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The Sino-German Agricultural Centre (DCZ) is a joint initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (MARA).
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Report on “5G+Agriculture”
Dr. Aihemaitijiang Rouzi
16 April 2020
This summary was prepared based on the report “5G+agricultural application”, released on April 8, 2020, by Gao Kaoping from VCEARTH agri-consulting company (35斗), based in Chongqing, China (http://vcearth.com/). The report outlines the history of 5G technology, describes sectorial characteristics and provides a supply chain analysis of the 5G technology. As a “primer infrastructure” technology, 5G has a wide variety of application in agriculture such as agri-data collection and transfer, smart agri-machinery, agri-robots, agriculture services and digital village. The report is comprised of four chapters which are history and outline of fifth generation telecommunication technology; global status of the technology; its application in agriculture and 5G technology’s prospect as a key innovator in future agriculture.
The agricultural application of 5G includes following:
- Internet of Things: The Agricultural Internet of Things refers to the comprehensive use of various types of sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID), visual collection terminals and other sensing devices to widely collect information in fields such as field cultivation, horticulture, poultry breeding, aquaculture, and agricultural product circulation, so as to understand the first-line production and operation situation in real time. Through a wireless sensor network, telecommunications network, internet and other channels for transmission, and the obtained information is integrated and processed to provide various data support for agricultural production and operation. Driven by 5G technology, the number of agricultural Internet of Things devices, data transmission speed, data volume and accuracy will be greatly increased, and a more comprehensive and real-time Internet of Things network will be established. At present, some operators and agricultural technology companies have deployed 5G technology for the application in an agricultural Internet of Things, and are connected with rural development and rural governance.
- Robots: An agricultural robot is an automated or semi-automated device that takes agricultural products as the operation object and has part of human information perception and action capabilities. It can replace or compensate for labor to a certain extent, and perform production, picking, management and maintenance. According to the classification of mobile characteristics, it can be divided into walking robots and manipulator robots. 5G technology can bring three improvements to agricultural robots: 1. The robot accepts system commands faster and responds more accurately; 2. The number of robots that can be connected increases, which can improve the reliability of the system; 3. Extensibility Higher, you can combine virtual or augmented reality technology to develop more functions. Deloitte Research also pointed out that robots are expected to become an important part of the commercial Internet of Things market, and therefore benefit from 5G networks.
- Agriculture mechanization: The automatic operation of agricultural machinery mainly depends on the advancement of navigation and control technology. Positioning navigation system and machine vision are the most widely used technologies in automatic navigation. The United States, Canada, Japan, Germany and other countries started earlier in the field of intelligent navigation of agricultural machinery. Through the cooperation of universities, laboratories and enterprises, they have already developed commercial applications. After the further development of machine vision and artificial intelligence technology, intelligent navigation technology is expected to gain a wider range of applications worldwide, and extends from field operations to facilities agriculture, aquatic fisheries and other fields. Agricultural machinery navigation and control technology has high requirements for data transmission efficiency. Similar to the automatic driving in road traffic scenarios, it is necessary to update map data and road condition information in real time, and make control judgments based on relevant information. The 5G network can ensure efficient and high-precision data transmission. In the field of field operations, the road traffic situation is relatively simple, the environment changes less, and automatic driving and remote control are expected to be implemented first. China Yituo, Lovol Heavy Industries and other enterprises have already begun the relevant layout.
- Agricultural aviation: 5G networked drones have the capabilities of ultra-high-definition image transmission and remote low-latency control. They can support drones to perform cloud-based intelligent calculations, process sensor data and video data generated by drones, and improve operational reliability. The research report of the Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID) Research Institute pointed out that mature 5G technology will enhance the products and services of drone manufacturing, various sensors, and drone operators, while expanding the business scope of 5G telecom operators and cloud service providers. It is estimated that by 2025, the market size of small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) software, hardware, applications and services will reach about 200 billion yuan. According to data from iResearch, by 2025, the market scale of agricultural and forestry plant protection drones will reach 20 billion yuan.
- Agricultural big data: Agricultural big data is the cornerstone of various digital and intelligent applications. The development of communication technology and data technology can bring a richer, more diverse, convenient and efficient data system, helping the industry in smart supervision, market information, intelligent applications and credit insurance.
- Agricultural services: The 5G network can be used to build a farming service system, covering the entire cycle from planting management to market behavior decision-making, so that farmers can grow better and sell more. Agricultural technology promotion or farmer vocational education can be carried out through networked devices, which makes the transfer of knowledge more convenient. The cultivation management of economic crops and special crops can also be taught online, breaking the spatial and temporal restrictions.
- Smart farming: Through the Internet of Things, 5G network, intelligent equipment, etc., a smart breeding system is built to control the entire breeding process. As the scale and intensity level of the breeding industry increase, higher requirements are placed on animal disease surveillance, prevention and control and biosecurity management. In the context of smart farming, individual electronic identification technology, automatic sensing technology, control technology can be used to collect information on all aspects of animal husbandry and aquaculture, explore the relationship between environment, animal health, animal diseases, and growth cycle, establish animal feeding models, and improve the level of intelligent breeding.
- Smart aquatic products: Various sensors can be used to monitor aquaculture farms and the marine environment, monitor water temperature, dissolved oxygen, PH value, animal behavior and other data, and store and analyze relevant data through the communication network, which can quickly identify anomalies and provide operation suggestions for production operators.
- Product circulation: Product tracing can help to improve the transparency of the agricultural product circulation system, increase consumer trust, and give companies the opportunity to rethink their value positioning and reconstruct business models. In the traditional model, the circulation chain of agricultural products is long, and it is not easy to know the origin and circulation information of products. A traceability system can be established through the principle of “one code per item”, which helps to create agricultural product brands and enhance the added value of high-quality agricultural products. 5G communication network, field sensors, Internet of Things and other equipment can include complete data of agricultural products from planting to harvest, making the product's full life cycle traceable which could be integrated into block chain.
- Digital village: With the development of communication networks, various types of platforms and applications continue to increase, providing a very good window for agricultural and rural displays. New models such as farmer anchors, live broadcast of agricultural products, e-commerce of agricultural products, and adoption of agriculture continue to grow. The e-commerce and content platforms represented by Taobao, Pinduoduo, Douyin and Kuaishou have incubated, supported and nurtured a large number of rural “net celebrities”. They have received extensive attention and reports on digital rural construction and agricultural products. The promotion is even greater, and has even driven the economy on one side. With the support of 5G networks and smart terminals, creators and content that show the appearance of the countryside in the new era will increase exponentially. Live broadcasts with strong local flavors and e-commerce of agricultural products have magnified the cultural influence of rural areas on cities and the upward capacity of agricultural products, promoted the gradual release of policy dividends, accelerated the process of agricultural branding, promoted poverty alleviation, and achieved rural revitalization.
According to estimate by Deloitte, between 2020-2035, countries will invest 3.5 trillion dollars into 5G technology and related infrastructure, 1/3 of those will come from China. Various 5G technology would increase the global GDP by 0.2% annually and would add additional 2.1 trillion dollars to global economy annually. In China, Huawei, ZTE, Ericson and CISCO will act as telecom facilitators, China mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom will act as telecom providers, Huawei, OPPO, VIVO, XIAOMI and Apple will provide smart devices, Taobao, Tiktok, JD.com, Pinduoduo will provide commercial platforms and then various agriculture specific apps and cloud platforms will offer fast and reliable agricultural services to farmers and other actors in the agriculture supply chain.