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New Agriculture and ICT Convergence

(Jungfrau, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

Smart Farms: Silicon Valley meets Central Valley



-The Future of Farming

Modern agriculture aims to produce high-quality food and animal feed with sufficient quantities of raw materials for various industrial applications. Further goals include protecting resources and protecting the environment. Given current developments from molecules to ecosystems (contemporary crop stress research), to successfully address these challenges, scientists must understand all aspects of environmental stress. 

Emerging agricultural technologies provide farmers with the means to respond to crop stress in an accurate and targeted manner and are expected to play an important role in improving agricultural efficiency, sustainability and quality.


- New Agriculture and ICT Convergence 

Digital technologies, from GPS-based and sensor-driven work machines, drone applications to robotics, agriculture is becoming a digital industry. Digital technologies can support farmers in providing safe, sustainable and high-quality food. Not only can they help farmers "do more with less", but they can also contribute to combating climate change. 

Existing and new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotics and big data can help improve process efficiency and help create new products and services. Digitization can also play a role in improving lives in rural areas.


- Smart Agriculture

There are many ways to bring technology into farming, but when we use IoT in farming, it is called smart farming. Environmental and machine metrics are collected using sensors to provide them to farmers to make informed decisions to improve every aspect of their jobs, whether livestock or crop farming. The ultimate goal is to increase the quality and quantity of crops while reducing waste and optimizing the use of human resources.


- Digital Twin and Smart Farming

Modern agricultural production is impossible without reliable and up-to-date information on farm operations. Farms are increasingly relying on digital technologies such as sensing and monitoring equipment, advanced analytics and smart devices. Driven by the rapid development of technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things, big data, machine learning, augmented reality and robotics, agricultural production is rapidly shifting to smart agricultural systems. 

Smart farming can be seen as the next stage of precision farming, where management tasks are based not only on precise location data, but also on contextual data, situational awareness, and event triggering. 

A smart farming system can be viewed as a cyber-physical control loop that seamlessly integrates sensing and monitoring of all relevant farm processes, intelligent analysis and planning, and intelligent control of farm operations (“whole farm management perspective”). 

In a smart farming system, farmers can remotely monitor and control operations based on (near) real-time digital information, rather than direct observation and manual tasks in the field. 

Therefore, farmers are automatically notified if there is a problem or any problems are expected to arise. From behind a desk or smartphone, they can check on the scene or the stable by viewing rich digital images of plants, animals or machines. At the same time, machine learning algorithms enhance the digital view with object-specific analysis and recommendations. 

Farmers can simulate corrective and preventive actions and assess their impact on the digital representation. Finally, selected interventions can be performed remotely, and farmers can again use the digital view to verify that (expected) problems are resolved. It can also be expected that this smart farm management cycle will become increasingly autonomous, eliminating the need for human intervention from farmers. 

In conclusion, you can say that every object in the farm (eg crops, fields, cows, equipment) is virtualized and can be increasingly controlled remotely. The digital twin is an appealing metaphor to describe this development.


- Possible Research Topics

- More Information on New Agriculture


[MIT]: The Open Agriculture intiative (OpenAg) - Farming for the Future - An open source ecosystem of food technologies to create healthier, more engaging and more inventive food systems. Grow local, from anywhere.


[More to come ...]

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