written by Donald Carson

The drones along with the Internet of Things (IoT) has found its way to agriculture. They both have the capacity to transform the farming industry. The application of IoT is also important in the agricultural industry. It meets the increasing demand of food with rise in population.

According to Beecham Research, the global population can reach up to 9.6 billion by 2050.  The problem arises in lack of nutrients in the soil also due to over farming.

The Director of Device Incubation at Microsoft, Dinesh Narayanan said in a press release: “Agricultural innovation is critical to feeding the world’s growing population while reducing the environmental impact of farming. Technology powering this innovation is becoming increasingly important to Microsoft and our customers across retail, grocery, and food industries around the globe.”

“We’re proud to be partnering with SlantRange on the integration of Azure IoT Edge with their leading sensor and analytics solution, allowing them to provide valuable data and insights at the scale required by the biggest agri-businesses in the world.”

SlantRange, Inc., and Microsoft Partnership

Microsoft has partnered up with SlantRange, Inc. There are two reasons for it:

  • to overcome the hunger issues around the world
  • to increase the output in agricultural industry

It combines cloud analytics, IoT connectivity, edge-computing and drone programs. The partnership will lead to a strong scalable aerial measurement along with data solutions for the agricultural market.

SlantRange has developed technologies for inspecting aerial crop. The company has also developed new analytical methods. They have the capability of providing critical agronomic data almost as soon as they have collected the information.

Azure IoT Edge by Microsoft offers cloud intelligence locally by implementing and running AI, custom logic, and Azure services on cross platform Internet of Things devices directly. The latest innovations of SlantRange can conduct the data analytics offline completely. So, these products can be used in areas where there is no internet connection or the connection is erratic.

Application of Azure IoT Edge

With the inclusion of Azure IoT Edge, the newly designed platform will offer a scalable, secure solution. It will include new cloud computing features as well as edgecomputing architecture of SlantRange. The new era solutions will combine powerful cloud-based services. It has the capability of integrating, managing and analyzing data from various networks of distributed sensors. Automated machine learning, AI algorithms, and custom analytics can be incorporated in edge and cloud to understand the collected data in the farming industry.

As per the CEO of SlantRange, Michael Ritter said: “Azure IoT Edge is a perfect fit for our next generation of sensor and analytics solutions. This new integration will allow large drone programs to operate at global scales with versatile new tools for data security, highly distributed learning models, and device management. Ultimately, our combined technology will enable the latest advances in remote sensing and data science to be easily deployed anywhere in the world, including the most remote farming areas, while retaining all of the controls, features, and security expected of enterprise IT systems and that will have a profound and positive effect on farm productivity around the world.”

Drones and Livestock Monitoring

Farming implements drones for integrated GIS mapping, crop image imaging, and analysis of how to increase yield. Real-time data collection has made it easier for the drone technology to make entry in the agriculture industry.

The collected data also includes

  • plant height measurement,
  • stockpile measuring,
  • field water ponsing mapping,
  • weed pressure mapping,
  • as well as nitrogen content in crop.

IoT can also incorporate with livestock monitoring to collect real-time information about the well-being, location and health of the cattle. This way sick animals can be easily separated from the herd and prevent further spread of the disease.

With Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and drones in the farming industry, the farmers will be able to reduce waste production and increase productivity. The collected data will give a detailed analysis of the amount of fertilizer utilized as well as the number of times the farm vehicles run.


The future of the agricultural industry and increase in productivity lie in implementing a hi-tech system. It concentrates in capital, hygiene of food and sustainability. The IoT-based farming system will assist in monitoring the crop field with the help of temperature, humidity, light, soil moisture and other sensors. This way the farmers will be able to keep an eye on the field conditions and crop from any region. So, one can expect drones and IoT to bring in some major changes in the farming industry.