CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT) is putting Internet of Things (IoT) technology to work in the service of Thai agriculture under its CAT Digital Come Together initiative. CAT seeks to encourage Thailand’s farmers to make digital technology an integral part of their farming operations. Company officials aim to create a learning hub based IoT as a platform for exchanging knowledge, serving as a steppingstone for farmers to organise into a fully integrated Smart Farmer community.
The project’s objective is to merge conventional agricultural skills and knowledge with cutting-edge IoT technology to help with a variety of farming functions, including weather analysis and intelligent irrigation control. The new technology will provide farmers with the data they need to formulate effective planting schedules, which is expected to bring benefits such as higher crop yields and better quality produce along with reduced operating costs, cultivation times and energy usage. There are currently a number of agriculture projects using the Smart Farmer model to inspire farmers nationwide.
IoT organic farming by Pong Rad Natural Agricultural Centre’s descendants
One example of this new farming model is the Pong Rad Natural Agricultural Centre, a research farm owned by Woraphet “Noom” Wongcharoen. Under the banner "CAT Digital Come Together", the centre integrates traditional farming techniques with modern technology in cultivating experimental vegetable plots to increase efficiency of agricultural operations. Woraphet’s success in using this knowledge to run the centre, sharing it with fellow farmers and helping them create a sustainable future, is an excellent example of how effectively the programme works.
The Simsri family: Thailand’s “Smart-tech” Farmers
Sanan Simsri and his family used to live in an urban area, but later moved to the countryside to take up farming. Today, they run an organic vegetable farm which also functions as a Smart Farmers learning centre where other farmers can learn the high-tech growing methods. Sanan is honing his new-era farming skills at a time when IoT agriculture is crucial for the survival of Thailand’s farmers. “I see smart agriculture becoming increasingly central to all agriculture,” he said.
CAT sent experts to teach us how to use the technology. They showed me that it isn’t scary, and in fact it’s quite exciting. Even though we’d never tried it, we did not think it was impossible. We just have to learn more about it and put what we learn into practice. As we do that, we see how it actually makes our job easier. Adopting IoT technology helps us achieve higher yields and faster growing times. At first it seemed as though implementing the new systems was slowing us down, but we soon learned that the automation ultimately saves us a lot of time. Initially we may earn less income using these practices, but we are willing to try because it fosters sustainability in the long run.
CAT Digital Come Together continues to build on Smart Farmer solutions, addressing the inherent limitations and weaknesses of conventional farming techniques. With a primary focus on knowledge development and gaining practical experience with the technology, the new farming methods have been smoothly integrated into the traditional Thai way of life in the communities that have implemented them. The initiative also helps more broadly, ultimately helping to ensure that the country can successfully transition to Thailand Industry 4.0 without leaving anyone behind.