ZTE Corporation, a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, has worked with KPN to successfully complete the test of the first 5G application for Precision Agriculture on experimental farm ‘t Kompas, Drenthe, The Netherlands, in cooperation with the Province of Drenthe, Wageningen University & Research, Dronehub GAE Foundation, Agrifac and Innovation Veenkoloniën.
The test employs a camera drone to make very accurate images of a potato cultivation field. Afterwards, through a mobile connection with 5G characteristics, these images are processed and sent to an agricultural machine, which then basically doses the proper protection to the potato crop in a very precise way on a real-time basis. The test greatly enhances the process period – from about two days to just two hours in the 5G Field Lab.
“Agriculture is expected to be one of the most important fields of 5G applications. Thanks to 5G technology, Precision Agriculture is becoming more accessible to agricultural companies, and basically, they can respond instantly to developments on land. Not only will this save the costs of the farmers on their crop protection, which also benefits the environment, but it is to be expected that this will also increase the profits on their land because they will have more real-time direct control over their crops.” said Tom Poelhekken, Chief Technology Officer at KPN.
In addition to a higher speed, 5G explicitly focuses on more flexibility, shorter reaction time and higher reliability. In Drenthe, the test adopts new technology in an existing agricultural process of control of deciduous crops that grows between potato plants. A camera drone scans the field with a multi-spectral camera. Thanks to the mobile connection with 5G characteristics, the large data files can be immediately sent and processed in a task card for the agricultural machine which can then work very precisely on the field. This process requires large bandwidth for its upload, for which the current 4G networks are not sufficient. During the test in Drenthe, KPN has for the first time combined various frequency bands (uplink carrier aggregation) so that the images made by the drone can be sent in real-time.
“We are delighted to have been chosen to support KPN in one of its 5G field labs to explore the value of 5G applications. This result demonstrates great innovation power which can be generated from the close collaboration between our teams, and we look forward to more joint success in the future.” said Patric Bin, CEO of ZTE Netherlands.
Together with the customers and technology partners, KPN has been committed to discovering the value of 5G technology. The test in Drenthe is part of four different field labs for 5G applications, specifically, in agriculture, urban areas, harbor area, and the automotive sector. In these field labs, KPN investigates together with customers and several technology partners how 5G can optimize business processes and improve the customer experience. Later this year, KPN will also hold the first 5G tests in Amsterdam Zuidoost, the Rotterdam Port and on a highway near Helmond.