Smart farming must step up to the plate to meet global challenge, says Beecham Research

Saverio Romeo, principal analyst at Beecham Research

The development of smart farming and precision agriculture must accelerate rapidly and learn lessons from smart city projects if it is to meet the challenge set by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, which has stated: “The way farmers produce their food must radically change in order to feed the growing world population in the future.”

In a report to be published in November, Beecham Research will look at this challenge and also highlight the importance of harnessing new technologies to address climate change and help optimise the use of energy and natural resources.

“The challenges for farming and the food supply chain are daunting,” said Saverio Romeo, principal analyst at Beecham Research, who will be chairing a panel session on smart farming at the World Agri-Tech Investment Summit, in London.

“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts that in order to keep pace with population growth, food production must increase by 70% by 2050; but also estimates that agriculture worldwide is currently responsible for a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions and for using some 70% of the world’s fresh water.”

Despite a growing level of exciting research and new smart farming projects, Romeo says that emerging Machine to Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have been slow to be adopted in agriculture compared to other industries. “The reasons for this are primarily cost – only large farms can afford the investment and the industry is, by nature, conservative,” said Romeo.

While governments around the world are stimulating adoption of new technologies through subsidies and projects, more needs to be done to support smaller farms. There also needs to be a shared vision by all stakeholders along with their governments and policy makers to bring together the needs of agriculture with business opportunities.”

Precision agriculture or smart farming makes use of GPS services, M2M/IoT technologies, sensors and big data to optimise crop yields. Decision support systems, backed up by data – including weather conditions and forecasts, machine status, crop information and animal health – can provide real time information at a level of granularity not previously possible.

The Beecham Research Report will identify some of the main activities where smart farming will have the most impact including: fleet management, arable farming, livestock monitoring, indoor farming, fish farming, forestry, storage and water monitoring.

But post-harvest, Beecham Research also sees sensor-based technologies and decision support systems playing another vital role in the post-farm gate supply chain. Applications include the detection of food fraud, identifying and dealing with bacterial and other contamination, mitigating spoilage and food waste, and meeting the growing need for traceability from farm to the consumer.

“Farming and the supply chain, in all its forms, must embrace the smart vision if we are to feed the growing population and address climate change and environmental issues,” said Dr Therese Cory, senior analyst at Beecham Research. “This means involving multiple stakeholders ranging from big business, finance and government through engineering, machinery and chemical companies, to food retailers, industry associations and suppliers of specialist expertise.”

While smart farming is still in its infancy and currently lags behind smart cities and other smart industries, the benefit is that we can learn lessons from other large scale ‘smart’ project rollouts, such as smart metering projects. “We have no choice but to invest in the use of precision agriculture and smart farming because of the urgency of the problems the world faces,” concluded Dr Cory. “This means that despite a slow start, future growth in this area will be huge in comparison to other industries where M2M and IoT are already established.”

A summary of the Beecham Research Smart Farming report will be published at World Agri-Tech Investment Summit on 2-3 November in London, which will bring together leading investors, corporates and technology start-ups from the agri-tech industry to showcase innovative solutions, share ideas and forge new partnerships.

Saverio Romeo is chairing a panel on day two on ‘Identifying the Next Big Horizon for IoT and the Automated Farm’. Speakers will include: Jeff Keiser, vice president, ITERIS; Thomas Engel, manager Technology Innovation Strategy, John Deere. Adam Armer, IoT Business Development and Innovation manager, Vodafone IoT, David Wright, CTO, I-CUBED; and Niall Mottram, head of Product Development, Industrial & Energy, Cambridge Consultants.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow


Aeris to acquire IoT business from Ericsson

Posted on: December 8, 2022

Ericsson and Aeris Communications, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions based in San Jose, California, have signed an agreement for the transfer of Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator and Connected Vehicle Cloud businesses.

Read more

Telenor IoT passes milestone of 20mn SIM cards

Posted on: December 8, 2022

Telenor, the global IoT provider and telecom operator, has experienced rapid growth over the last years and ranks among the top 3 IoT operators in Europe and among the top IoT operators in the world. The positive development is due to an accelerated pace of new customers combined with a successful growth of existing customers’

Read more

The IoT Adoption Boom – Everything You Need to Know

Posted on: September 28, 2022

In an age when we seem to go through technology boom after technology boom, it’s hard to imagine one sticking out. However, IoT adoption, or the Internet of Things adoption, is leading the charge to dominate the next decade’s discussion around business IT. Below, we’ll discuss the current boom, what’s driving it, where it’s going,

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more