Microsoft to support Mexican farmers with AI and hi-tech connectivity
Microsoft’s program sends the data collected via sensors, tractors, and cameras, to a computer in the farm via TV White Spaces (TVWS) - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Microsoft to support Mexican farmers with AI and hi-tech connectivity

05/06/2019
14:00
Newsroom
Mexico City
Isaías Pérez
-A +A
Through FarmBeats, farmers will be able to set up wireless sensors and use drones to assess sowing conditions

Microsoft has just presented FarmBeats in Mexico, a project which aims to help farmers in remote areas to increase land productivity with a series of innovations related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Through this program, farmers will be able to deploy robots, set up wireless sensors on the ground, and use drones to assess sowing conditions. Furthermore, said devices will use cloud services for data processing.

“Our goal is simple: To put AI in the hands of those who need it most while promoting scientific development and the creation of innovating solutions in the agricultural sector,” stated Raanver Chandra, head of the Microsoft FarmBeats program.

The hi-tech program will allow farmers to anticipate the conditions of next year’s crops based on historical production levels, predict weather conditions in the long term, and have updated information on genetically modified seeds and commodity prices, among other data.

Microsoft’s program sends the data collected via sensors, tractors, and cameras, to a computer in the farm via TV White Spaces (TVWS), a type of broadband technology similar to Wi-Fi.

TV White Spaces (TVWS) offers Wi-Fi connectivity at just a fraction of the cost of traditional cellular technology. The Microsoft White Spaces Database offers users the ability to identify and access available unoccupied TV channels by given location, creating premium wireless broadband broadcasting that has the ability to transmit over greater distances with increased coverage, significantly lower power consumption, and reduced network and end-user costs.

According to Chandra, its implementation would be ideal in Mexico, which is known for having a high number of small-scale crops. This sort of technology could facilitate data collection and analysis.

“We are going to introduce FarmBeats in Mexican fields through farming companies and universities who may be interested in building joint solutions while providing top-notch technology for farmers who will have access to low-cost sensors, drones, and auto-learning algorithms to increase productivity and profitability,” she stated.

Should this technology system be implemented, Mexican farmers will even be able to determine the optimal sowing date through Artificial Intelligence, locate resources such as water and fertilizer, and quickly identify plagues for a faster treatment of their crops.

It is worth noting that FarmBeats is part of the Microsoft AI for Earth program, which provides cloud tools and artificial intelligence for those who seek to create sustainable solutions to global environmental problems.

In little more than three decades, by 2050, the world population is expected to grow from 7.6 to 9.8 billion, which is why increasing food production will be of vital importance to satisfy the worldwide demand for food.
 

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