With fast and scalable IoT deployment, the city with food continuity constraints will be able to incubate next-generation urban farms.

Singapore’s Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment has outlined the country’s goal to produce 30% of its agri-food needs by 2030.

Known as the ‘30 by 30’ strategy, the vision would require a combination of factors, such as adequate spaces for urban farming and an increase in production, which is dependent on the adoption and deployment of technology.

To this end, agri-food firms and urban farms in the country can receive government grants to defray digital transformation costs. One aspect, the Internet of Things (IoT) is invaluable to the industry as it employ smart sensors for monitoring of environmental conditions to improve the management of crops.

However, as IoT automation may require the use of multiple IoT devices from different vendors and involve hefty investments made on multiple platforms, agri-food startups and the smaller enterprises may face challenges in sourcing and identifying appropriate applications, sensors and solutions that are appropriate for their needs.  

IoT-as-a-Servicefor agritech

Tosupport the development of next generation urban farms in Singapore, one government-linked firm is offering its Internet of Things-as-a-Service (IoT-a-a-S) platform.

SPTel’s IoT-a-a-S platform is an integrated platform that enables urban farms to monitor and manage various sensors and applications, regardless of their gateway deployment requirements. The platform allows urban farms to connect IoT sensors that can transmit data for key variables that affect plant health and growth, such as temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels.

The platform also enables urban farms to connect additional IoT sensors with ease as needed, allowing operators to retain centralized control of all devices and applications on the platform. In addition, through SPTel’s extensive network of secure hubs across the island, urban farms can leverage a ready IoT platform with island-wide reach for fast deployment across multiple sites.

Beginning with the implementation of IoT-a-a-S with local agritech player AbyFarm, the platform enables fast and scalable deployment of IoT applications that enhance modern food production processes, improve productivity and crop yield.

Said Susan Loh, VP, Marketing and Business Development, SPTel: “IoT technology will continue to prevail as a core enabler of smart farming in Singapore. Enabling smart urban farms such to leverage IoT to reduce manpower requirements and improve crop yield will be critical to the long-term success of urban farming programs. (Our) IoT-a-a-S platform manages the end-to-end IoT deployment so that farmers can focus on providing quality crops instead of having to worry about managing multiple vendors. The platform makes the solutions accessible without the need for farmers to make heavy upfront investments to build and maintain their own platforms.”

Abyfarm’s Director and co-founder Phoebe Xie noted: “Through this (platform), we are able to become a sustainable self-regulating urban farm with IoT, automation and crop blockchain ledger that enables farm-to-table traceability for improved food safety and security.”