Cloud computing enables businesses across sectors to evolve their operations through automation and remote access. The easy availability of world-class computing resources and the benefit of quick accessibility and fault tolerance have made cloud computing the perfect solution for businesses that want to prosper online with optimized investment. Cloud Computing in agriculture, though a comparatively new concept, comes with similar benefits. It allows farmers easy access to information and, in return, helps them create easy access to their produce. This blog will discuss cloud computing and its various use cases and benefits in the agriculture industry.
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What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is one of the most dynamic and popular computing models that combines the concept of cluster and grid computing. This means it offers a single interface for users to perform intensive tasks by utilizing similar computer resources from multiple locations. The framework of cloud computing provides a shared pool of IT resources for processing, networking, and storage. Users can apply to use these resources as per their requirement and only pay for the same. This helps them in acquiring IT capabilities without spending much on the deployment and maintenance of IT assets. The technology also enables them to scale up or down their spending on the given resources based on their business requirements at any given time.
For example, an eCommerce store can scale up or down its cloud resources based on the seasonality of its products or consumer demands during festivities. It is clear that most benefits of cloud computing are constrained to businesses that perform online. That being said, cloud computing applications in agriculture have multiple advantages too.
Benefits of Cloud Computing in Agriculture
When it comes to the latest technologies, the benefits of cloud computing surpass the advantages of most others. The primary reason is that cloud computing services tend to show measurable improvements in KPIs in a very short period of time. Furthermore, the pay-as-you-go model of cloud consultation services enables businesses of all scales to adopt and benefit from it without any hurdles. In agriculture, cloud computing has many benefits too, and the major ones among them are mentioned below-
The foremost benefit of cloud computing services is how it enables investors to store and access tons of data from remote locations. Farming is a pastoral occupation that generally gets done in rural areas. Now, since not many rural areas have the infrastructure to travel frequently, they have to rely on remote sources to gather remote information. This is where the remote accessibility capabilities of cloud computing help.
Cloud servers are located at various touchpoints across the globe. This helps users in accessing the required data or processing capabilities from any region in the world without anything impeding their speed. For example, if a research paper is published in California, a farmer from a remote location in Kenya can still access it from the nearest cloud server at a great speed. Moreover, once a cloud network is duly established, it facilitates global communication among various policymakers, agriculture experts, and farmers for an overall improvement in the processes.
Cloud enables farmers to sell their produce directly to the end consumers. This eliminates the middlemen, allowing farmers to get a better price for their hard work and the public easier access to cheaper food. The quick availability of expert information also helps farmers in making better and data-driven decisions for their cultivation in order to improve their yield and profitability.
Improved Food Security
As discussed in the previous point, cloud computing services in agriculture benefits farmers economically. And with farmers of a region prospering, many of the agricultural challenges can be eradicated, including but not limited to lack of food security. Moreover, by forecasting weather trends, analyzing soil conditions, and mixing this data with historical growth patterns, farmers are enabled to plan their cultivation for improved yields, which eventually will help feed a substantial portion of the populace effortlessly.
Enhanced Quality of Cultivation
Through means of precision farming, weather-based crop selection, and employing insights from the latest studies in agriculture, farmers can easily enhance the quality of their harvest. They can know in advance which kind of soil is ideal for their crop and how much fertilizer would result in the best quality. For this, they can easily hire a cloud computing company to simply create a data pipeline to gather all the required information and then implement big data analysis tools to derive meaningful insights from the same.
Impact Of Cloud Computing on Agriculture
The benefits of cloud computing in agriculture are indeed many. However, many of these benefits are still in the conceptual stage, the reason being the low adoption rate. Measuring the real impact of cloud computing in agriculture is a dodgy job since not many organizations have yet implemented it; still, those who have, have witnessed unprecedented growth in their revenues by simply aligning their crucial decisions with insights from historical and remote data. That being said, cloud computing, despite having many use cases in agriculture, is yet to cause a major disruption in the industry.
The digital farming market is projected to be worth USD 21.49 billion by the end of the year 2022, and yet its investments in cloud computing are not significant at all. Presently, the major investments in agriculture digitization are accounted to technologies like agricultural drones, satellite photography and sensors, phase tracking, weather forecasting, automated irrigation, and soil moisture sensors. Now while many of these technologies are based on applications of AI in agriculture and edge computing, they do have opportunities for growth through cloud computing.
In fact, the farm management software market, which is majorly driven by the increasing implementation of cloud computing, is projected to be worth USD 1982.8 million by 2028. With cloud computing, such agriculture applications can cater to various challenges like the growing population and the subsequent rise in demand for food. That being said, there are many challenges in the implementation of cloud computing in the agriculture industry, which has historically maintained its adoption rate low. One of the most steadfast challenges is that of slow internet connections.
The agriculture industry needs huge plots of land, which are usually only available in rural areas. These areas lack the infrastructure and thus do not have the easy means to deploy agricultural cloud computing solutions. This has kept service providers from initiating development in the area. Farmers, too, shy away from investing in such solutions since the infrastructural changes and their expenses would make the entire project quite expensive. This is why it is hard to find a cloud computing company with experience in agriculture. Nevertheless, if you do have an idea and means to exploit cloud computing in an agriculture use case, you can always count on companies with expertise in both cloud computing and agriculture.
Developing Cloud Computing Applications in Agriculture
One of the major reasons adoption rates for cloud computing in agriculture have remained low is the lack of awareness and the required skills. Most farmers do not know enough about next-gen technologies to find relevant use cases. And investors with sufficient knowledge of the current status of the industry and its potential with technology face a hard time finding enterprise cloud computing services for agricultural use cases. While both these situations are bound to get better with time, this section helps the latter category in getting started with the development of cloud computing applications with meaningful and feasible use cases-
Cloud Computing in Automated Irrigation Systems
Automated irrigation systems use predictive analysis, historical data, and real-time data on the quality and state of soil and crop. As such, the system generates tons of data and analyzes an equal amount to facilitate the automation of this most intensive farming task. Moreover, since this data gets collected in a remote location, cloud computing services have become a necessity here. A cloud-based automated agriculture solution would use an ethernet module to provide an interface for an internet connection. This module has to be then mapped with a cloud connector to facilitate integration with MCU or microcontroller unit. This MCU would then be able to get real-time data from sensors on the condition of the plant and moisture in the soil. On the basis of this data, it can automatically activate submersible pumps to release water supply as and when required.
Precision agriculture is the new approach to farming that enables farmers to improve their crop yields and optimize resource utilization, all through the means of next-generation technologies. The approach mostly works on the basis of data gathered by drones and wireless sensors. The use case is simply to monitor the quality of soil, crop, water, fertilizer, etc., and generate insightful data from the same. Based on the analysis, farmers can decide which kind of crop to grow in different sections of their agricultural land and deploy only the most accurate amount of irrigation water and fertilizer. Since this application of AI in agriculture mostly functions on the basis of data collected from remote sources, using cloud computing services becomes a necessity. Cloud-connected wireless sensors can capture and relay the relevant data from the field to the machine learning application on a cloud server. The application then processes all the data quickly to give farmers a better understanding of their crops’ conditions and make data-driven decisions as soon as they’re needed.
Accessible Expert Consultation
One of the major benefits of cloud computing in agriculture is remote access to information. This allows agricultural experts to share their knowledge remotely. This expertise can easily get shared on a global level without additional efforts, helping the consultation experts improve their reach and farmer resolve their queries without investing time and money in travel. Now this information can either be made available through written text or pre-recorded videos. However, a more appropriate solution that utilizes the prowess of cloud computing technology is the streaming of real-time content. Farmers can ask their questions to the experts, be they from private agriculture consultation firms or government-offered aid. The experts, too, can offer solutions with a relatively quick response time. Furthermore, the cloud has also enabled farmers to get access to the latest research and their consequent insights. This helps them implement the latest findings to their cultivation and gain a competitive advantage.
eCommerce Supply Chain Automation
Agriculture is one of the most crucial industries worldwide, and yet it ranks last when it comes to technology-driven improvements. For many years, farmers have been relying on poor transportation facilities and exploiting middlemen to sell their cultivation. But now, thanks to the technologies like AI and cloud computing in agriculture, they are able to sell their produce directly to consumers through eCommerce. Cloud computing not only enables farmers to sell their products directly to the end-consumers and thus earn greater revenues, but they can also automate parts of their precision farming planning by analyzing the consumer data from the eCommerce platform. They can then quickly find which crops would be in high demand in their chosen markets and thus optimize their supply chains for improved profitability.
Farmers’ Information Collection
It is important for the government and local authorities to monitor and study the agricultural activities in their administrative areas. They are responsible for maintaining food security and offering financial support to the farmers of the region. Since most farmers are constantly employed in labor-intensive work, they cannot offer volunteered help in keeping the administration updated with accurate data. This problem has, for a long time, kept decision-makers from making data-driven decisions that can help the farmers more appropriately. With cloud computing, however, authorities can store farmers’ data, including their yield, crop type, and the assistance they require. This helps them identify the core agricultural areas and frame better strategies for future resource allocation.
Crop and Soil Management
Cloud helps farmers on many levels by simply providing them the information that optimizes their work for better yield and profitability. Cloud-based APIs and services like weather forecasting can help farmers plan their selection of crops and planning their cultivation and harvest time. Similarly, analysts can evaluate sample soil profiles from an area to understand its composition, quality, acidity, and alkalinity. This data can then combine with the historical data from various regions to understand the previous growth patterns. Combined, this data can let farmers decide which crop would result in better yield from their region and thus plan their cultivation accordingly. Now cloud computing technologies would be crucial in the entire process. From collecting sample data and performing big data analysis on the same to sharing the relevant insights with farmers and gathering their feedback to complete the research, every part of the process can only be accomplished through seamless cloud computing services.
Measurable Growth for Research
One of the most difficult things for the agriculture community is to evolve their methods. They have to depend on their traditional methods to ensure revenue streams for their livelihood. This massively limits innovation in the industry, resulting in a lack of growth in productivity. One way to tackle this time-proven challenge is by implementing the application of cloud computing in agriculture. A farmer need not experiment with a variety of crops and other resources. They can simply grow their crops in a controlled environment and monitor their performance at regular intervals. The data they generate can be uploaded to the cloud for comparison and analysis with present and historical growth patterns in similar profiles. Later, this data can evolve their decisions for improved yield and revenues.
Matellio’s Expertise in Enterprise Cloud Computing Services for Agriculture
With over a decade worth of experience in enterprise cloud computing services, Matellio stands at the forefront in this technology arena. We have both the expertise and experience in creating custom cloud solutions for a variety of industries. Our experience in developing agriculture software and application solutions also enables us to offer cloud services for industry use cases.
We understand the intricacies required in applications like eCommerce supply chain management, soil and weather data analysis, automation in soil and irrigation management, etc. With our experience in developing enterprise solutions for the agriculture industry and our unparalleled cloud computing skills, we are among the leading solution providers for businesses in the agriculture sector. Our flexible hiring model allows agriculture businesses of all scales to invest in custom cloud computing application development. All they need to do is share their requirements with us by filling out a simple form. Our experts will then evaluate the feasibility of their idea, create a project plan, and then share a quote with them, all for free.