Africa: Agriculture Is Ripe for a Digitised Future

Johannesburg — THE implementation of modern technologies is projected to address rising demands for food and tackle dry conditions, particularly in South Africa, ranked the world's 30th driest country.

Experts have identified such technologies as the Cloud and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to offer benefits to the agriculture industry by enabling farmers to optimise their operations through digital transformation, thus feeding the world more efficiently and sustainably.

Marc Ramsay, ‎Vice President Anglophone Africa Industry Business Unit at Schneider Electric, said the company foresaw Cloud-based deployment, improved visibility and control of equipment as well as the need to be sustainable and compliant to digitally transform agriculture.

Cloud-based solutions are seen as crucial to expanding digital capabilities to farms.

Furthermore, new low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) wireless technologies have broken through the 100-metre ceiling and now reach up to a 50-kilometre distance.

This allows new LPWAN enabled sensors to detect and respond to environmental inputs such as position, pressure, or other event-driven state changes, send a signal to a remote transmission station and on to the Cloud.

Schneider Electric demonstrated these sensor-based applications at the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in late 2017.

The company has collaborated with Microsoft to provide the Azure cloud infrastructure, which enables irrigation monitoring and control from mobile devices, improving operational agility, efficiency and sustainability.

Ramsay said the technology ensured that information could be shared quickly and conveniently with key stakeholders.

"We look forward to assisting the South African agricultural industry into a digitised future," he concluded.

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