Upon returning from the largest Latin American agro expo, Agrishow 2018, I spent some time rationalising about what I saw there and where it could help me get in the future.
The quantity of data being made available is mesmerising, and frankly useless to a point - too much data is like too many options, it simply does not help. All the companies are coming up with ways and solutions to deliver more to the customer - but I"m not sure customer wants simply more or need more, again too much is simply too much.
I also noticed many companies trying to deliver its own solutions to its own "brand" of equipment. Operations are often multibranded, that"s the nature of the business - Case"s, John Deere"s, Agco"s, etc, they all have to live under one roof - and the mission of intercommunicating them become our most feared task, or a prompt failure.
Data is good, I love data, but data has to become information - and a useful one - in order to help. Data is becoming cheaper to acquire and process - but we need to digest and transform into something useful and easy to handle. The Pareto principle has to be observed and applied, focus where we could get most of the operations and carefully dive into the nitty gritty details is a good plan to move forward with smaller bumps on the way.
Here a couple of good directions, in my opinion, that could help my decision making on Agri Big Data - ABD:
1. Fuel consumption - all the algorithms that could help organize, direct and efficiently use equipment in the field could bring significant savings in time and fuel - but again software"s must be able to talk and manage multi-branded equipment - and algorithm must be capable of mimicking human best decisions and adding on top of that;
2. Improve equipment use - thus reducing the need of equipment per hectare of operations - I was presented with a data that combines are only "useful" roughly 50% of the running time - pretty darn bad index, number 1 guide should cover both;
3. Reduce the operator work load - I sat on a tractor cabin that had at least 40 buttons and three displays - again too much data is bad. My dream would be one button solves all kind of decisions - but we are kind of far from there yet - but I see some manufactures trying to reduce the operator work load - that is very useful and will bring efficiency to the operations;
4. Data connectivity and availability - all the data be extracted "on the fly" for online decision making could help normalize the results across the operation - but that needs to be across my equipment brands, also data must be delivered as information (algorithms);
5. Easy to fix in the field;
6. Cheap, well, reasonable cost - I been offered solutions that would like crop sharing - although I love crop sharing concepts, they need to share also the risks of failure - like in a marriage - in the good and bad times;
....and these are only for the mechanical operations in the field - we did not start to discuss the crop care/production portion of the ABD.
The industry has come a long way and the next couple years will be pretty exciting - downsizing or "efficient sizing" will likely become the word of the future - energy expenditures in the operation, both intellectual and natural resourced, must be looked into and rationalised.
Cheers for the Agri Big Data - ABD.
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