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CASE Smart farming & Topcon Tierra

Precision agriculture to feed the future

Agriculture faces a big challenge: feeding more people with less resources. Farmers and agri-innovators alike are exploring the power of IoT to optimize the quality, efficiency, and sustainability of their business. Companies like Topcon, which empowers smart farm vehicles, and people like Dutch potato farmer Jacob.


Explore smart farming with potato farmer Jacob
Kpniot video poster image Topcon Tierra

Big data for potatoes

Meet Jacob van den Borne. Like his grandfather before him, he’s a potato farmer in the south of The Netherlands. ‘My grandfather had a little red book. Every day he wrote down what he’d done, how much he’d done and where he’d done it. It was like old-school big data.’ Unlike his grandfather, today Jacob has many more acres and the challenge is to be more efficient. Since 2012, Jacob has been experimenting with smart technology to keep his business future-proof.

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Connected precision farming

For Jacob, it started with using drones to inspect his potato plants. Seven years on, he calls himself a precision farmer. Together with KPN IoT he has installed connected sensors and weather stations on his land, monitoring weather conditions, soil moisture, and soil quality. This IoT technology gives Jacob the power to know exactly when and where to sow. When to water his field, how to harvest efficiently. And it automatically communicates the quantity and quality of his yield to the fries company that buys his potatoes.

Topcon Tierra: automating agricultural vehicles

Another KPN IoT partner in agri-business is Topcon Tierra, an expert in connected telematics. Topcon Tierra and KPN use M2M connectivity to automate agricultural vehicles. This solution combines a connected piece of hardware on tractors and harvesting machines with an online dashboard that manages vehicles’ whereabouts in real-time.

The Topcon Tierra hardware has an integrated KPN M2M sim card, transmitting detailed data on the location, status, and condition of a vehicle. This information is used to monitor the equipment or even to navigate unmanned vehicles.

“For Tierra, KPN represents an indispensable partner able to guarantee stable connectivity to its customers. Thanks to global coverage and a reliable service, our company can connect everything in every part of the world, having always total control.”
- Pietro Fornaris. Operations Director, Tierra S.p.A.

A global partner

Topcon Tierra operates worldwide, so the company needed a reliable global connectivity partner. ‘An always-on connection was crucial,’ says Pietro Fornaris, operations director at Topcon Tierra. ‘And so was global network coverage. That’s why we chose KPN IoT: because of their excellent global coverage via roaming partners, their reliable network, and their partnership with the international IoT platform supplier Cisco Jasper.’

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Working with sensor companies

KPN IoT helps agri-businesses meet the ever-growing demand to efficiently produce food, for an increasing population. We partner with sensor companies that rely on trouble-free wireless connections in the field to help farmers monitor their soil and crops. And to measure exactly which harvest and yield they can expect.

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