The challenges for telemetry solutions in Brazilian fields


23 July 2020

Telemetry solutions - which allow remote data transmission - are not exactly new. However, in Brazil, we are still in the first steps, especially in silviculture and in the harvesting process of the forestry sector. One of the biggest challenges for the most comprehensive implementation of telemetry is due to the lack of telecommunications structure in the country.

According to a survey carried out by the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) until April 2020, around 33 million people had access to broadband - in a country with 209 million inhabitants. In contrast, the diagnosis also points out that the Brazilian satellite capacity jumped from 68.1 GHz in 2016 to 129.4 GHz in 2019. This growth shows that we are on the way to reach remote areas and expand the communication capacity. One more step to make telemetry more present in agribusiness.

And why is it important to move forward in this? A number of benefits can be achieved with the intensive use of telemetry. For example, the monitoring of input application processes (fertilisers, pesticides, seeds, etc.), items that correspond to more than half of the production costs in almost any crop. With the information in real-time, the correction of any deviations can be done before the field/farm ends, avoiding the excess or lack of material. In this way, we reduce costs and improve production volume.

It is also possible to increase reliability in pointing out machine data, which can be configured for automatic identification of the activities performed, resulting in the possibility of automating workflows and not only of individual machines.

Hexagon's telemetry works on four fronts; 3G/4G, which connectivity faces coverage problems; radio, whose evolution in recent years has been significant, but depends on private network and antennas; satellite, with greater range but higher cost; and hybrid systems (which combine two or more technologies).

In addition to the options for connectivity, Hexagon has all the software tools (cloud and embedded in its dedicated hardware) for the management of operations at different levels, providing telemetry in the widest possible sense, which includes not only the reading of machinery information, but also analysis, interpretation, and generation of alerts, indicators, and recommendations.

We believe that telemetry will bring more and more gains to Brazilian agribusiness, such as increasing logistical efficiency through the adoption of this technology combined with optimisation software (instead of simple trackers). More than waiting for the solution, we are working together in the fields to discover how to bring this tool to reality in the industry.

Bernardo de Castro
Hexagon’s Agriculture Division

Bernardo de CastroBernardo de Castro is president of Hexagon Agriculture and has more than 10 years of experience with technology companies. Bernardo has an automation engineering background and is a co-founder and former CEO of Arvus Tecnologia, a Brazil-based leader in precision agriculture software and hardware acquired by Hexagon in 2014.