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Protecting more than profit: the IoT solutions that are saving businesses money while helping the planet

22 Apr 2021
Image-Vinod-Kumar

Vinod Kumar

CEO, Vodafone Business

What does “smart” mean today when it comes to businesses?

It means digital, so they can be flexible, efficient and resilient. But it also means green, as organisations’ “carbon footprints” become as essential to report on as their profits. This is due to an increase in regulations prompted by societal changes, which make sustainability a critical part of any business’ credentials.

This focus on sustainability is taking place alongside an acceleration of digitalisation plans for many businesses, especially as the COVID-19 crisis highlighted how the ability to rely upon data-informed decisions could make the difference between success and failure for organisations.

In the agricultural sector, the Internet of Things (IoT) is already helping farms become more profitable, competitive and eco-friendly. For instance, the real-time insights IoT offers supports both a reduction in pesticide usage and the conservation of water and energy.

This allows farmers to be not just leaner in their operations and more productive, but also to comply with increasingly tighter regulations.

For many farmers however, the obstacle is often financial, as digital solutions often require an initial investment not everyone can afford. And that’s where our partnership with Turkish bank, İşbank, is really making a difference.

Protecting farmer’s finances

Working together, we offer farmers an IoT-based solution that can notify them of things like insects or bad weather through an app and SMS, using data collected from stations around the farm.

As part of the project, İşbank also offers a ‘Digital Agriculture Loan’ with a special discounted rate only available to those using our digital agriculture solution.

Without the need for high investment amounts, farmers can apply for this loan to install the Digital Agriculture Solution, getting the initial investment they need. Then after the harvest time they can make their loan repayment in yearly instalment options.

And we’ve seen some great results so far.

In Mersin/Silifke, according to a report by the Silifke Strawberry Producers Association, a saving of approximately 5 million liras (over €500,000 euros) was achieved in strawberry production alone and in Bursa, we saved an olive producer over 15 million liras (just over €1.5 million euros) in the first six months.

In addition, unnecessary spraying was prevented, meaning product loss was reduced but also pesticide usage was less – good news for the planet and for Turkey’s Zero Waste initiative.

By providing measurements such as air temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind speed and direction, soil temperature and humidity, water evaporation rate and solar radiation value, farmers can react in real-time to any changes or developments.

It can determine the best time for agricultural operations such as fertilisation or irrigation and early warning alerts regarding diseases and pests can save close to 50 per cent on spraying.

Transforming traditional methods

For Mustafa Erüst’s family, as fourth-generation farmers they are always looking to the most current technologies to continue driving the business forward.

Using IoT, employees can stay regularly updated on the weather conditions and receive alerts to prevent diseases from spreading to their crop, including getting a simple notification once it’s the right time to apply the pesticide.

With these tools, Erüst Agriculture can lower overall production costs and decrease water usage, fertilisers and pesticides for a smaller impact on the environment and a more sustainable way of working.

We caught up with Mustafa Erust to find out more.

Protecting more than profit

Connecting farmers and delivering equipment

Equipment such as tractors can play a vital role in helping keep costs low and productivity high.

That’s why Hello Tractor has created an app that allows farmers in emerging markets to rent agricultural equipment on demand, in an easy and affordable way.

For tractor owners, they can earn money by loaning out equipment they aren’t using, and, because each tractor receives an IoT-powered monitoring device, they also receive additional insights such as maintenance needs, fuel consumption and operator information to help improve their business operations.

It also gives them visibility of their tractor’s location at all times, which provides peace of mind.

This makes it less of a risk for tractor owners, while the machinery means smallholder farmers can plant 30-40 times faster at one-third of the cost.

Find out how IoT could help your business improve its own efficiencies.

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