The future of farming is electric, and wireless charging is lighting the way. The agriculture industry is undergoing a renaissance, with Internet of Things (IoT) technology transforming traditional practices into a more connected, sustainable future. In 2022 alone, the global IoT market for the agriculture sector surged to $12.5 billion, and is projected to bloom to more than $70 billion in the next 10 years. For this technology to take root – especially when it involves thousands of internet-connected devices in a single field – there is a crucial question to consider: How do we reliably and consistently power these devices? Wireless charging offers a viable solution.
Wireless power supplies smart farming devices with continuous energy, eliminating the need for frequent battery changes or cord management. This is particularly beneficial for devices in hard-to-reach or rugged areas of a farm. As a result, farmers can focus on cultivating their crops with confidence, assured that their technological tools will remain powered. The elimination of wires and the need for battery replacement saves valuable time and resources, which can be redirected toward more impactful activities.
Uninterrupted, sustainable power
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported that the country discards more than 3 billion batteries each year, with most ending up in landfills. Batteries also contain metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, and silver, which can threaten human health and the environment when improperly managed at the end of their service life.
Most of the billions of connected devices deployed or to be deployed in the agriculture sector will require batteries or cords to provide power. If wireless charging is instead applied to each device, this alleviates the need for each battery that would ultimately end up in our world’s landfills.
Continuous livestock monitoring
Roam free - that’s the ethos wireless charging brings to livestock monitoring. No more wasting time wrangling cows to remove and recharge clunky tracking tags. Simply power the smart RFID tags wirelessly, allowing them to attach to ears undisturbed, beaming health signals 24/7. Farmers are then able to tap into a continuous stream of biometrics at the click of a mouse, monitoring grazing herds from afar.
Wireless power also can energize smart fences, creating connected boundaries to shepherd livestock in a grazing rotation. Transmitters spaced along fence lines form an invisible, tech-charged perimeter containing animals without confining wires. The precision and freedom wireless charging unlocks for farmers keeps animals safer, herds healthier and the land self-sustaining.
Charged soil sensors cultivate smarter crops
Wireless charging nourishes the future of precision agriculture, allowing moisture sensors and other devices to take continuous metrics within fields and transmit data seamlessly. Powered wirelessly over the air, IoT soil sensors provide a maintenance-free crop watchdog, continuously monitoring moisture levels below the surface. This allows farmers to water crops with surgical precision, administering just the right amount of irrigation and fertilizer. No batteries to replace means no disruption in providing farmers with up-to-the-minute metrics about their fields.
Unconfined by cords, wirelessly powered sensors can be spread across acres of land, enabling expanded views of crop health. By unlocking monitoring in remote locations, wireless charging gives farmers insights no matter how far the field might lay from the homestead. The future of agriculture will reap what wireless power sows - smarter, sustainable crops.
Automating the farm with wireless workers
Wireless charging unleashes an army of autonomous workers to take over dangerous and tedious tasks on the farm. Drones powered remotely can soar over vast crop expanses, spotting pest infestations and potential deficiencies early on. Self-driving tractors can plow fields and robotic arms pluck ripe produce with no carbon emissions thanks to wireless electricity.
Further down the food chain, wirelessly powered sensors track crops in transport, monitoring conditions in real-time to reduce spoilage. Densely dispersed sensor networks charged wirelessly over the air can provide hyperlocal weather conditions, from dry spells to localized hailstorms.
Reduced labor and operating costs
Wireless charging also can enable significant cost benefits for agricultural producers. These benefits include:
● Labor savings. By automating tasks with wirelessly charged, AI-enabled drones, robots and sensors, farmers can reduce their need for hired farm labor. This can be especially beneficial in times of rising labor costs due to workforce shortages. Wireless charging also can reduce the time spent by farmers and field workers on changing batteries and maintaining wires, enabling them to focus on higher-value work.
● Increased yields. Lower fuel and maintenance costs also are possible for vehicles and equipment that use wireless charging; an associated cost reduction comes from eliminating the cost of replacing batteries.
The age of smart, connected agriculture is dawning, and wireless charging provides the foundation to energize this technology-driven industry transformation. Through wireless charging, IoT devices like sensors, drones and robots can blanket fields and barns to provide automated, real-time insights without interruption.
They bring with them the promise of increased efficiency, productivity, profitability and sustainability. Wireless charging can enable advanced AI and analytics to guide precise irrigation, fertilization and harvest optimization. GPS-guided, self-driving tractors can reduce fuel costs and emissions, while sensors can monitor crop and soil conditions to reduce waste and drones identify crop threats early. In short, wireless power unlocks the full capabilities of data and automation on the farm.
The infrastructure for these wireless networks is being laid today. Innovators are primed to reap the benefits as technology and agriculture grow together. While it will take time to fully mature, the digital and electric future of agriculture is undeniably here. Wireless power provides the continuous energy to nurture this growth around the world.