A recent Wall Street Journal article, Farmers Join Push to Harvest the Benefits of 5G, highlighted the 5G Open Innovation Lab’s very own Ag Field Lab. Powered by Expeto™ NeXtworking, the Ag Field Lab’s Snohomish County farm aims to utilize 5G connectivity to track growing conditions and process data at a speed unmatched by 4G. The lab’s initiative is called the Food Resiliency Project, and it is responding to immediate concerns regarding food insecurity raised in the age of COVID.
Out in the fields of Northwest Washington, sensors used to measure moisture in the soil and track microclimates have given these Snohomish County farmers the ability to access real-time data through an app on their phone. Equipped with this information, crucial decisions like when to water crops, when to shade plants to protect them from drying out, and when to use pest-targeting chemicals have been streamlined and simplified for farmers.
But more than the speed of 5G, it is the access to broad coverage over large and often remote tracts of land that excites Ag Field Lab farmers. This expansive coverage is achieved by leveraging Expeto’s platform deployed on local servers that reside within a preexisting barn on the premises. Best of all, the Ag Field Lab network is a real live example of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) with a private 4G/5G Mobile Network deployed locally at the farm and local compute able to perform processing at the far edge of the network.
“Today, it’s the good that we do with technology, and it’s the change that we bring about in the world” explained Expeto CEO Michael Anderson, “and the 5G Open Innovation Lab is that venue.”
Though many big gains sectors have already begun reaping the industry-advancing benefits of 5G, the Food Resiliency Project presents one of the earliest adoptions of this groundbreaking technology in agriculture. Its ultimate goal is to measure outcomes at the Ag Field Lab and share its findings with the global agriculture community to help improve food resiliency across the globe. This comes at a time when demand for food continues to grow while areas being farmed diminish worldwide.
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