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June 13, 2018

Wireless Technology: Outstanding in its (Agricultural) Field .

Wireless Technology: Outstanding in its (Agricultural) Field

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CTIA Research Team

Just over a century ago, a farmer was capable of feeding only four people. Nowadays, the average American farm can provide for 165 people annually—and with over three million farmers operating over two million farms in the U.S. today, it comes as no surprise that the United States is the world’s largest exporter of agricultural goods. As demand for our agricultural products has skyrocketed, wireless technologies have accelerated our capacity to provide them.

Farmers Smartphone & Tablet Usage

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Farmers Smartphone & Tablet Usage

In the pursuit of better, smarter and more enterprising agricultural opportunities, nearly 40 percent of farmers use their smartphones or tablets for farm business. And seventeen percent say that mobile is their primary method of internet access.

In 2014, an average farm generated 190,000 data points a day, compiling information like crop yields and soil acidity that allows farmers to make educated decisions about running their businesses. Encouraged by the advent of wireless precision technologies, by 2050 those same farms are estimated to generate 4.1 million data points each. Technologies like soil sensors and yield mapping are already popular—for example, auto-steering, or portable, hand-free driving typically controlled by wireless devices, is used on over 50 percent of U.S. corn and soybean acres.

New precision wireless technologies, including those that rely on cellular networks, can measure the tiniest of variables on a farm and respond to them, saving farmers both time and labor. John Deere found that the implementation of precision technologies led to both raised profitability and a 15 percent increase in productivity.

The importance of wireless advances in farming becomes even more evident in light of estimates that farmers will need to produce as much as 60 percent more food by 2050. As increasing demand requires the agriculture industry to provide more food than ever before to more people than ever before, wireless will continue to be a compelling tool for farmers.

5G & Agriculture

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5G & Agriculture

That’s where 5G comes in. In fact, 79 percent of agricultural professionals say the industry would use 5G to develop new customer offerings and 81 percent would use 5G to improve agricultural efficiency. Agricultural professionals also see the potential of 5G use cases like autonomous vehicles for field tasks, sensors to predict maintenance needs for farming equipment, augmented reality for learning purposes, and sensors, tracking and data for efficient logistics.

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