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Solving real world problems through collaboration

Solving real world problems through collaboration

In a collaboration between 5G Open Innovation Lab partners, we collectively demonstrated the first drone-to-cloud data gathering and analysis that provides farmers with critical insights about the health of their crops in real-time

Michael Zema

Amdocs Corporate Communications

15 Oct 2021

Solving real world problems through collaboration

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"The opportunity to combine 5G technology, an explosion of connected devices, along with edge computing capabilities will drive a mosaic of innovative solutions that we can’t yet imagine. This demonstration is a great showcase of the art of the possible resulting from the collaboration of a rich partner ecosystem to solve real-world problems."

Anthony Goonetilleke

Group president of Media, Network and Technology, Amdocs

The future of connectivity is filled with amazing experiences, and with our partners, we’re proving it.

In a collaboration between 5G Open Innovation Lab partners, including Amdocs, Microsoft, Dell, T-Mobile, VMware and Innov8.ag, we collectively demonstrated the first drone-to-cloud data gathering and analysis that provides farmers with insights about the health of their crops in real-time. This milestone shows the vast capabilities of 5G, private networks and edge computing to empower app developers across a wide array of industries to enable new exciting use cases.

At the 5G Open Innovation Lab’s Field Lab at Swans Trail Farm in Snohomish, Washington, pilots flew drones over apple orchards to gather imagery and data about plant life, soil and irrigation. These areas are often bandwidth-constrained rural network environments where farmers have significant issues retrieving critical data and correctly processing it, hindering decision-making and productivity. In this instance:

  • The entire process was orchestrated by Amdocs’ next-gen OSS platform to make service, network and application deployment across all network functions possible.
  • Tens of gigabits of 4K resolution drone images were transferred to the Project Visage imaging system developed by Microsoft Research.
  • The system, which accelerates 3D image rendering and analytics, was deployed at the edge on Dell and VMware infrastructure.
  • The Expeto private enterprise network at the farm sent compressed image data over T-Mobile’s Public Network to Azure Cloud.
  • Microsoft FarmBeats processed the image data before sending it through an app developed by Innov8.ag to provide robust, real-time, actionable insights on the orchard to the farmer.

With this integrated solution, farmers can achieve a 1,500% reduction of data transferred to the cloud and shorten the time from data capture to analysis from several days to mere minutes. In our tests, Swans Trail achieved 50% reduction in water usage and better visibility as to where water should be applied.

Members of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, Snohomish County, Expeto, Microsoft, Amdocs and VMWare get ready for the drone test.

Sunrise at Swans Trail Farms before the drone launch.

Drone used in the test with some of the farms' delicious apples.

Patrick Nelson, Software Services Business Leader at Amdocs, flies a drone to capture footage of the test.

After completing the drone flight, Alex Crown, RSDE at Microsoft, is pleased with the function of Project Visage and FarmBeats.

Alex Crown, RSDE at Microsoft and Caleb Pan, Data Scientist at Innov8.ag confirm the data from the drone.

Dr. Ranveer Chandra, CTO Agri-Food and Managing Director of Research for Industry, Microsoft, said, “Aerial imagery from drones and other aircraft can help us understand what’s happening on the farm, on-demand and at high resolution. This helps identify crop stress, pest infestation, and other features that can help a grower be more productive and adopt sustainable agricultural practices. Our recent breakthrough with the Project Visage system enables us to prioritize parts of the image that are sent to the cloud through intelligent edge processing and 5G internet connectivity, which is critical to enable such a data-driven agricultural system.”

This successful proof of concept showcases the widespread possibilities to deploy apps robustly and automatically over multiple private and public networks, and the relevant network edges in a variety of industries where overcoming obstacles such as bandwidth limitations or elimination of latency for real-time actions is critical. It also highlights the ability to automate and orchestrate applications simply and efficiently across multiple hybrid networks with the required functionality and benefits deployed across the world.

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of Media, Network and Technology, Amdocs, said, “Solutions for ubiquitous connectivity need to scale vast geographies and rural locations around the world. The opportunity to combine 5G technology, an explosion of connected devices, along with edge computing capabilities will drive a mosaic of innovative solutions that we can’t yet imagine. This demonstration is a great showcase of the art of the possible resulting from the collaboration of a rich partner ecosystem to solve real-world problems.”

This is just the beginning of what is sure to be an exciting journey. With the 5G Innovation Lab, Amdocs has invested significantly in developing state-of-the-art 5G use cases around driverless cars, rural connectivity, agriculture, and enterprise. The Lab’s joint effort ensures startups across a broad spectrum of industries have the expertise they need to build what’s next in edge computing, setting the groundwork for our increasingly connected digital society.

Read more about Amdocs’ network solutions. To learn more about Project Visage from Microsoft Research, read the ACM MobiCom 2021 accepted publication Visage: Enabling Timely Analytics for Drone Imagery - Microsoft Research.

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