The Internet of Things lands in Australian farms

By on 24 November, 2016

iot_agriculture-mobile-smart-device

South Australia is set to become the first fully interconnected state in the Southern Hemisphere through a regional Internet of Things network.

What began as an initiative to connect each of Australia’s big cities to an IoT network has expanded into a state-wide project in South Australia which will enable primary industry stakeholders to take advantage of the new technology.

The network, developed by French IoT service provider SIGFOX, will allow users to connect a range of compatible devices to track and control a variety of services wirelessly.

It can be used to track any kind of asset you have anywhere, so to track your cattle and see where they are for example.”

-Renald Gallis

Australian IoT developer Thinxtra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Australian Government to roll out SIGFOX wireless technology across regional areas, creating the nation’s first networked state.

The program was made possible by support from South Australia’s Investment Attraction agency, said Renald Gallis, the Vice President for Ecosystem and Marketing at Thinxtra.

“South Australia, has been prioritised because they wanted the rollout now and investment attraction has provided free sites for us to use,” he said.

Iot transforming agriculture mapping

Thinxra uses Sigfox wireless technology to develop LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks), enabling communications over distances of 20-50 km.

The regional network will be particularly useful to the state’s AUD$21 billion agriculture, food, wine and forestry export industry, with a range of uses from irrigation control to tracking crop conditions.

“In the case of the agriculture industry, it can be used to track any kind of asset you have anywhere, so to track your cattle and see where they are for example,” Gallis said.

“That’s something you wouldn’t be able to do with 3G – first because in regional areas you often don’t have that sort of network, and also that the range of 3G is very short, it’s around 1km.

“The big advantage of our IoT technology is that it’s very long range – the base station can be 20-50 kilometres away in a regional area.”

Compared to other technology, IoT networks will also prove cheaper for the end user, with common devices like a tracker costing less than AUD$30.

The South Australia IoT network is expected to be completed by June 2017, with a national rollout slated for the end of 2018.

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