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By collecting live data on crop and soil conditions, Connected ECO can facilitate customized farming to maximize agricultural yield. Farmers are given wireless IoT sensor developed by a technology partner which are programmed to measure vital agricultural data points including humidity levels, light intensity, soil moisture and electrical conductivity. These statistics are transmitted via Wi-Fi to an integrated smartphone app – or SMS to low-end handsets – to give real-time information on prevailing conditions.

Users can access charts and graphs via the app’s dashboard which analyses the data over periods of time and compares measurements to a database of local meteorological conditions. Accessing detailed information about their land, farmers will be able to refine their agronomic techniques, reduce crop stress due to over watering and therefore reduce water waste. The app advises farmers about both the optimum time of day and volume of water to irrigate, allowing farmers to develop tailored solutions for their land.

By automating the water system, the mobile app can also deploy and control the water flow to crops thus regulating irrigation more effectively. A solar-powered water valve is a flow device which, when attached to a drip irrigation system, allows for the most efficient watering possible. Thus this project will prevent both damage due to drought and excessive watering.

Improving agricultural water management for a 2050 market requires a learn-by-doing, flexible and adaptive approach like this project. In addition to helping farmers cut costs while increasing the productivity of the land, Connected ECO’s business model promotes social sustainability and poverty reduction. The United Nations assert that educating girls and women could ‘hold the key to breaking the cycle of poverty’, giving them the skills to find employment and become entrepreneurs, generating economic growth. ITU is instrumental in training women in developing countries in vital ICT skills through such programmes as the ITU Digital Literacy Campaign in partnership with telecentre.org, which has trained over a million women to become digitally literate, enabling them to access the labour market.

Using Connect ECO’s Internet of Things-enabled sensors and smart phone application empowers a new generation of digital citizens. People with no knowledge of software development can be easily trained to use the technology. The model will focus on educating female cooperative farmers how to use Connected ECO’s technology, improving their computer literacy and empowering them to be more successful in agriculture. Connected ECO’s model claims to serve a social purpose: the integration of people that are marginalized in the labour market, working to reduce global poverty. (Source: itu150.org)

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