The rise of global population forces a shift towards efficient agriculture practices. In USA and Australia as well as in Central and Northern Europe precision farming in arable land have been widely adopted. However, in Southern Europe the high farm segmentation and dispersion as well as the latest economic pressure in agriculture are delayed the adoption of precision farming across countries such as Greece and Italy especially for small and medium-scaled farmers. Precision farming relies upon specialized equipment, software and advanced information techniques. A key requirement is, of course, the ability to deploy and cover rural areas efficiently in a way to reduce initial risk and investment for equipment in small farms and farms with limited revenues. Therefore, developing platforms, architectures, methods and tools that allow for sharing and/or service contracting seems very promising approach for the high adoption of precision farming. SuperField platform attempts to actively involve farmers in the development of precision agriculture practices. Taking into account the high farm segmentation, the high initial investment and the perceived complexity of similar systems, SuperField architecture allows high scalability. More farmers can be benefit from the usage of the sharing infrastructure. In our approach we consider that farmer should be aware for what is happening in the field on 24 hours basis. To this end, SuperField mobile application is used to demonstrate all the data and information to the farmers in a user-friendly way.

Technology Description

SuperField, aims to introduce a holistic platform that can collect, store, visualize, exchange and process agricultural field data in real or near-real time. SuperField architecture is divided into four layers, from bottom to top the layers are: sensor layer, data transmission layer, cloud computing layer and presentation layer.

SuperField provides useful information to farmers and advisers for efficient management of agricultural activities and support them to take better decisions on time. Exploiting modern technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), wireless communication and cloud computing, SuperField aims to offer a valuable tool with low cost and complexity to farmers, advisers and other stakeholders (including researchers, agronomists, technology developers).

Main advantages

In contrast to other precision farming solutions, SuperField aims to offer an affordable solution that will be widely adopted. To this end, SuperField infrastructure is designed to allow sharing of resources. The structural architecture covers a wide agricultural area therefore a large number of farmers, advisers and other stakeholders will benefit from it. Moreover, SuperField’s architecture allows infrastructure and service providers taking on the initial investment risk as well as relieve farmers of a burden of operational and maintenance costs. Farmers will have an affordable precision farming solution with low investment risk and minimal cost, for example in the form of service subscription (monthly, yearly etc.). Clear service subscription costs removes the fear of the farmers for additional costs and complexities allowing them to easily identify the potential benefits

Stage of development

A macro-station has been developed (in prototype level) equipped with basic sensors that collects atmospheric data and transmits them in the cloud server. Basic functionality of SuperField application has also been developed. The application is able to demonstrate real-time information from multiple macro-stations in a user-friendly way. One macro-station prototype has been installed also in the field collecting data for 3 months. Further developments to standardize the macro-station should be done.

In terms of performance, macro-stations should be run for at-least one complete agricultural season in order to have accurate measurements. However, for daily farmer’s transportations and more specifically in order to observe fallen rain, a 25% reduction in transportations has been measured.

Challenge and needs

  • To overcome the farmer’s investment risk especially for small and medium-sized farms and to determine the specific benefits for the individual farmer in terms of improved productivity and environmental sustainability and profit.
  • To lower the perceived complexity of the applications for the wide adoption from the farmers
  • To find a business partner from the agriculture value chain (farmers, advisers, agronomists) to provide the research team with real field data and improve the systems overall performance

Intellectual property

Prior art search has been planned

Potential markets and targets

Global Smart Agriculture Market is estimated to reach $20 billion by 2024; growing at a CAGR of 14.1% from 2016 to 2024. The agriculture industry will become more important than ever before in the new few decades. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, about 795 million people out of 7.3 billion people in the world were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014 – 2016.

SuperField is focusing in Agricultural market providing to the users of the application (farmers, advisers, agronomists) a Software as a Service solution (SaaS) for their business success. However, SuperField can be offered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to target potential markets where stakeholders want to design products / services based on the data-infrastructure. For example, public / private insurance companies targeting in agriculture could be benefit from SuperField’s data-infrastructure in order to offer protection services to farmers.

Potential partners

SuperField can be co-developed by companies that:

  • design, fabricate or distribute IoT hardware such as sensors and embedded devices
  • offer IoT and cloud computing innovative solutions
  • design web and mobile applications or platforms based on modern web frameworks or technologies such as IoT, data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence
  • agricultural institutions interested to validate their models with real agricultural field data

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