The 5G Open Innovation Lab has established a field lab targeting agricultural IoT (Internet of Things) applications that will use 5G-capable, CBRS LTE-based connectivity from T-Mobile. Edge computing also will be a component of the project.
The 5G OI Lab calls itself “a global applied innovation ecosystem of developers, corporate enterprises, [and] academic and government institutions working together with . . . start-ups to fuel the development of new capabilities and market categories that will transform . . . the way we work, live and play.”
The agricultural IoT field lab will be in Snohomish County, Washington and will support the Food Resiliency Project, an economic development initiative funded by a grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. That project establishes a virtual and physical space to bring food growers and distributors together with technology companies to develop new capabilities to improve agricultural sector resiliency and minimize future food service disruptions.
T-Mobile Agricultural IoT
Two agricultural sites will have dedicated access to the T-Mobile 5G-capable, CBRS LTE private network, which will provide access to Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure and the Microsoft 5G-capable network core. The agricultural sites include a retail farm and event venue featuring apple orchards, strawberry fields and a pumpkin patch, as well as a commercial grower and supplier of premium feed for horses and livestock.
Each site will have a range of agricultural IoT soil sensors for measuring temperature, volumetric water content, oxygen levels, and photosynthetic radiation. Supply chain and logistics tracking of food from farm-to-table to ensure safety and security will also be part of the development efforts.
Connectivity to the cloud will support latency-sensitive and compute-intensive applications. As Steve Mantle, founder and CEO of innov8.ag, explained in a press release, the goal is to generate “insights that bring together environmental, soil, chemical, nutrient, labor, water and imaging data,” with the goal of enabling “efficiencies and better outcomes in yield and quality.”
Innov8.ag is one of several start-ups involved in the project. More established companies that are involved include Nokia, which will provide radios, as well as F5, VMware, Intel, Amdocs and several startups.
T-Mobile isn’t the only U.S. carrier getting involved in supporting agricultural IoT.
UScellular provides agricultural IoT connectivity through a partnership with Internet of Things America. And some smaller, more rural wireless carriers provide connectivity to edge computing from Trilogy that supports agricultural IoT.