A case with IICA and Lantern Technologies combined capabilities
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is an organization that supports the efforts of 34 countries in the Americas to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being. Founded in 1948, it is an international institution that provides cooperation and support in areas such as technology and innovation for agriculture, agricultural health, food quality and safety, international agricultural trade, family farming, rural development, natural resource management and bioeconomy.
Lantern Technologies has worked hand in hand with agricultural experts from IICA, providing low-cost and highly reliable technologies for monitoring agrometeorological variables for implementation in its projects and programs sponsored by the Cooperation of the European Union.
IICA needed a simple, robust, and low-cost platform for sensing, transmission, and agglutination of data that would allow small and medium-sized agricultural producers to constantly monitor the main aspects of their crops. 9 variables that needed to be continuously monitored were defined for the project. The selected variables were: Soil Moisture, Soil Temperature, Solar Radiation, Atmospheric Pressure, Air Temperature, Air Humidity, Wind Direction, Wind Speed , and Precipitation.
For the Lantern project, he proposed, designed, and manufactured agrometeorological sensor stations that include all these variables using low-cost devices and very low energy consumption. A special challenge was the solar radiation sensor, of which there was no one on the market at a competitive cost. that would allow keeping the project viable for small agricultural producers, as was the intention. For this reason, a probe was built that delivers a signal proportional to the solar radiation received, which, although it is not a precision instrument, allows this variable to be correlated for the calculation of evapotranspiration in crops.
Another aspect of the solution to highlight is the use of connectivity through LPWAN protocols to send information to the cloud. Within the proposal, the possibility of using devices that implement the two most mature protocols on the market in this regard, LoRa, and Sigfox, was managed, giving flexibility to the solution based on the existing possibilities in the installation area. The SigFox operator in Central America was a strong ally in the project, implementing coverage in all areas where connectivity for sensors was required.