Can IoT provide agriculture with an annual bumper crop?

Can IoT provide agriculture with an annual bumper crop?1


Alvarez Technology Group is planning to double down on Internet of Things (IoT) deployment in the agriculture industry. Luis Alvarez, the CEO, spoke to The Channel Company at XChange 2016 about the developments and challenges.

In the world of agriculture, Alvarez claims the most important customer considerations are cost savings and operational efficiencies. In the next five years, the firm wants to reduce the head-count on farms, which has already declined enormously in the past 50 years, by half.

See Also: When will robots finally take farmers’ jobs?

At the same time, Alvarez customers want to see an 100 percent increase in yields from the same plants. IoT sensors for agriculture are able to plot more efficiently and reduce the amount of water and soil needed.

Data analytics is another area where Alvarez customers are intrigued, according to the CEO, “we brought in 20 or 25 agriculture leaders in our community and talked to them about data analytics, and in their survey form, almost every single one of them said I want to talk more about this.”

IoT sensors provide a wealth of data, but without analytics a person must surf through and find relevant info. Pushing that to a cloud analytics platform could “actionable intelligence” at a much faster rate, allowing farmers to recognize issues and fix them immediately.

A challenge for Alvarez in IoT is data security. Speaking to farmers, Alvarez noted that hardly any new the risks of IoT deployment and most were shocked at the possibility of a hacker holding their farm for ransom.

It’s not just the agriculture sector

It is not just IoT agriculture that suffers from a lack of security, consumer and enterprise hardware both lack sufficient security systems. While some device manufacturers are improving, it may take a few years (and a few high profile attacks) before we really get serious about IoT security.

Standards are another challenge that Alvarez face, due to the multitude of competitors vying for platform dominance. In the consumer market, we have Works with Nest, HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa, but in the enterprise market its even more fragmented.

Despite the challenges, Alvarez is bullish on the agriculture market and plans to invest heavily into it. The CEO said that in the IoT market, companies should be committed to one sector, rather than creating a platform that works for all markets.

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