Amid the ongoing proliferation of Internet of Things initiatives in Brazil, a delegation of governmental, private sector and academic stakeholders arrived in Brussels at the beginning of June this year with the aim of learning more about successful European IoT implementation initiatives. After their visit to the European Commission’s Directorate‑General for Communications, Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), they joined us in our office in Brussels for an introduction to the IoF2020 project. The objective was to learn about the impact that IoT technologies can have in regions of high agricultural activity and low population density in order to create a similar programme in Brazil. Based on the lessons learned within the EU-funded IoF2020 large scale pilot, Edwin Hecker, Managing Partner at Schuttelaar & Partners and IoF2020 Ecosystem Development Leader, provided a glimpse of how the IoF2020 ecosystem developed over the first 18 months of the 48 months project. Following the session with us, the Brazilian delegation met with the Secretary General of the Alliance for the Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) in Brussels. One of the discussion points was the follow-up of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Brazilian Government (Camara IoT) and the AIOTI in February 2017 to collaborate on IoT.
The EU fears the consequences of a severe drought! The European Drought Observatory’s precipitation map shows extreme dryness across large swathes of northern Europe. Additionally, farmers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland have been affected by the warmest months on record when it comes to average temperatures across Europe. This is a very tough and uncertain time for them as the circumstances reach catastrophic proportions, reflected by the picture on the right, taken by Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station (ISS).
Farmers are increasingly focused on precision agriculture. This includes collecting more detailed information about the spatial characteristics of their farming operations. These specific characteristics include the soil composition, as this has a large influence on crop growth. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to define soil properties is to measure the soil electrical conductivity, which provides much more measurements in a shorter amount of time than traditional soil sampling.
With support from Startup Europe, the city municipality, the Andalusian government as well as private sponsorships, Malaga held an important event treating digital revolution on agriculture between 21 and 22 June. The new Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Juan Planas, who presides this event, expressed his ambition to put digitization high on his agenda during the introductory session.
From weather predictions and consequent adaptations, to seed-sowing and crop harvesting, until the transport and packaging of processed foodstuffs: The Internet of Things can be useful in the entire agri-food chain, from farm to fork. Or should we say farm to glass, as smart technologies can also be involved in the supply chain of wine and beer, bringing happiness to many Europeans consumers, as well as the producers of the drinks.
Agriculture has come a long way in the past century. We produce more food than ever before but our current model is unsustainable, and as the world’s population rapidly approaches the 8 billion mark, modern food production methods will need a radical transformation if they want to keep up. But luckily, there’s a range of new technologies that might make it possible. While robotic process automation is often considered the end of work optimization, it’s much more complex than that. Automation will change the way we work, but it’s not as if we’re going to be turning our jobs entirely over to machines. To be truly effective, it still requires a certain degree of human management and oversight.
IoF2020 project was greatly represented during the Internet of Things week that took place in Euskalduna conference centre (Bilbao, Spain) on June 4-7, 2018. Gathering in total 900 participants, the event gave the occasion to enhance the visibility of the project itself as well as to meet project participants and exchange information. It was also the occasion to inform the IoT Week attendees about the official opening of the Open Call: The identified topics (new areas/use cases, new regions) were presented in detail. The various “Smart Farming & Food Security” sessions held on Tuesday 5th included 2 speakers coming from IoF2020. The speakers have presented the first results yielded by the use cases after 18 months of existence. Also, they invited every interested party to participate to the Open Call.
Zinc is a vital mineral for human health. It is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism, plays a role in immune function, supports normal growth, et cetera. Zinc deficiency is therefore detrimental for human well-being and can lead to growth retardation, loss of appetite, and an impaired immune function. Mild to moderate zinc deficiency is common worldwide and is therefore a public health issue (WHO).
Food waste is becoming a hot topic in the past years and it is easy to understand why, as it is a huge problem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, up to one third of all produced food is spoiled or squandered before it is consumed by people. This is an incredible amount, especially since we are living in a world where almost a billion people go to bed hungry at night. It is clear that new solutions to this problem are more welcome than ever before.
The effervescence of digitisation in the agri-food sector is spilling over to agricultural machinery. Let us recapitulate the innovations shown by industry stakeholders at previous European agricultural machinery fairs. Revealing at the very beginning of this article that most of them are based on IoT technologies, should not come as a surprise. The European Commission estimates 70 - 80% of new farm equipment is built with a precision farming component, relying on network devices.