10G Agriculture

The widespread availability of 10G in the future will transform the face of American agriculture, according new a new NCTA smart ag white paper. The cable industry uses the term “10G” to encompass a range of innovations aimed at boosting the bandwidth of existing hybrid fiber coax networks and at enhancing security and reducing latency.

The white paper, titled “The Future of Agriculture and Food in a 10G World,” was produced by NCTA (The Internet & Television Association) in partnership with the Future Today Institute. It details several benefits that 10G technology, including DOCSIS 4.0, will bring to agriculture, including improved monitoring of farm ecosystems, supply chain security, and scalability for indoor farms.

“The 10G network—delivering speeds of 10 gigabits per second—will power the Fourth Industrial Revolution, enabling creators to develop life-changing innovations that consumers will be able to use every day,” the white paper says.

Central to the white paper are two example scenarios of how 10G will affect people’s lives in years to come. Described as a vision of the world ten years from now—when “10G has helped the industry to evolve”—the futuristic examples present a vision of agriculture in a world connected with the speed of 10G:

  • Smart farms on 10G networks will allow farmers to control their farms with digital tools like weather and growth simulations, 3D visualization, and augmented reality. Drones, connected via the 10G network to a control center, will perform harvesting tasks once done by human workers (who, in this scenario, are in short supply). Mobile sensors connected to farm animals will monitor characteristics like movement and health.
  • Urban farming will thrive inside buildings, with sun exposure measured and controlled digitally and robots inspecting and harvesting fruit. Urban farmers will have data about the health of these greenhouses at their fingertips via mobile tools. In this scenario, nearly every public building will be home to some type of food production, with vertical farms grown via LED lights in apartment buildings, supermarkets, office spaces, etc.

The white paper closes with strategic questions for those who are planning the future of agriculture. These questions center around issues that will be enhanced or made possible by 10G, including integration of new technology, artificial intelligence and prevention of cyberattacks. The full white paper can be accessed here.

It’s worth noting that some of the use cases that the white paper describes would require wireless connectivity and that 10G would appear to be just one form of communications needed to support some of the use cases described in the white paper.

Wireless technologies that could also be used to support smart ag include LTE, 5G and various IoT communications technologies.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report

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