On the 17th and 18th of February, the IoF2020 fruit and vegetable trial meeting took place on the premises of Europool in Bonn, Germany. The two days were characterised by intense discussions, information exchange, and sociability.
The first day started with a visit to the Europool site. Europool is the European leader in reusable crates for the fresh supply chain. Where they have been pioneers in sustainability, the inclusion of digital solutions with IoF2020 has taken the possibilities to a new level. Trays have become sources of data, by tracking them and using that data to make the process more efficient. The tour of the premises and of the warehouse specifically, the possibilities of IoT and automation showed themselves: the amount of human interaction in the collection, washing and storing of the returned crates was a glimpse into the future.
With stretched legs, the group moved back to the meeting room for the start of an intense marathon session of use case presentations. Seeing all the different use cases with both their different approaches, and common solutions to a wide array of challenges. These challenges were not only interesting input for discussions during the presentations but will also prove vital during the Commission assessment during the Bucharest event in March. As a Large-Scale Pilot Project, IoF2020 is vital not only in finding solutions, but also for finding out what parts of the digitalisation of agriculture are still to be improved.
The evening saw all participants go back into Bonn to visit the city on a city tour kindly guided by our hosts. After a classic German dinner of a wide array of meats and weissbier, the first day came to a conclusion.
The second day saw all participants to meet back at the Europool premises, the groups were split between the Fruit- and vegetable trials. The day started with an interactive session by Work Package 3 on IoT capabilities and Integration. The presentations focussed on questions around standardisation, the implementation of the latest IoT components and data models, discussions on the needs of the different use cases, and potential for collaboration between the use cases.
Work Package 7 then held a workshop on recognising ethical questions in use cases. Through an innovative card game, the different use cases were subjected to hypothetical situations including hacking, privacy breaches, and other data conundrums. Not only was this enlightening in light of protection of data ownership and exchange, but the questions were also vital considering trust issues farmers tend to have about digital solutions.
After lunch, Work Package 5 gave their spokesperson training. In light of the final months of IoF2020, it is important to get the project out there. The training highlights the different ways in which communication theory can help the members reach out to a wide array of stakeholders. This reaches from talking to local councilmembers to European legislators.
With that, the event ended with more networking through which possible seeds have been planted for further cooperation, more projects, and a more sustainable future for farming.