• The pilot test, within the context of the 5G Barcelona initiative, is an example of how 5G can help improve farming productivity and development of the rural world

Albatàrrec, 27 September 2019.- A field of nectarines in Albatàrrec (Segrià) has today become the first 5G connected field in the whole of Spain. This is a pioneering initiative and an example of how 5G connectivity in rural areas can contribute towards more productive farms. The project, promoted by the Generalitat de Catalunya Department of Digital Policies, has been developed within the framework of 5G Barcelona.

The pilot test was used to optimise the pruning process, a key operation in improving farming output. Thanks to the 5G antenna by Vodafone installed on the experimental property of AKIS International and the Cisco solutions prepared for 5G, an operator with a device (equipped with a camera, microphone and viewer, all voice-controlled) was able to provide a real-time view of the tree he was pruning and receive instructions from an agricultural engineer (at a different location).

This system makes it easier for a technical advisor to train or guide one or several operators, analysing the singularities of each production area and providing the best strategy in real time. Furthermore, the technician can share graphic information with the operator, including data shown on maps and notes on the image that the operator is sending. The advisor can make decisions based not only on the data, but also on the view of the structural situation of each tree, giving the pruner advice on the strategy to follow and providing him with instructions.

The pilot test is possible thanks to 5G technology by Vodafone, which provides higher speeds for real-time connection and reduces latency to 5 milliseconds in ideal conditions. What is more, it provides sufficient band width to be able to transmit the image from the glasses to the specialist technician providing advice. Meanwhile, Cisco provides the solutions for communications between the expert and the operators in the field.

The implementation of 5G technology is to be a reality in our country by early 2021. However, Catalonia has become an unique environment in Europe open to experimentation with 5G, where any local or international organisation seeking to validate its services and solutions in real environments can do just that.

The presentation of the pilot test was attended by the councillor for Digital Policies and Public Administration, Jordi Puigneró; the councillor for Agriculture, Farming, Fisheries and Food, Teresa Jordà; the mayor of Albatàrrec, Jaume Sanuy; the president of the Provincial Council of Lleida, Joan Talarn, and Eduard Martín, director of the 5G programme at Mobile World Capital Barcelona. Also present were representatives of the companies that have made the pilot test possible (Jose Muga, Head of Engineering & Deployment at Vodafone, Xavier Azemar, Director of the Barcelona Co-Innovation Center for Cisco, and Víctor Falguera, Research Manager for AKIS International).