Smart agriculture incorporates Internet of Things (IoT) technology and solutions in order to attain improved operational efficiency, maximized yield, and minimized wastage through the use of real-time field data collection, data analysis, and the deployment of control mechanisms. The share of agricultural retailers in the United States that offer yield monitor data analysis is expected to grow from 51 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2018. Smart agriculture employs a range of IoT-based applications such as precision farming, variable rate technology, smart irrigation, as well as smart greenhouses.
Precision farming is set to become the most influential agricultural trend in developed countries. The market value of precision farming is also expected to grow from 730 million U.S. dollars in 2015 to 2.42 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. A look at the distribution of precision farming worldwide shows North America as the major player with market value estimated at to 1.2 billion Euros in 2014.
Other applications of IoT in smart agriculture include: Variable Rate Technology (VRT), agriculture drones, soil monitoring systems, and precision livestock farming. Telecom operators benefit a lot from smart agriculture as cellular connections account for by far the largest share of communications systems in smart agriculture worldwide. The main drivers of smart agriculture include: the realities of a changing climate, a need to conserve water, and its emphasis on the enhancement of efficiency through resource optimization and cost minimization.