The future of farming? Shipping containers, apps and IoT

The future of farming? Shipping containers, apps and IoT

Boston-based agricultural firm Freight Farms has announced that it will add LogMeIn’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform to its already unusual method of food production.

The company takes an innovative approach to farming, growing crops inside repurposed shipping containers, dubbed Leafy Green Machines. It is hoped that the use of an IoT platform will allow for more detailed monitoring of growing conditions in real-time.

Combined with IoT sensors and a suite of bespoke apps, Xively will enable farmers to assess their crops remotely, tracking features such as temperature, humidity, CO2 levels and plant growth. Alerts are delivered whenever any of these metrics fall out of the ideal growing range. The data collected from users will also enable Freight Farms to improve their own services, giving them greater insight into how customers are utilising their products.

CEO and co-founder of Freight Farms, Brad McNamara, believes that connecting their farms to the Internet of Things is essential for success.

IoT equals smart farming

“We knew we needed a partner to help bring that vision to life,” he said. “Xively by LogMeIn offered us an easy way to connect our farms and farmers and provided the security and scalability we required.  In addition, LogMeIn’s strong legacy of connecting products gave us the confidence that their experts would not only meet our expectations, but exceed them.”

Smart farming is thought to be essential if food supply is to keep pace with growing world population levels. Aside from the work being undertaken by Freight Farms, many other agriculture firms are embracing the Internet of Things to create new efficiencies and improve yield.

“Agriculture presents perhaps the perfect business case for IoT implementation — farmers work across large areas and have their assets in different places, which means they are difficult to manually survey,” Tony Judd, MD UKI & Nordics at Verizon, told Internet of Business.

“IoT, combined with Big Data, provides farmers with a wealth of information they can use to optimise efficiency, maximise productivity, and ensure the quality of food in the supply chain — from field to fork.