ZTE Partner with KPN to Build 5G Field Labs on Precision Agriculture

ZTE has worked closely with KPN and successfully completed the test for the first 5G application for Precision Agriculture on an experimental farm in Drenthe, the Netherlands.

The test was conducted by taking accurate images of a potato cultivation field with camera drones, and processing them through an agricultural machine connected with 5G network. The company claims that a proper protection plan for the potato plantation can then be devised on a real-time basis.

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Speed-wise, the test greatly enhances the processing period from about two days to just two hours in the 5G Field Lab. This allows agricultural companies to cut down on processing times and respond quickly to various threats the crops are exposed to.

In addition to a drastically enhanced speed, 5G connection is not only more flexible, but also provides a shorter reaction time and higher reliability. In Drenthe, the test adopts a new technology in an existing agricultural process of control of deciduous crops that grow between potato plants.

A camera drone scans the field with a multi-spectral camera. The large data files can then be immediately transferred and processed in a task card for the agricultural machine, which can then work very precisely on the field all thanks to 5G connection.

5G allows processes that require large bandwidths for upload to be completed in a matter of seconds, a feat that was unimaginable for 4G networks. During the test in Drenthe, KPN has for the first time combined various frequency bands (uplink carrier aggregation) so that the images made by the drone can be sent in real-time.

The test in Drenthe is part of four different field labs for 5G applications, specifically in agriculture, urban areas, harbor areas, and in the automotive sector. KPN investigates together with customers and several technology partners within these labs to understand how 5G connection can potentially optimize business processes and improve customer experience.

It was also announced that KPN will hold the first 5G tests in Amsterdam Zuidoost, the Rotterdam Port, and on a highway near Helmond at the end of this year.