The Internet of Things might not be a term familiar to everybody but it is one of the main drivers behind agtech.
Episode four of the AgTech Revolution documentary explores its usage.
KPMG director, digital agribusiness Michael White gives this explainer on what Internet of Things, otherwise known as IoT, actually is and how it is used.
"When I think about IoT in everyday life, most people, particularly in metropolitan areas, are using it without thinking about it, through smartphones and watches and equally through a variety of mechanisms people don't particularly think about, through traffic systems and getting around their day-to-day activities," he said.
Food Agility CRC chief scientist Prof David Lamb said IoT related to agriculture in a range of ways.
"Every machine is a thing, the parts of a machine or the yield coming off a crop is potentially a thing that needs to be measured," he said.
"Every animal on our livestock farm is a thing which can be measured and monitored.
"Farmers measure things because it helps them to understand the system today, or what it's going to be tomorrow, and it allows them to forecast, whether they be for making tactical decisions here and now or next month or next year. At the end of the day, data is power."
Agrifutures managing director John Harvey has seen first-hand how IoT helps farmers.
"I have a brother in the (Northern) Territory, a third of his life was driving around checking troughs to make sure there's water for the cattle," he said.
"With the Internet of Things, he put a camera on each of those troughs and he gets up in the morning and looks at these screens and he knows they've got water in them.
"That's a huge increase in productivity and, more importantly, it's a huge increase in lifestyle."
Deloitte partner and co-lead agrifood transformation and circularity Ben van Delden said IoT could give farmers confidence in their systems.
"It's the old adage, you can manage what you can measure," he said.
"If you're not measuring it, it's really difficult to manage it.
"Typically when I talk to adopters of agtech, it is the added confidence they have that enriches what was otherwise a gut feeling. Measuring gives you confidence."
INCYT founder Simon Blyth said IoT helped with farm management.
"IoT allows you to have this view of everything that's happening all the time, right in front of you, anywhere in the world," he said.
"That means you can make better decisions, you can control risk better. If you're running a small or large team of people you can start delegating in a way that's more effective."
AirborneLogic uses hyperspectral imagery and other data to assist farmers, private companies and government agencies in uncovering sustainable solutions to efficient resource use.
The company's drone-mounted hyperspectral and infra-red sensors give a unique perspective on crops, vegetation and infrastructure.
Managing director Andy Chambers said, particularly in the post-Covid world, proving sustainability credentials was more important than ever before.
"I've spent my entire career in sustainability consulting," he said.
"Having gone through cycles of greenwash, GFC, all those sorts of things where you would witness a trend and then it was uneconomic. Suddenly, post-Covid we saw this incredible change in people, saying 'hang on, I'm convinced, it's not an argument anymore. We've got problems at hand and we need to sort them'.
"So we need really clear data management and we need really clear empirical evidence to support that journey."
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