Internet-based monitoring and control systems increase energy efficiency, improve management efficiency, and lead to energy savings due to reduced travel requirements and more efficient equipment operation. For example, it is possible to create a system that sends an alert if the temperature and sound wave patterns of an engine are too divergent from the norm and turns it off automatically under those circumstances.

The wireless cloud over the UGA-Tifton campus and at cooperating farm site use multiple Strix radios strategically located at a variety of sites including the home, dairy, cotton gin, cropland, pasture, and forested areas. Farm test sites include Boddiford Farms (row crops, Screven County), Lewis Taylor Farms (vegetables, greenhouses and perennial grasses, Tift County), Glass Enterprises (chicken and alligators, Mitchell County) and White Oak Pastures (cattle and free range poultry, Bluffton, GA). The exact types of sensors, control systems, and alarms to be deployed vary from site to site and include:

  1. Sensors:
    1. Temperature – field, greenhouse, animal confinement facilities
    2. Moisture – field, drying and storage facilities
    3. Camera systems – field, packing and processing areas, loading docks, gas pumps, equipment, office, shop and home.
    4. Sound sensors – equipment, animal facilities, shop
    5. Odor detectors – for organic volatiles (animal facilities, storage areas)
    6. Location (Position) – equipment, vehicles, irrigation systems, people
    7. Status – off/on
  2. Control systems
    1. Gates
    2. Irrigation systems
    3. Animal feeding systems
    4. Drying facilities
    5. Office and home thermostats, lights, appliances…
  3. Alarms
    1. Temperature
    2. Motion
    3. Moisture
    4. Location

Will smart phone, tablet, or other mobile platform applications provide the best way to access the information provided by these sensors? Deployment of these technologies is critical, and there are too few technicians in rural areas capable of these tasks.