MultiTech Systems is undertaking a field trial of LoRa low power wide area network Internet of Things (IoT) technology with WaterBit, an agricultural services provider based in Sunnyvale, California, to access data on temperature, humidity and moisture conditions.
Utilising MultiTech’s IoT gateway in combination with LoRa technology, MultiConnect mDots and WaterBit’s sensors, WaterBit is able to access data from numerous endpoints throughout its dense field site, without dependence on spotty, unpredictable cellular coverage.
“Our field trial with WaterBit demonstrates the power of combining sensor and LoRa technologies to capture vital, hard to reach information,” said Michael Finegan, Director of Business, IoT Development at MultiTech.
“The Internet of Things enables these various processes to help increase production and optimize efficiencies. Farming industry needs can now be easily monitored through this revolutionary ‘smart farming’ scenario.”
The MultiTech MultiConnect Conduit communications gateway has the ability to manage thousands of MultiConnect mDots – low cost LoRaWAN ready modules able to connect sensors or appliances – and transmit their data over any cellular network to a customer's preferred data management platform.
WaterBit is utilising the MultiConnect Conduit configured with a LoRa card to connect multiple remote mDots with WaterBit’s patent pending sensors. WaterBit will access critical data pertaining to temperature, humidity, and moisture using these sensors and will monitor the data via its cloud system.
“It is only natural that some of the world’s best places to grow crops are also the least likely to have complete cellular coverage. Still, the Internet of Things holds a great deal of promise for agriculture. WaterBit conducted a robust study of products and the only solution that worked was the MultiTech LoRa gateway,” said Leif Chastaine, chief operating officer at WaterBit.
“We required compatibility with SemTech LoRaWAN, and the ARM mbed Platform. Only MultiTech had these partnerships in place and was able to deliver on all of these needs cost effectively, and at world-class quality levels. We are thrilled to have this implementation up and running.”
LoRa is one of a number of competing wireless technologies developed to enable low-data-rate communications over long distances utilising sensors and actuators for M2M and IoT applications. It is particularly attractive for many applications because of its long-range capability, ability to enable battery-operated assets to function for years and its low cost/high ROI benefits.
Key to the field trial is the ability to test LoRa and confirm its performance characteristic in challenging crop conditions in multiple locations in California during the winter. The dense foliage of citrus trees, rain, and variations in terrain will challenge test radios. Multitech and WaterBit intend to share early test results in February at AG World Expo in Tulare, California.