After smart cities, it is now about smart villages. An Internet of Things (IoT) solution implemented in Mori village of East Godavari district run by the Andhra Pradesh government in association with telecommunications major Ericsson is showing the way with the help of connected aquaponics and smart water grid management.
Ericsson’s connected aquaponics and smart water grid solutions integrate sustainable agriculture and aquaculture which help optimise water distribution and reduce adverse effects on ground water. Prototypes like these are scalable and can benefit thousands of villages throughout the country.
“Mori village has been chosen to be developed as the first smart village. The successful pilots in Mori can be scaled up and extended to cover thousands of villages in Andhra Pradesh and across India,”’ says Anand Varadarajan, head of Ericsson Research, Chennai at Ericsson India. Both the projects were demonstrated following a three-month pilot which was initiated along with the Andhra Pradesh government and UC Berkeley to help improve lives of farmers in and around Mori.
Connected aquaponics solution integrates aquaculture and hydroponics for reuse of the ammonia rich waste water from aquaculture for organic farming and recycle the water back to the aqua farm. Using wireless sensor network and Ericsson’s AppIOT platform; it enables the monitoring of the aqua farm 24×7, thereby enabling the farmers with real-time information. “This enables them to increase the yield as well as bring down the production cost with optimum use of raw materials and repeated use of water. This in turn has a positive impact on the water table. For farmers, all this is enabled via an app on their mobiles, thereby enabling them to monitor and control their farms remotely,” he says.
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The smart water grid management solution has been designed to enable efficient use of natural water resources in the Godavari basin through use of sensors and actuators. The sensors measure the quality of water, flow of water and levels in the water storage tanks across the villages. Actuators are used to automatically open and close the gates of the river flow system to distribute the water as per needs of the farmers. Such a system helps in better management in flood-like situations. This also helps in regulating the flow of sea water and prevents it from entering the fresh water system. The entire operation is integrated into a centralised command and control system for efficient management at panchayat, taluk, district and state levels.
“The initial success story of Ericsson connected aquaponics can be understood through testimonials from farmers in Mori who have had the opportunity of experiencing the system and the benefits they derive from a mobile app designed in Telugu that has been made available to them,” Varadarajan explains. The mobile app enables real-time farm monitoring enabling farmers to take an action precisely when required. This ability to act basis real time information increases the probability of harvesting the full yield to as much as 90%, which till now was around 50-60%.
Ericsson’s connected aquaponics solution is designed to enable substantial savings on production cost through optimised use of raw materials for maximum yield as well as recycling 70% of the water and additional revenue through organic farming. The initial success of the water grid management has been the possibility of reducing the time to act from two days to two hours. This has been demonstrated in the area around Mori with real time information on the quality of water, flow of water and level of water in the water tanks via a cloud-based application which is accessible to everyone in the hierarchy. This has enabled transparency as well as effective real time governance.
“As we move into the next phase, we will evaluate business models based on findings at the ground level and will have discussions with the concerned stakeholders,” adds Varadarajan. There is a possibility of replicating this model in other states as well.
Ericsson has been at the forefront of the 5G and IoT journey with solutions transforming industry as well as society. For example, it is running a ‘smart metering’ pilot in the utilities space by installing 15,000 smart meters in Assam over the next three years. The solution will offer outage management, reduction in technical and commercial losses, power quality management and net metering. The aim is to reduce network losses and improve system efficiency.