NNNCo deploys IoT network for Australian cotton farmers
The company said the IoT network will cover some 3 million hectares across Australia
Australia’s National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo) and Goanna Ag announced the rollout of a publicly available LoRaWAN internet of things network for smart irrigation management solutions to Australian cotton growers.
The network covers an area of about 3 million hectares and is an extension of NNNCo’s existing network coverage; the companies said that the rollout of the network will continue throughout 2019.
Goanna Ag recently secured funding from investors including Westpac and Graincorp Operations. The company will use the network to bring low-cost connected sensors and data analytics to growers, combining soil moisture data via installed probes, local weather data and satellite imagery to optimize irrigation scheduling.
“Every day that a cotton crop is under stress can cost a grower over $100 per hectare. We help growers schedule and apply just the right amount of water to use on crops at just the right time so they can optimize their performance and profit,” said Alicia Garden, CEO of Goanna Ag. “Connectivity has always been an issue for regional and rural areas due to lack of coverage and the relatively high cost of connection,” she added. “LoRaWAN networks have proved ideal for agriculture here and overseas because of the low cost of sending small amounts of essential data using very low power.”
Goanna Ag is currently deploying their first 100 gateways in New South Wales and the Queensland regions, along with over 2,000 sensors across cotton farms. These sensors include soil moisture probes, rain gauges, weather stations, and water and fuel tank monitors.
“LoRaWAN is a global open standard technology and there’s a huge growing market of sensors for agriculture,” Garden said. “The idea is not to lock growers in, but to help the industry adopt the technology quickly and easily for the benefit of everyone.”
“Any compliant LoRaWAN sensor will be able to connect to the network, with Goanna Ag providing sensors where needed and analytics as part of its GoField and GoSense services,” Garden said.
NNNCo provides enterprise/carrier grade service leveraging LoRaWAN technology. The company is delivering a nationwide network and end-to-end platform to enable solutions for agriculture, business and government.
“The network will significantly drive down the cost of connection for data communication and the cost of sensors using this technology. This will make the difference between isolated usage and widespread deployment of the sensors which will in turn provide more granular information and higher value to the industry,” said Rob Zagarella, NNNCo founder and CEO.
“NNNCo has a strong partnership with Goanna Ag and has been working with them on network extension across regional areas for over 12 months,” he said.
In August, NNNCo signed a contract with the city of Gold Coast to build and operate a commercial low-power wide-area network, using LoRaWAN technology.