Nokia and Vi CSR deploy SmartAgri solution to boost productivity of 50,000 farmers in India

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Nokia Smart AgricultureNokia is a global company with an evolutionary history firmly founded in electronic and radio communications. At the turn of the century Nokia was famous for leading the mobile phone device sector, reaching a 60% market share of the smartphone sector in 2010. Since then Samsung and Apple have become the dominant players and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Nokia has gone by the wayside. However, a decade later Nokia is still going strong, with a focus on the networks that do the connecting rather than only the devices that use them. ‘We create the technology to connect the world’ is the official line as the business focuses on IoT and 5G solutions.

Smart agriculture-as-a-service solution

This week Nokia and Vodafone India Foundation, the CSR arm of Vi, announced that they have deployed a Smart Agriculture solution that aims to improve the productivity of farmers in India. Utilizing Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) offering, the smart agriculture-as-a-service solution uses soil probes, weather stations, insect traps and crop cameras to help drive productivity of soy and cotton crops.

The pilot project is being implemented for two years in 100 locations in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and will benefit over 50,000 farmers in the region by enhancing their productivity, income and quality of life.

An Indian farmer in a cotton field

An Indian farmer in a cotton field

How does the SmartAgri solution work?

Over 400 sensors have been deployed across 100,000 hectares of farmland to collect various data points which are then analysed by a cloud-based and localized Smart Agriculture app. The app provides local language support as well as weather forecast and irrigation management information. The sensors generate insights that help to improve soy and cotton crop yields.

Crop management through WING can include:

  • smart irrigation
  • disease detection
  • smart pesticide control
  • proactive information sharing frameworks on crops and weather
  • a platform for commodity exchange

The solution can also be customised to employ Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) technology or drones instead of traditional sensors for crop management.

Ankur Bhan, Head of Nokia WING Business at Nokia, said: “Our mission for WING is to shape the future of agriculture and other industries, to create a smarter and more connected world. Together with the Vodafone Foundation, our managed service offering will help an initial 50,000 farmers and their families, with the aim of rolling out the solution across India.

Smart Agriculture is an area that India is keenly exploring in the 5G era. The complete end-to-end solution from Nokia WING is supported by deep domain expertise and an agriculture partner eco-system. Combined, it will help Vi CSR improve agricultural practices by introducing IoT-based solutions.

P. Balaji, Chief Regulatory & Corporate Affairs Officer, Vodafone Idea Limited said “Vi CSR is committed to leveraging technology strengths to create social impact through sustainable solutions. Smart crop management using Smart IoT and AI based solutions is transforming the prevalent agricultural practices into more ‘intelligent’ ones enabling farmers with smart decision making and helping them improve production and crop quality through better utilization of resources.

He continued “Our SmartAgri project is unique as it brings an entire ecosystem of stakeholders such as Nokia for its innovative technology, Solidaridad for project management, and also green experts and researchers from University – all under one roof, to positively impact the lives of farmers in India.”

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Matt has worked in digital publishing for twenty years, holding management positions at Nature ( and William Reed Business Media ( etc.). He has also worked with BBC Worldwide, Centaur Media, UKi Media and Mark Allen Group. Since 2010 Matt has been a digital consultant working with B2B media companies in the agricultural, automotive, aviation, robotics and technology sectors. As Chairman of his local allotment association Matt grows his own food whilst chasing the dream of a one tonne giant pumpkin. He is a member of the British Garden Media Guild and was a finalist in the Garden Media Guild Awards 'blog of the year' category in 2018 and 2019.

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