Wines and Vines reports that the U.S. wine industry made roughly $35 billion in 2015 alone and, including imports, Americans spent roughly $58 billion on wine. To keep up with this rising demand, new wineries appear every year. More than 11,496 wineries dot the American landscape from coast to coast according to the Wine Institute, with more than 4,500 of those wineries appearing in California. While American wine connoisseur’s palates have come a long way in recent decades, the technologies used to care for and grow vino has not. With farms and ranches across the nation embracing the Internet of Things, it is time wineries consider IoT applications for efficiency and quality assurance.
Given the size and remoteness of most vineyards, cellular IoT networks make the most sense for the care and cultivation of grapes on the vine.
Keep Your Eyes on the Vine – Environmental Monitoring with Cellular IoT
Great grapes require attention and care. But winemakers can’t be there for every vine at all times, and this is where IoT makes all the difference. Cellular IoT runs on a system of simple SIM cards. As long as a sensor, camera, or other device is SIM card compatible, it can be added to a cellular IoT network. Data from SIM cards can be transmitted back to the cloud or sent out as SMS notifications to the network manager to be accessed from anywhere.
So how does this apply to vineyards?
Let’s say you want to monitor the soil moisture around your prized Chardonnay grapes. A moisture monitor could be added near the vines and set to alert the network anytime moisture falls or rises above your vineyard’s set standards. Because cellular IoT allows for constant monitoring, you can check in with the monitor at any time over the cloud to audit up-to-date moisture levels.
Temperature monitors, humidity gauges, wind gauges, sunlight sensors, and even sensors for soil pH value can be added to your network as well. With your tools online, you can understand the bigger picture of growing conditions at your vineyard and take necessary action to protect your grapes and vines. But what if you want to do more than just monitor? Cellular IoT also allows you to automate many agricultural processes by using machine to machine (M2M) communication.
For example, M2M is an especially powerful tool for irrigation. In California, where drought is rampant and water is in short supply, keeping a vineyard well-watered can be a particularly complex challenge. When there’s a drought, it can be difficult to precisely irrigate an entire vineyard fast enough to save every grape. Imagine, however, a network that could be programmed to know exactly when, where, and how much water to release from an irrigation system. This is the reality of cellular-enabled M2M communications. Once moisture levels drop below a set level, the moisture monitor on your IoT network will send a signal to your SIM card-powered irrigator. The irrigator itself can be programed to follow drought regulations, reducing human involvement to simple monitoring.
Planning Your Crops – The Power of IoT Data
Data collected over cellular networks can be mapped easily and stored for future use on the cloud. With enough time, the library of data you collect can become a tool all its own. By looking back on temperature, moisture, and growth trends from previous years, you can plan successful vineyard crops for the coming year with more accuracy. You even can compare variables from different vines and areas within your vineyard and test for quality and taste. If one set of grapes performs better than another, consider adjusting your network to reproduce these results.
Depending on the software you use to monitor your crops, you may be able to integrate weather predictions and data from your favorite farmer’s almanac to compare future trends with past data.
NEO – Prepackaged Plans for Your Convenience
Once you have planned out your monitoring system and selected appropriate SIM card compatible tools for your winery, it is time to start thinking about a service provider. Neo offers 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity plans and SIM cards that are easy to self-install and get online. Our site ships directly to your doorstep, and you can even contact our support community if you have questions about getting started.
Your vineyard’s connectivity choice will depend on the amount of information you want to transmit and the speed with which you want to receive it. While 3G data may be a great option for more passive monitoring, 4G is optimal for up-to-the-second updates. Likewise, if you plan on adding camera monitoring to your system, you may want to opt for 4G coverage.Whatever your choice, Neo is the perfect solution for vineyards looking to get into IoT monitoring and M2M automation. Our packages are affordable, customizable, and built for ease of use. Ready to keep a closer watch on your vines? Contact Neo today to get started.