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Actility using platform for precision agriculture project

Australia’s Connected Country Network will use Actility’s ThingPark platform for precision agriculture functions like remote monitoring of soil conditions

French firm Actility, which specializes in low-power, wide-area (LPWA) networks for the internet of things (IoT), announced that its ThingPark platform is powering the roll out of the Connected Country Network in Australia. The Connected Country Network aims to support precision agriculture services, and is the result of a new joint venture between Delta Agribusiness subsidiary Discovery Ag and the National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo).

Connected Country will provide the backbone infrastructure for networks of low-cost wireless sensors that constantly report on essential farm metrics like soil moisture, rainfall, crop health, water levels and livestock data. The sensors use limited power and can operate ‘in the field’ for years without the need for intervention.

Actility said that the network will be immediately rolled out across 400,000ha in the NSW Central West area. Within 18 months the joint venture partners intend to provide IoT connectivity across vast areas of the nation’s farming regions.

“While hi[gh]-tech farming techniques are in use today, 80% of Australia’s farming footprint lacks adequate network coverage,” said Discovery Ag CEO, Alicia Garden. “For those that do have coverage, existing 3/4G cellular technologies make it too expensive for most farmers to network their sensors and create a truly connected ‘smart farm’. This private infrastructure project is initially about building the enabling technology to make the IoT viable for Australian agriculture.”

“The Rural IoT network, delivered by the NNN and powered by Actility’s ThingPark platform, will solve the connectivity and affordability problems for farmers. Together with Discovery Ag we will be providing a low-cost end-to end standards based solution comprising on-farm networks, network-ready sensors, and access to simple on-farm tools that farmers can use to monitor information and take timely action, NNNCo Founder and CEO, Rob Zagarella, said.

Actility CEO Mike Mulica said that agriculture is one of the verticals adopting new technologies for certain business cases. “This network will be a game changer for farmers in Australia’s Connected Country, thanks to its dramatic reduction in the TCO of an IoT solution,” Mulica said.

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