How IoT can help solve global food crisis...
Experts from Gartner Inc. predict that over half of new businesses will rely on the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020.
We now have access to technologies that simplify every aspect of daily life from turning on the lights to controlling the temperature of a building. However, IoT has brought about innovative technologies that have the potential to do more than just provide conveniences. Companies are beginning to incorporate IoT based technologies in order to address more significant problems such as feeding the global population.
Every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets spoiled or lost resulting in losses of $680 billion in developed countries and $310 billion in developing countries. Malnutrition causes 45 percent of deaths in children under five years old, which amounts to 3.1 million each year. Researchers all over the world are working to find solutions to the food crisis using IoT.
The adaption of IoT based technologies in the food industry is improving the supply chain, and thus is reducing the amount of food waste. Real-time data processing, self-learning shelf life prediction and the ability to analyze the complete supply chain have all been made possible by IoT. IoT integrated systems can also be used for monitoring and providing information. This information includes the raw materials that were used as well as what the end product itself was. Efficient supply chains ensure that food can be tracked to prevent it from being lost or going bad.
Several companies have made significant efforts to provide solutions that are applicable to food production. TAG BOX is an IoT automation and analytics company that identifies product damages that occurred as a result of mishandling and transit shock. The company’s goal is to reduce food waste by maintaining increased cold chain quality, ensuring end-to-end traceability of stock and eliminating inefficiencies that lead to delays and breakdowns. Abbaco Controls is another company using IoT technologies to increase food production. They used IoT technologies from Intel and Kontron to deploy a water management system in Malaysia to increase rice production. The IoT-based irrigation system decentralizes water gates so farmers can control water supplies to their fields. The system also uses comprehensive analysis of sensor data to make real-time watering decisions.
While this technology is promising, the food industry as a whole is being held back as we are lacking economic incentives to trigger partnerships between technology and agriculture. Another challenge to consider is the difficulty of reaching rural farmers that have less access to broadband, proper technology training and decreased data analysis capabilities. The CEO of Zest Labs, Peter Mehring, stated, “There is much to do in this area, because we’re still seeing 30 percent to 40 percent food waste levels post harvest, and half of this waste is occurring before food even gets to consumers”. However, as the challenges facing food production become better understood, we move closer to solving the fundamental problem of how we feed the world.
At SURE Universal, we have designed a software defined IoT platform that may one day be used to solve some of the most significant challenges facing the global population.