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Internet Of Things : The Rural Problem Statements (Indian Context)

We have been reading all about IOT and I believe the hype is not baseless as there are enough evidence to support the success of “Internet of Things” in the coming years. The technology is all on its toes to solve real life problems and facilitate people more. IOT is the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet which includes everything from cell phones, machines, washing machines, headphones, kitchen utilities, wearable devices and almost anything else one can think of. We can more define it as the technological relationship between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

69% of India are villages, IOT can definitely play the major role in developing Smart villages. Before we move to R&D in developing devices, we need to dig real need of Villages in India. Being in a village I could relate IOT to following problem statements of the rural:

Food Storage: In villages, people store their staple food for long in large containers or drums for a year. Many times due to bacteria or inappropriate moisture the wheat or rice get damage if not checked on time. On a larger view, many traders keep wheat or rice in sacks for long and sell all the year round. They also face the similar problem. Thousands of sacks are piled up for months in large warehouses and the inappropriate moisture or attack of insect damage it very often. Sensors are required to be installed in such drums or sacks, which can alert us that the wheat is effected in a particular sack with some insects or the moisture is low or high to avoid the damage.

LPG Leakage: Rural India is still shifting to the use of LPG cylinders. Every year there are multiple incidents in villages of LPG leakage and heavy loss to families in terms of losing home and family members too in almost all cases. The era of IOT should solve this issue on priority where every rural kitchen senses the leakage of gas and turns the cylinder automatically off.

Buildings: The loss of lives due to weak walls and roofs in villages, due to excessive moisture in buildings is very common. The sensors need to sense the life of the building that how long it is safe. Sensors need to be installed in homes which can detect smoke in case of fire breaks. During such emergency automated water sprinklers should work effectively to avoid the loss. Managing energy consumption is the key need in villages where the electricity power is not 24x7. Automated sensors are required to turn off electrical appliances, lights, fans, motors when not in use. As there are multiple homes which are standalone in villages, automated locks and security alert system can be developed in villages for their safety.


  • Mushroom and Flower cultivation: Flower and Mushroom cultivation is an art of plucking it at the right time, where even few minutes matter. Sensors need to be developed which can alert farmers that flowers and mushroom are at their peak stage of plucking anytime in night or day.

  • Crop Safety: Consider the case of the rice crop which is golden and ready to harvest, A small spark can set the large field on fire, in such case environmental sensors can detect smoke and start the water sprinklers and avoid huge losses. Wastage of vegetable is the common problem to all farmers. Sensors can detect the ripening of the vegetables and fruits. Alerts can be sent to farmers in case there are excessive birds in their fruit, vegetable or cereal farms. The low cost automated moving robot like structures in fields are required to keep animals and birds away.

  • Diesel sensors: Farming depends on vehicles (tractors) connected to generators, hence consumption of diesel is large. The diesel theft is common. Diesel tanks in vehicles should send automated alerts each time to farmers on how much diesel has been used by his team and what is the left over quantity.

  • Poultry & Pig farms: Devices need to develop to sense if the hen, rooster or chicks are affected with any disease and which particular bird or animal it is. The device can also help to count the number of eggs laid in the poultry farm each day. The sensors can sense the temperature alerts too. In poultry or pig farm business age/weight of the bird/ animal matters, the sensors can sense which chick/animal has grown to a particular age/weight and can be sold off in the market.

  • Weather: The use of environmental sensors to predict weather forecasts can help the farmers in activities like sowing, irrigation, and harvesting. The sensors should automatically send weather alerts to farmers in regional language.

Irrigation: Sensors in the fields can ensure the optimal use of available water resources. If there is going to be extreme hot temperature the next day, there might be need of more water to fields and hence necessary arrangements of workers, diesel, has to be made prior to saving the crop from extreme hot climate. The level of water and time of flow of water from the dams to canals also needs sensors so that farmers get alerts on time. Many time the water from dams to canals comes for 3 hours and the farmers remain unfamiliar. Fertilizer's sensors can sense and alert farmers if the crop requires more fertilizer or they are less in the soil. Sensors can help in detecting crop diseases prior to damage. The water motors can be connected with mobiles. Many farmers have to wake up at night for on and off of their water pumps or generators.

Dairy: A large number of farmers rear cattle for dairy products. Automated pet feeders can be developed connected to the smart devices. The favorable temperature for the cattle can be maintained using smart devices. While grazing in open, animals can be connected with smart devices so that they do not go far. The use of sensors in the fields or on animal's body can eliminate the job of supervision by a human and it can be done remotely by the farmers.

When an animal is under shelter and is tied, the major need is to have such tying devices which can sense that it is tied all the time. In villages when people tie animals under shelter with a nail on the floor or with a tree, usually, animals win to loose themselves. Then the farmer has to go and search them.

Much needed device are to check the milk nutrients. Small low-cost devices have to be developed connected with smartphones. As soon as we put a spoon of milk in the device our mobile connected to the device should reflect the percentage of fat the milk contains.

Cattle delivery is critical. Many times farmers loose calves which are otherwise their assets, due to the negligence of cattle at the time of delivery. Sensors should send alerts of animal's health status, timely, to avoid loss of precious lives.

We have numerous more points which can be researched under IOT in rural, to mention a few more:

  • Automated pesticides sprinklers which can sense various types of insects/reptiles/ animals such as mosquitoes, flies, snakes, lizards, mice which are very common in villages.

  • People are very religious especially in villages, sensors can help in avoiding sacrilege of holy books which are leading to deadly protests in rural.

  • The low-cost water tanks management to avoid overflow of tanks and wastage of water.

  • The automated lock system of doors, windows, vehicles etc. connected to smart devices.

  • The sensors to monitor infants to avoid any accidents.

  • Diet chart reminders for animals.

  • Automated street lights to save energy consumption.

  • Medical devices to monitor regular health check-ups just like Fitbit. Developing facilities for rural by connecting them to urban doctors via the internet.

  • Smart education initiatives for kids in rural, developing online play way methods to learn or connecting them to urban talent.

  • Water impurity detectors.

  • Automated billing calculation from electricity meters.

  • Maintenance of vehicles - prior alerts of tyre inflation, oil change, and air filters etc.

There are millions of things which can be linked to IOT in villages. The idea of Internet of things can be extended to the villages especially in India, where the majority population is rural. Though the need in villages is different from other countries and cities of India, but let us mark a chapter on "Indian Way Of Doing Things"

My honest writings




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