Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc. | On the Start of Demonstrations of Rice Farming Support Using ICT - Press Releases(2018)
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Press Release 2018

On the Start of Demonstrations of Rice Farming Support Using ICT

August 9, 2018

Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.
Internet Initiative Japan, Inc.

Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (Headquarters: Higashi-ku, Nagoya-shi; President & Director: Satoru Katsuno; hereafter, “Chubu Electric Power”) and Internet Initiative Japan, Inc. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director & President: Eijiro Katsu, hereafter “IIJ”) will jointly conduct demonstrations of rice farming support using ICT (hereafter, demonstrations) in Iwata-shi and Fukuroi-shi in Shizuoka Prefecture from today until March 2020.

The heavy workload in water management work and assessing development conditions has been a significant issue for farmers and agricultural management entities with many rice paddies.

This demonstration will be as a step toward dealing with this issue and developing services for labor saving efforts in agriculture.

We have installed radio base stations on utility poles for this demonstration. These radio base stations serve various equipment installed in the paddies to measure the water level and such. Telecommunication infrastructure to grasp the water level and temperature of the paddies and open and close the feed valve via the internet has also been established.

We have installed web cameras and weather sensors on the utility poles to accurately capture the state of the paddies beyond the paddy sensors.

In this demonstration, Chubu Electric Power will be conducting maintenance on the radio base stations, web cameras, weather sensors installed on the utility poles and all of the equipment installed in the paddies, as well as conducting technical verification on maintenance and verifying our customers’ needs regarding the web cameras and weather sensors.

IIJ will develop a “ICT Water Management System” that visualizes the state of the rice paddies including the water level and temperature, and control the water supply to the paddies as well as verify the effectiveness of the System.

We will overcome challenges and accumulate knowhow in the demonstration to develop new services.

This joint project was started when IIJ sent in an application as a potential partner company to Chubu Electric Power’s open innovation contest “Smart Pole Project (Note 2)” as part of its efforts to research and develop labor and cost cutting measures for rice farming using ICT (Note 1).

(Note 1) IIJ formed a research consortium to apply to the research development challenge “Development of rice paddy sensors for low cost, labor saving water management” which was part of the FY2016 Revised Budget Program for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries “Agricultural entities reinforcement projects out of innovative technology development / urgent deployment projects”. The research consortium was provided a budget as part of the Program.
This demonstration is part of IIJ’s efforts to develop a “ICT water management system” in which rice paddy sensors that measure water levels, and feed water valves are installed. The sensors gather data such as the water level/temperature and the feedwater valves can be opened and closed via LPWA.

(Note 2) The “Smart pole project” is a program to develop and provide new regional services using utility poles. Chubu Electric Power put out a call for potential partner companies that could collaborate as service providers from July 2017 to January 2018.