Agricultural Tech Reloaded

MobileTECH 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand was a showcase and discussion forum for the adoption of smart technology in primary industries: agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. 300 attendees from a broad spread of primary sector organisations and technology companies spent two days discussing the application of all things sensor, wireless, and cloud.

I thought it worth summarising four major themes from my perspective.

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Four ways to make your farming app engaging

So you’ve decided to build a mobile app for your rural customers or users. You have spent time on the overall value proposition, deciding how your app will deliver enough value to your users that they will spend the requisite time – and money – to use your service. No doubt you’re also modelling the likely market penetration and adoption curves, because you want to make sure you can get a return for all the investment in software development, testing, and marketing.

You know that up to 20% of mobile apps are downloaded, used once, and then never touched again (perhaps uninstalled when the user runs out of space). How can you avoid your app ending up in that category? Better than that, can you provide an experience sufficiently valuable and engaging that users tell their friends?

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The next step in farmer-mediated data sharing

Agricultural data: who holds it, who is using it, and who “owns” or controls it has been recurring news worldwide, featuring in places as diverse as Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, the American Farm Bureau Federation, ABC Rural in Australia, and European Union projects.

A quick summary of the opinions expressed are that increasing use of

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Decision making in the face of El Niño

Seasonal weather forecasting is a tricky thing – forecasters don’t necessarily have a great track record. This year is interesting as international researchers and the Crown Research Institute NIWA have provided clear, early forecasts for a strong El Niño event. Rezare Systems’ Farm Systems Analyst Graeme Ogle explores the implications for farmers and tactics they should consider below.

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How shared data supports good agricultural practice and marketing

Agricultural supply chains have become increasingly complex and for those serving discerning markets, increasingly demanding. Product integrity, safety, and quality attributes are moving from being based on reassurances to evidence and audit.

In the past, a handshake, a solid conversation, a trusted voice on the phone would have provided the necessary

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How models can improve your farming decisions

Not many careers carry the same challenges of complexity as farming. Politics requires substantial adaptability. Consumer marketing and the share market both have challenges of trying to forecast what is erratic and volatile. Manufacturing requires controls over process and product quality. Farming combines all of these, and requires complex, multi-factor decisions that deal with climate and weather, market demand and pricing, as well as the sometimes-hidden feedback loops of biological systems.

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