Assoc. Prof. António Valente
University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Portugal
Antonio Valente graduated in Electrical Engineering from University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), Portugal in 1994, and in 1999 a MsC degree in Industrial Electronics, Univ. Minho, Portugal. PhD degree at UTAD, in 2003, working in the field of micro-systems for agriculture. Presently, he is an Associate Professor with Habilitation at Engineering Department, UTAD. He is a senior researcher at Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering – Technology and Science (INESC TEC).
Title: Enabling the Douro Demarcated Region for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a recent concept that, lately, has been extended to several areas. The area of agriculture and forests is no exception, though, at different speeds (faster in greenhouses and slower in large areas such as the forest). The difficulty seems obvious – the area to be covered versus the costs of these implementations. In a greenhouse, the possibilities of establishing interconnection between ‘things’ (in the case of agriculture and forest the ‘things’ may be the environment, or the soil or plants/trees) and the internet is practically solved (eg using existing technologies for the industry – WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Power Line Communications, among others). However, for vast agricultural and forestry areas (> 1 ha) the solutions, at the moment, mostly involve the use of mobile networks provided by operators (GSM, UMTS, LTE). Due to several factors (costs, availability, knowledge and maturity of technologies), ‘things’ with interconnection normaly only are weather stations. Recently, with the appearance of Low-Power Hide-Area Networks (LPWAN), which allow long distance communications between low consumption devices (sensors powered by batteries) but with few bits, the panorama can and must be changed. However, there is still a long way to go.
Through a case study, it will be introduced the implementation of a concept of Internet of Things in the Douro Demarcated Region (the oldest demarcated wine region in the world). The choice of an LPWAN communications network and its implementation, the choice of the necessary devices as well as the various possibilities of sensors will be discussed. New applications will also be reviewed, together with a vision of the future of the Internet of Things in agriculture and forests: Could intra- or interconnected sensor networks co-exist? Can we talk about the democratization of data in agriculture? How could future services be?