LoRaWAN technology is at the service of agriculture. A solution to monitor and plan greenhouse activities featuring the LoRaWAN system - a wireless radio technology for the long-distance and low energy consumption monitoring and communication of data which does not use an Internet connection or electricity - was installed in Chiaramonte Gulfi, Sicily.
Above, left to right.: Luca Occhipinti, Andrea Angilletti, Alessio Occhipinti
The new systems have been installed in Andrea Angiletti's greenhouses - 3000 square meters of fruits of the forest. It is a crop producing high quantities and requiring constant temperature monitoring as well as suitable ventilation, irrigation and spraying. For Andrea Angiletti, part of agricultural activities are now planned and adjusted remotely through a system of sensors developed by Lualtek, a start-up established by Luca and Alessio Occhipinti.
Thermo-hygrometer installed among the plants
Technology that does not need electricity
"We wanted to apply the LoRaWAN system in agriculture, as we believe this would provide great advantages to producers. Low-consumption highly-innovative sensors have been installed in greenhouses, assembled and set up by us. They do not need electricity, but feature a long-lasting battery system (at least 10 years), meaning the system is always on to allow the constant monitoring of crops."
"In addition to sensors, we have added the application part so that greenhouse conditions can be programmed and modified remotely. In detail, producers and agronomists can set a possible scenario, i.e. select basic conditions and plan a series of activities that must be initiated at specific conditions. For example, when sensors detect a set temperature, they can either open or close the doors. Producers can also monitor data remotely and take the necessary decisions."
PC and smartphone for programming
"In the greenhouses, we set up an internal thermo-hygrometer, a soil thermo-hygrometer (temperature and humidity sensors), an external mini weather station and switches to open doors (pre-motorized), turn on fans and turn on the drill. Using our software, doors and fans activate automatically upon reaching set temperature and humidity thresholds (thanks to an algorithm that cross-references data). What is more, Andrea Angilletti is notified whenever some values reach their thresholds and an automatic operation occurs. The drill can be turned on and off remotely via smartphone with a button in the software (his drill is located over 700 m from the greenhouses and he had to get the car every time). The system enables the saving of considerable time and labor."
The Lualtek system generates great advantages: producers had to check the temperature 6 or 7 times a day, while now they do it only when necessary. Sensors and switches are highly innovative and assembled in-house. They work at a distance of up to 10 km, which can be extended by installing other gateways. Modular sensors are developed based on diseases, fungi or other needs such as antifreeze or fertigation. "It is also possible to act on micro-areas and apply different measures according to the conditions of a specific plant or area. Thanks to machine learning, the software can suggest and/or apply changes to parameters and thresholds and make predictions based on historical data."