As farming with precision sweeps across the continent, farmers are looking for technologies to maximise the economic and environmental benefits of precision farming.
Farmers will soon be able to double their production with precision after Liquid Telcom entered into partnership with Sigfox to build and deploy a nationwide Internet of Things(IoT) network covering up to 85 per cent of the population.
According to the internet service provider, the launch of the IOT network will be used to connect remote sensors in sectors including agriculture and fishing, transport and logistics, utilities and energy to support the country’s Big Four agenda.
This will enable better collection of data and availability of analysed data will increase efficiency in all sectors.
The introduction of a Sigfox Low Power Wide Area Network(LPWAN), a first in the region, will allow users especially farmers to use IoT technology wherever they are, and position the country to apply cost-effective local solutions using IoT.
“We are building a LPWAN network infrastructure that will enable farmers across the country to connect literally anything to the network.”
“With the network we are building there will be no more guesswork in farming when it comes to rainfall patterns, humidity or soil moisture,” said Joel Muigai, Head of IoT Strategy at Liquid Telcom.
Conducting agribusiness with such precision, Muigai adds, will increase the country’s food security.
“We want our farmers to be informed by the soil when it needs calcium, when to reduce humidity”, said Muigai.
The new base stations will be connected to Liquid Telecom’s fibre network to deliver guaranteed reliability and speed.
To reach small holder farmers, the service provider will use the existing ecosystems such as co-operatives and farmer groups.
The new network runs on the free ISM band 868MHz and will cost Kenyans as little as Ksh100 ($1) per year per devise or sensor depending on usage.
“Connecting remote sensors over mobile data requires high battery consumption or connection to the mains power supply, which is often challenging or not possible in rural Kenya. However with the new IOT network, the sensors will require no sim card and last up to 15 years without recharging or changing battery”, he added
Sigfox has enabled its industry partners to develop wireless communication chipsets that IOT device manufacturers can use. These chipsets will allow Kenyan companies to develop IoT devices for both domestic and global markets.
To promote development, Liquid Telecom Kenya will be working with incubator hubs and universities to enable students and start-ups to develop IoT services locally.
“This new network puts start-ups and established operational businesses in a better position to develop devices and solutions that create new business opportunity and improve productivity,” said Adil CEO at Liquid Telecom Kenya.
As part of its Go Cloud initiative, which is designed to raise awareness, adoption and usage of cloud-based services by start-ups in Africa, Liquid Telecom will begin the Go Things project to accelerate IoT adoption in the region.
“We are starting a new economy for this country,”said Geoffrey Shimanyula, CCO Liquid Telecom Kenya.