Smart Irrigation Month/Smart technologies

A grower’s guide to the ‘internet of things’ for irrigation

By Matt Ondrejko

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the adoption of home and personal automation tools. These have simply become a way of life for many people. Major players in this space have taken the automation market by storm and have created a demand for connecting people to the internet beyond just using a personal computer. People are using this “internet of things” — or IoT — concept to live their lives more efficiently; they keep going back to the internet and back to the cloud.

About the IoT

The concept of the IoT starts with a single, physical thing connected to the internet, such as a smartphone. When you can interact with another physical thing using your internet-connected smartphone, you are now within the IoT space. To put this

in a bit more perspective, you are within the IoT space when using a smartphone to turn on the security system in your home before going to bed.

The IoT for farm irrigation

Many innovative companies are at the forefront of bringing the IoT to agriculture, and they have been working toward this day for decades.

In the 1990s, the first commercially available system was introduced that could manage a farmer’s irrigation operation remotely; this was a computer program built with the disk operating system that helped a grower make irrigation management decisions for his center pivot irrigation operation based on input about his farm. Unlike the remote management programs and apps used today, this first system did not have a graphical user interface, but it was still able to provide the farmer with something he had not had before: the freedom to manage his irrigation from afar.

Since then, more generations of this remote management system — as well as more options in general — have been introduced, and growers have been allowed to more or less take control over their irrigation with the help of these tools. Unlike the first generation program, irrigators now have the option of using mobile and desktop devices to make faster, more informed decisions at-a-glance from a graphical, intuitive interface.


Photo credit: Valley® Irrigation Irrigation TO

The future of IoT in center pivot irrigation management

The introduction of smart control panels for center pivot irrigation has truly connected physical things to the IoT. When a farmer connects to his control panel from his smartphone or tablet via a remote management application and then starts his pivot, he is using the IoT. As a bonus, he can literally do all of this without leaving his truck, or even his bed.

Nowadays, many people feel that living a fulfilling life involves being connected to the internet. Farmers need to be able to make quick, informed decisions from their fields’ data so that they can spend more time on the things that matter most: family, friends and other parts of their farming operation. And, none of this is possible without the internet of things.

Matt Ondrejko joined Valley

Irrigation in 2013

as vice president of global marketing.

With over 15 years of marketing experience, he is responsible for global marketing strategy and implementation, marketing communications, research and product development.

Irrigation TODAY | July 201

July 201

July 2017

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