E-kakashi, dig into agricultural IoT
The Japanese word “kakashi” translates to “scarecrow”, but the e-kakashi platform does much more than scare off pests. Using AI, IoT and cloud technology, e-kakashi helps farmers maintain an ideal growing environment for any crop.
When you think IoT, agriculture and cultivation may not be the first industries that come to mind. But agricultural businesses can benefit greatly from IoT solutions. As in any industry, repeatable processes become trackable and more efficient with help from sensor-equipped machinery connected to the cloud.
Though rapidly modernizing, the agriculture industry in Japan is still dominated by aging, small-scale farmers. Their success has been built on knowledge that comes with years of experience, and often, just a hunch. Automated processes can feel foreign in a business dominated by weather patterns.
In Japan, there has been a lack of readily-available solutions and equipment to help farmers get started with IoT, and to analyze work processes scientifically. To help answer that need, PS Solutions, an IoT integrator owned by Softbank, teamed up with manufacturer CKD Corporation and Ericsson to launch an updated e-kakashi platform in 2017.
An IoT scarecrow with an AI brain
The current solution monitors environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and CO2. It guides what actions to take next based on the AI engine supported with analytics from Ericsson IoT Accelerator.
- CKD Corporation’s electro-pneumatic devices allow machinery to be controlled remotely.
- Agricultural machinery is connected to the cloud via Softbank’s NB-IoT cellular network.
- PS Solutions’ e-kakashi platform applies AI to adjust equipment based on environmental data.
- Ericsson IoT Accelerator powers the device onboarding and data management.
The e-kakashi platform keeps constant watch over fields and greenhouses, using sensors to monitor conditions such as temperature, humidity and soil saturation. AI is applied to correlate that environmental data with the predefined ideal growing conditions for any particular crop.
Based on this formula, e-kakashi makes the appropriate adjustments to machinery such as fertilization, irrigation and greenhouse ventilation systems. CKD Corporation, a pioneer in automation, provides the electro-pneumatic devices that allow both new, and legacy machinery to be controlled remotely. This machinery is connected to the cloud via Softbank’s NB-IoT cellular network.
Whenever and wherever they wish, the e-kakashi user can access and interact with the system using a smartphone, tablet or computer. Using an intuitive app with comprehensive data visualization, the farmer can modify the AI-based standard settings to apply their personal know-how
Powered by Ericsson IoT Accelerator, e-kakashi uses the Lightweight Machine to Machine (LwM2M) communication protocol to perform device service enablement and management. Ericsson’s Zero Touch Onboarding makes it easy to add new equipment to the system, nearly instantaneously.
As younger farmers take over the Japanese agricultural industry, they are seeking out modern solutions that support easier and more profitable crop cultivation. With low barriers to get started, e-kakashi is accessible to growers of any size who want to bring IoT into the field.
But it isn’t just farmers who are reaping the benefits of agricultural IoT. With the rapid growth of IoT, there are great opportunities for network operators to expand revenue with new services. The e-kakashi collaboration demonstrates how networks optimized for IoT are leading to tangible results for industry, agriculture and society as a whole.