IoT-enabled irrigation reduces water waste for South American farmers

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IoT leader ORBCOMM Inc has partnered with Ponce, an Argentinian IoT company specialising in agricultural efficiency, to support farmers throughout Latin America with substantial cost savings and improved water preservation enabled by irrigation solutions that utilise satellite IoT technology.

Ponce’s solution is powered by ORBCOMM’s reliable, global satellite connectivity and connected to a modem for real-time monitoring and management of irrigation equipment located in remote regions where cellular coverage is unavailable or unreliable. Ponce’s advanced system combines early detection of machine failure with accurate crop irrigation data to help farmers automate manual processes to inspect equipment, detect faulty machinery and conduct maintenance.

The device reports machine position, water pressure, abnormalities and other critical parameters such as hours of use, water usage, water flow and rainfall measurement. The information is transmitted via satellite to Ponce’s data cloud, which sends alerts and reports to farmers’ mobile devices in real time, enabling faster, more informed business decisions about optimal irrigation schedules, maintenance activities as well as the movement and position of irrigation equipment.

Customer feedback

Ponce works with some of the leading agricultural growers in Latin America, which report that the irrigation solution has helped them address critical challenges to their farming operations. One of Ponce’s customers, La Guía, which has over 2,000 hectares of land supported by 19 irrigation machines, saves an estimated 90 hours of water waste per year, representing a considerable environmental and cost saving. By implementing Ponce’s solution, La Guía’s team receives notifications of abnormalities that require further inspection immediately on their phone, decreasing field visits, reducing working hours allocated to inspections and minimising human error in the operation of the equipment, leading to an average of 50% fuel savings and much less vehicle wear and tear and carbon emissions in the environment.

ORBCOMM’s reliable satellite connectivity is critical to the success of Ponce’s sophisticated solution, which has revolutionized irrigation operations for farmers, while helping reduce the environmental impact of farming and preserve water, both of which are integral to our corporate social responsibility mission,” said Christian Allred, ORBCOMM’s executive VP and general manager of global sales.We’re pleased to help Ponce enable farmers throughout Latin America achieve substantial savings in production costs, driven by improved equipment uptime, limited crop destruction and lower operational costs.”

Thanks to Ponce’s solution, we have achieved significant efficiency in water usage and equipment failure responsiveness,” added Francisco Lodos, La Guía’s general manager.In the past, when a machine failed, we might not find out for hours, but now, Ponce’s system informs us immediately. Even better, if we don’t respond to the notification right away, we get a phone call to follow up and ensure the failure is resolved quickly, saving us substantial costs and helping protect our most crucial resource, which is water.”

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