Unlocking the potential of climate-smart agriculture: why satellite-enabled IoT can be the key

Of all the water on Earth, only 1.2% is classed as being usable freshwater. This vital resource is under exceptional pressures from traditional farming methods, from water policy and, of course, climate change.


Against this backdrop, agriculture specialists are facing unprecedented pressure to improve operational efficiency and minimize the environmental impact of their water usage. Promisingly, a recent report published by Viasat uncovered a significant desire among the global agriculture industry to enhance its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance, with top priorities being water conservation and waste reduction, followed by achieving net zero target.


Echoing this drive, the UN’s Environment Programme recently called out the potential of “climate-smart agriculture”: utilizing technology which will improve water use efficiency and significantly reduce pressure on global fresh water supplies. It is clearly a hard and ongoing challenge to balance the objective of long-term sustainability against the need to meet the industry’s operational needs, such as crop yield and livestock production.  However, Viasat can help provide the right tools to drive this essential innovation.


Through our work across the agricultural industry, we have identified solutions to enable farmers to achieve more efficient management of their day-to-day operations and create a cleaner footprint. Viasat works with its partners to develop satellite-enabled IoT solutions      that provide reliable, always-on, real-time monitoring and control capabilities for farmers around the world – even in the most remote locations. There are a multitude of applications of satellite-enabled IoT solutions within agriculture, delivering great potential to support the industry’s net zero mission.


How can satellite-enabled IoT technology improve your operations?

IoT technology can enable a host of effective solutions designed to support farmers and agriculture specialists in gaining information and visibility on their operations.


For instance, IoT-connected sensors can measure in-field soil moisture levels to enable valuable insight on the conditions crops are being grown in. This in turn enables farmers to make more informed irrigation planning decisions, which will minimize water waste and allow their crops to thrive, while also offering additional operational efficiencies – such as reducing costs arising from excessive water usage.


IoT solutions can further support smart agriculture through remote controlling. For example, Ranchbot, a provider of satellite-enabled remote water monitoring solutions, is helping to realize the benefits of IoT solutions on farms and ranches. Enabled by our ELERA IoT connectivity service IsatDataPro (IDP), the solution works practically anywhere, supporting even the most isolated ranch.


The Ranchbot team recently supplied its solutions to the Bar T Bar Ranch in Winslow, Arizona. Through its two-way communication solution, Bar T Bar’s ranchers can oversee their operations through applications on their mobile devices, which enable them to readily monitor water levels and control machinery, such as pumps to change levels, completely remotely. This has revolutionized the approach they have taken to their operations, reducing travel time, saving fuel, and subsequently reducing carbon emissions.


Based on our own industry research, 71% of global agriculture tech decision makers plan to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to more accurately measure and understand the impact of their sustainability performance in the next year. Positively, our research shows 72% of agriculture firms have reported an impact from their investment of IoT solutions focused on improving sustainability outcomes, including 20% specifically seeing a reduction in their water usage as a result of leveraging such technologies.   


Finding the correct IoT solution connectivity partner to help achieve your mission

There are many options available to businesses looking to adopt IoT solutions to drive operational efficiencies and sustainability, including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), Agri Tech companies and dealers and distributors of farming equipment. Solutions provided by these suppliers may require some form of internet connectivity to the cloud – and access to reliable global connectivity coverage can be critical to enabling farmers in even the most remote and inaccessible spots to benefit. In many cases, our ELERA network, the global satellite network for IoT solutions and secure narrowband connectivity, is being used to facilitate this – providing global connectivity with 99.9% satellite availability, as measured annually, end-to-end security, and ultra-reliability. 


Similarly to how Bar T Bar ranch selected Ranchbot’s remote water monitoring solution, many other growers and livestock farmers are seeing IoT applications as a clear choice to address their operational management issues. Through the game-changing ability to remotely monitor and control assets, farmers and ranchers alike benefit from an extra pair of eyes, which deliver invaluable oversight and actionable insights from solutions like Ranchbot’s. None of which would be possible without the power of resilient satellite connectivity.


About Viasat

Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. With offices in 24 countries around the world, our mission shapes how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate and connect. Viasat is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, reliable, secure, affordable, fast connections to positively impact people's lives anywhere they are on the ground, in the air or at sea, while building a sustainable future in space. On May 30, 2023, Viasat completed its acquisition of Inmarsat, combining the teams, technologies and resources of the two companies to create a new global communications partner. Learn more at www.viasat.com, the Viasat News Room or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.


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