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RCI completes first phase of the Farm of the Future

The Trilogy Networks and Rural Cloud Initiative (RCI) pilot will power a variety of advanced precision agriculture applications at Hurst Greenery in Westboro, Missouri.

Trilogy Networks and the Rural Cloud Initiative (RCI) have completed Phase 1 of its first Farm of the Future deployment at Hurst Greenery in Westboro, Missouri. This first phase consists of the Trilogy nationwide LinX Network and the ConEx regional edge cloud platform hosting real-time Internet of Things (IoT) services delivered over a private LTE network to the Hurst Greenery.

Variety of advanced precision agriculture applications

This pilot is to prove out the Trilogy architecture and, as it moves into production later this year, will power a variety of advanced precision agriculture applications, including sensors, monitoring devices, satellite mapping solutions, drones and even robots.

Trilogy Networks integrated technologies from multiple network and solution providers including Celona, Chat Mobility, ClearBlade, FMTC Data Center, IAMO Communications, Lanner Electronics, Midwest Data Center, Pluribus Networks, and SBA Edge Data Center, to create a custom solution specific to Hurst Greenery’s needs.

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Antenna mounted on the roof of one of Hurst Greenery's greenhouses. - Photo: RCI
Antenna mounted on the roof of one of Hurst Greenery's greenhouses. - Photo: RCI

10 percent increase in efficiency and profit

“This first phase of the Farm of the Future project will result in a 10 percent increase in efficiency and profit, allowing for increases in yields and cost savings,” said Blake Hurst, owner of Hurst Greenery, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, and vice president of the FCC Precision Connectivity Working Group. “This announcement is an exciting first step toward deploying advanced technologies that will help Hurst Greenery and more than 2,000 other area farms streamline their operations and maximise their productivity.”

These applications deployed at the edge of the network are to give Hurst Greenery – as well as potentially another 2,300 farms in a two-state area – the ability to increase their operational efficiency, reduce operating costs, and use increased automation to monitor and control crops and environmental systems.

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Interior of Hurst Greenery greenhouse. - Photo: RCI
Interior of Hurst Greenery greenhouse. - Photo: RCI

Edge-as-a-service

This Farm of the Future showcases the potential of a new way to deliver advanced solutions to rural markets. Edge-as-a-service, or EaaS, is to give farms and other rural industries the capability to deploy advanced technology solutions quickly, seamlessly, and cost effectively without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.

In addition to building the private LTE network, Phase 1 of the Farm of the Future project included deploying a platform interface to connect an array of IoT applications, establishing the LinX network for long-haul connectivity, and providing distributed cloud capability via the ConEx edge cloud platform.

Real-time environmental data for temperature and humidity

The first application deployed on the private LTE network is providing real-time environmental data for temperature and humidity over approximately two acres of greenhouses and another several acres of farmland, allowing Hurst Greenery to manage fans, heaters, and other environmental equipment, and to receive immediate alarm alerts when an issue arises.

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Left to right: Venky Swaminathan, Trilogy Networks founder and CTO; George Woodward, Trilogy Networks founder and CEO; Blake Hurst, owner of Hurst Greenery. - Photo: RCI
Left to right: Venky Swaminathan, Trilogy Networks founder and CTO; George Woodward, Trilogy Networks founder and CEO; Blake Hurst, owner of Hurst Greenery. - Photo: RCI

Rural Cloud Initiative

The Rural Cloud Initiative is a coalition of more than 45 network and edge innovation partners committed to promoting and accelerating the digital transformation of rural America. The RCI partners are working together to deploy edge solutions running on a unified, distributed cloud covering an area of 1.5 million square miles of rural America, providing the essential infrastructure for 5G, agriculture, and energy solutions.

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