Rural Cloud Initiative Completes First Phase of the Farm of the Future


Trilogy Networks and the Rural Cloud Initiative (RCI)™ announced that the RCI has completed Phase 1 of its first Farm of the Future deployment at Hurst Greenery in Westboro, MO.

This first phase – announced on June 30 and completed on September 30 – consists of the Trilogy nationwide LinX™ Network and the ConEx™ regional edge cloud platform hosting real-time Internet of Things (IoT) services delivered over a private LTE network to the Hurst Greenery.

This pilot proves out the Trilogy architecture and, as it moves into production later this year, will power a variety of advanced precision agriculture applications, including sensors, monitoring devices, satellite mapping solutions, drones and even robots.

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Trilogy Networks integrated technologies from multiple best-in-class network and solution providers including Celona, Chat Mobility, ClearBlade, FMTC Data Center, IAMO Communications, Lanner Electronics, Midwest Data Center, Pluribus Networks, and SBA Edge Data Center, to create a custom solution specific to Hurst Greenery’s needs.

“This first phase of the Farm of the Future project will result in a 10 percent increase in efficiency and profit, allowing for increases in yields and cost savings,” said Blake Hurst, owner of Hurst Greenery, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, and vice president of the FCC Precision Connectivity Working Group. “Today’s announcement is an exciting first step toward deploying advanced technologies that will help Hurst Greenery and more than 2,000 other area farms streamline their operations and maximize their productivity.”

Those applications deployed at the edge of the network will give Hurst Greenery – as well as potentially another 2,300 farms in a two-state area – the ability to increase their operational efficiency, reduce operating costs, and use increased automation to monitor and control crops and environmental systems. This Farm of the Future showcases the potential of a new way to deliver advanced solutions to rural markets. Edge-as-a-service, or EaaS, will give farms and other rural industries the capability to deploy advanced technology solutions quickly, seamlessly, and cost effectively without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.

In addition to building the private LTE network, Phase 1 of the Farm of the Future project included deploying a platform interface to connect an array of IoT applications, establishing the LinX network for long-haul connectivity, and providing distributed cloud capability via the ConEx edge cloud platform. Trilogy Networks collaborated with nine other Rural Cloud Initiative members to complete this initial phase:

Pluribus Networks’ Netvisor ONE® and Adaptive Cloud Fabric™ solution connects all Trilogy distributed cloud locations on a single network fabric. The fabric radically simplifies the multi-site edge network while delivering rich services, multi-tenancy, visibility and security

Celona provides the private LTE network with its integrated solution of SIM cards, outdoor access points operating in the CBRS spectrum, on-premises Evolved Packet Core (EPC) software and cloud-hosted network operations console

ClearBlade’s IoT Edge Platform connects the IoT solutions and smart agriculture monitoring application for out-of-the-box visibility and automation across the farm

Lanner Electronics provides the Intelligent Edge Compute platform. This scalable platform, based on Intel x86 technology optimized for cloud-based deployments, offers the ability to integrate LTE and 5G devices to create multiple interfaces to the network where access technology is limited

IAMO Communications provides the backhaul using previously installed fiber at the farm

Midwest Data Center – Rockport, MO – serves as the co-location facility

FMTC Data Center – Stanton, IA – serves as the co-location facility
SBA Edge Data Center – Chicago, IL – serves as the co-location facility

Chat Mobility – Emerson, IA – provides the LTE network coverage in the area

“This project demonstrates the ability of RCI members to collaborate for a successful outcome, a core mission of the Rural Cloud Initiative,” said Brian Spurgeon, general manager at Chat Mobility and newly elected chairman of the RCI Advisory Council for Rural Edge Solutions (ACRES).

The first application deployed on the private LTE network is already providing real-time environmental data for temperature and humidity over approximately two acres of greenhouses and another several acres of farmland, allowing Hurst Greenery to manage fans, heaters, and other environmental equipment, and to receive immediate alarm alerts when an issue arises.

“Completing this first phase of our Farm of the Future project was an immense undertaking requiring the close collaboration of multiple carrier and edge innovation partners,” said George Woodward, president and CEO of Trilogy Networks. “To do it in just under three months is nothing short of amazing. Our ability to build the network and bring the platform and applications online so quickly – and to already be seeing positive results – shows the enormous business value edge connectivity can bring to America’s farms.”