How the IoT Is Helping Our Environment

The Internet of Things offers numerous applications and benefits for animals and their surroundings.
By Juan José Bello

Nowadays, many of the Earth's endangered forests are being touched by wireless connection infrastructures, which enables us to use low-cost cellular plans to send data to the cloud. Here you can watch how Rainforest Connection works. The value of this IoT initiative is that activists can act immediately when illegal logging is happening. "It's no more about going out and finding a tree that's been cut. It's not about seeing a tree from a satellite area that's been cut. It's real-time intervention," said Topher White, Rainforest Connection's founder.

Applications in Agriculture
Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of freshwater consumption worldwide. Nevertheless, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an astonishing 60 percent of the water diverted or pumped for irrigation.

The WWF cites four main reasons for this massive waste: • leaky irrigation systems • wasteful field application methods • cultivation of thirsty crops not suited to the environment • misdirected subsidies, low public and political awareness of the crisis, and weak environmental legislation

How does the IoT help to optimize freshwater consumption in agriculture? Cropx, an agro-analytics company, is providing farmers with sensors and a mobile app to determine the amount water needed for each part of a field. Here's how it works: Cropx starts by doing a one-time analysis of each field using publicly available data of the soil type and topography to then divide the land in irrigation zones.

After analysis, using a mobile app, the farmers are guided where to deploy their sensors. These sensors are meant to send soil data to the cloud, and the app calculates the optimal amount of water to be used in each zone. As result, farmers using Cropx have reported benefits such as water and energy savings of up to 25 percent, and have also been able to avoid overwatering, which is harmful for crops and can lead to chemical run-off, preventing effects for the environment around.

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