By Anas Abu Hassan & Durratul Ain Ahmad Fuad
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The application of smart farming in Malaysia is still in the early stages with more room for enhancement once the implementation of the fifth generation (5G) technology is fully available that could help the industry to adopt the automation process, said REDtone Digital Bhd.
Group chief executive officer Lau Bik Soon said that as of today, the smart farming process in the country is at the first phase where most farmers use the technology only for basic purposes such as collecting data to control the irrigation systems.
He said phase two of smart farming involves the use of drone and satellite monitoring solutions to monitor the farm on a large scale and collect a lot of data to be used in the farming process.
“5G technology will have a greater impact on smart farming when it comes to phase three and phase four, where more data will be collected and analysed using data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the automation process of the entire farm can be done, like what happened in most developed countries,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview on 5G technology and its benefit.
Lau said the use of 5G technology will add value to smart farming where farmers can work progressively with local authorities and government agencies to enhance the farming activities at different stages.
REDtone, a provider of integrated telecommunications and digital infrastructure services, also provides smart farming solutions, an integrated Internet of Things (IoT) platform in agriculture.
It allows farmers to leverage sensors, smart gateways and monitoring systems to collect information, control various parameters on their farms and analyse real-time data.
Lau said to date, the company has deployed more than 20 smart farming solutions nationwide with at least one smart farming project in every state in Malaysia as well as a few installations in Indonesia.
“When 5G technology is fully available in our country, we foresee that the demand for smart farming solutions will increase,” he added.
Meanwhile, on the prospect for this year, Lau said REDtone will focus on its three major services namely telecommunication services, managed telecommunications network services and industrial digital services.
Under the telecommunication services, he said, REDtone will continue to offer reliable connectivity to its customers and all other value-added services.
“Under the managed telecommunication network services, with the 4G enhancement going on under the National Digital Network (JENDELA) plan, and 5G rollout happening in our country, we will continue to focus on enhancing the connectivity in the underserved and rural areas,” he said.
Lau said the company will also focus on improving its cloud services and AI under the industrial digital services that include smart farming solutions.
“We will continue to focus on our playing field which I think is big enough for us to keep us busy for the next 12 to 24 months,” he added.