Improving the environmental sustainability of their operations through the adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies is a crucial priority for organisations in the agriculture sector, according to a new study by Inmarsat, one of the leading providers of global mobile satellite communications
The research reveals that two of the largest drivers behind the adoption of IIoT-based solutions across the agriculture sector are monitoring of environmental conditions such as soil quality, pollutant emissions and environmental contamination (50 per cent) and improving resource efficiency (38 per cent).
The research also highlighted the good news that many agriculture organisations are realising their sustainability objectives through the use of IIoT. Two thirds (66 per cent) of respondents with fully deployed or trial-stage IIoT solutions stated they were achieving environmental sustainability improvements.
Access to reliable and resilient connectivity is essential for IIoT technologies to function, enabling the constant transmission of data to optimise operations. With many agriculture organisations operating in remote regions, where terrestrial networks are not available, satellite communications networks are key to achieving this and achieving the benefits that IIoT has to offer.
Reported early successes in achieving sustainability objectives have been seen in the implementation of technologies that optimise irrigation to reduce water consumption, detecting levels of pesticides in soil and improving operational efficiency. However, the research also uncovered that those organisations with unreliable connectivity were far less likely to be achieving improved environmental sustainability, reinforcing the importance of connectivity for successful IIoT deployments.
Commenting on the findings, Chris Harry Thomas, director of sector development agriculture at Inmarsat Enterprise, said, “The agriculture sector is faced with a multitude of challenges, tasked with increasing the amount of food and raw materials it produces while reducing its impact on the environment and adhering to stricter government regulations. Our research shows that agriculture organisations are adopting IIoT to help them achieve these goals, and that many are succeeding in this aim.”
“However, it is clear that without the right connectivity networks, IIoT deployments won’t succeed in delivering the improvements in sustainability they are capable of. The global nature of the agriculture sector means that organisations need reliable connectivity to gather mission-critical data from every area of their operations and analyse it in real-time, though patchy terrestrial coverage makes this challenging. With global and reliable coverage, only satellite communications offer the levels of connectivity organisations need to make IIoT a success.”