss.

    The My.Luda.Farm app

    The My.Luda.Farm app is basically a control center for your IoT devices. It allows you to set up your devices and how you want to get notified – either text, email, or push notification. The report rates are automatically updated based on battery level or power supply, so if you’re running on battery the reports will send less often. If you’re running on a stable power source, they will send more often.

    The alarm is stored in the unit, so if you set an alarm for a certain voltage level and there is a problem, it will update it immediately. The logic is in the device, not on the server, so you don’t have to wait for the next report to check on an alarm. The fence will automatically report when there is a trigger, in order to minimize delay.  so there is no delay. Subscribing to premium features can also impact the report rate – you will get a higher report rate on the fence alarm if you are subscribed to premium features.

    Data

    “Most of our applications are non-critical in the security sense,” says Jonas Andersson. “The critical data is mostly related to customers and that is up to date with modern security standards. What we offer is a plug-and-play package, with is secure and easy to use for our customers. Once the SIM cards are activated, we manage them through 2CONTROL (Cisco IoT Control Center), mainly for updating and troubleshooting, since both the SmartPlug and the SmartFences arrive to the end customer preconfigured and there shouldn’t be any problems during installation.”

    Our customers want to have as ready a solution as possible – they don’t want to work too much with activating SIMs or putting in different things. That’s why we’re focused on making everything automatic for them.

    Technology

    In terms of technology, most farmers do not have good WiFi where they have sensors, so LPWA technologies are a good fit. The FenceAlarm of course runs on battery and can’t be too power hungry, and while the SmartPlug has the possibility to access a stable power supply, it also has a small battery for power loss notifications.

    All of our customers are located far away from populated areas, so good cellular coverage is important. Speed is less important, because we don’t need much bandwidth. We just need a reliable and cost-conscious connection, which is where LTE-M and NB-IoT come into the picture as the perfect solution. Wireless connections are critical, so while it has taken time to penetrate it’s now happening. We can see growth because the technology has finally caught up with the needs.

    Jonas Andersson CEO Luda.Farm

    The future

    When it comes to future of IoT in agriculture, Luda.Farm can see two different routes.

    “IoT sensors as well as AI in camera functions will be growth areas,” says Jonas Andersson. “We see two different routes: one is the big installations where you build up your own network of sensors, which will be the big industrial farms, and then there are the smaller farms, where you can start small and add on. That’s the space we’re in, supporting small and medium sized farms across Europe, particularly France, Germany, and the Nordics.”

    “Scalability is always important, so we’re currently rebuilding our platform and launching a new app, which we look at as an updated and improved version of the My.Luda.Farm app,” says Jonas Andersson. “Rebuilding our backend infrastructure allows us to move everything to a distributed cloud environment to handle the load and keep a better performance throughout Europe. Basically, we’re building version 2.0 of our services and then we will add on with more sensors and more functions – it will be easier and make more sense when we have the new platform.

    Luda.Farm is also integrating everything more into 2CONTROL, which will allow more interaction between cameras and IoT devices. With machine learning and image processing, you will be able to see triggers and ask sensors for data based on what the camera sees, so there are plenty of opportunities to integrate things and come up with clever solutions that ultimately benefit end customers.

    “It’s important to observe and see where everything is going and which direction,” says Jonas Andersson. “Things can move and change very swiftly, and both IoT and agriculture are evolving swiftly, so we need to be on top of it, stay up-to-date, and understand where needs are greatest. We want to have products that can be fully integrated so that it can be easy to use and easy to distribute – and to be easy to distribute it needs to be easy to install and use.”

    If you would like to learn more about how IoT can help enable your business, please get in touch.