According to a new research report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the installed base of wireless IoT devices in agricultural production worldwide reached 17.0 million connections in 2016. The number of wireless connections is forecasted to grow at compound annual growth rate of 10.0 percent to reach 27.4 million in 2021. There is a broad range of wireless technologies used in agricultural production with different characteristics and use cases. 802.15.4-based standards comprise the most employed wireless technology due to its wide adoption in dairy cow monitoring applications. The main application areas for cellular communication are machine telematics and remote monitoring via in-field sensor systems. Cellular connections amounted to 0.8 million at the end of 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.2 percent to reach 3.1 million in 2021. LPWA technologies are expected to achieve the highest growth rate and realise a significant market position in the remote monitoring and control segment.
Berg Insight’s outlook for the agricultural technology market is positive as agricultural production remains greatly underpenetrated by wireless IoT solutions. Manufacturers of farm and dairy equipment have traditionally chosen to partner with smaller and specialised players but increasingly focus on developing proprietary technologies. In the crop production sector, a group of companies have emerged as leaders on the market for precision agriculture solutions. Major providers include Deere & Company, Trimble, Topcon Positioning Systems and Raven Industries. Other significant vendors include AGCO, Ag Leader Technology, DICKEY-john and Hexagon. In the milk production sector, the world’s largest dairy equipment vendor DeLaval offers its in-house developed activity monitoring system along with its milking and dairy farming infrastructure solutions. Important providers of sensor systems for dairy cow monitoring furthermore include Netherlands-based Nedap and The Allflex Group subsidiary SCR which both sell their systems to a number of leading dairy equipment manufacturers and genetics companies.
“Leading providers are now investing in technical platforms capable of supporting integration with third-party hardware and software solutions as agricultural equipment are becoming parts of broader systems”, said Fredrik Stålbrand, IoT Analyst, Berg Insight. The increasingly complex technological environment that farmers operate in also demands dealers to offer a greater extent of services to integrate and support the range of technologies that are utilised in advanced production systems. “As interoperability between systems remains as a challenge, the need for services and technical support from local dealers is likely to increase with continued adoption of precision farming solutions, in-field sensor systems and animal monitoring technologies”, concluded Mr. Stålbrand.