Understanding how large companies adopt new tech can help growers prepare for change
By Diego Flammini
New forms of technology will alter the way growers interact with their equipment and customers.
Farmers should keep a close eye on certain types of technology in particular, Dan Sinai, a national innovation senior executive with IBM, explained during the Farms.com Precision Agriculture & Ag Tech Showcase.
The first tech Sinai touched on was the Internet of Things (IOT).
Several companies already offer interconnectivity between individual products and the user. Elevating that data further will be important for the future of ag, Sinai said.
“The problem is, until you actually merge (multiple pieces of data together), you’re not going to derive the insights that you truly need,” he said.
“The next big step for IOT devices is how you integrate with the next level up with all the other IOT devices and how you make it artificially intelligent where it learns from itself.”
Sinai mentioned the importance of geospatial data.
Several types of data are kept in different formats and measured in different units.
IBM created a tool called IBM PAIRS for farmers, researchers and others to store data in a common format and allow them to derive insights from it, Sinai said.
He also discussed blockchain.
Blockchain tries to make shared, replicated, documents that several people can have access to. The technology can be important for food security, Sinai said.
“If somebody wants to get sick because of something that I grew, transported and delivered, who along the way could’ve caused that problem?” he said. “In the ag sector, the importance of blockchain is around traceability first.”
Large retailers also require blockchain for business purposes, Sinai said.
“If you want to sell to Wal-Mart, you have to be on their blockchain because of traceability.”