expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
soil sensor. Pest management platform. Irrigation monitor. satellite imagery. labor management. Yield forecast tool. File Sharing. Even social media management. As agricultural technology has proliferated over the past decade, the technology stack of the modern farm has become dizzying. It’s a growing challenge for farmers who are responsible for growing crops and managing all this IT.
In general, these tools do not communicate with each other. Platform incompatibility, information silos. indeed, a study It was found that 86% of agtech platforms failed to effectively share and analyze the data obtained.
All of these technologies are missing what makes our phones work seamlessly. The same tools can turn a computer from an esoteric machine into a device anyone can use with a few clicks. In other words, agriculture desperately needs an operating system.
industry analyst No attempt has been made to count agricultural technology tools over the years, but arguably the modern farmer has thousands of technologies at their disposal. And, these technologies are increasingly becoming bets, not bells and whistles.
Extreme weather has made agriculture increasingly unpredictable and risky. With supply chain gaps and inflation, input prices have skyrocketed.More than ever, growers must find efficiencies to expand their resources and save time, while at the same time meet the pressure from regulators and food retailers to justify their actions.
That’s the promise of many agtech companies today: Do more with less. But with so much on their plate, farmers need streamlined, user-friendly and integrated technology – and the farm’s operating system can help.
Related: What’s Most Important When Choosing Smart Farming Technologies
So what is an Operating System (OS)?
On the technical side, a operating system It is software that “schedules tasks, allocates storage space and presents a default interface to the user”. Familiar examples include Microsoft Windows, Google Android, and Apple’s iOS—without these technologies running in the background, other apps won’t work.
But what we need for agriculture is more conceptual. We are missing a central hub – a place to pool data and coordinate digital tools. After all, that’s what iOS does for iPhone users.Have 3.6 million different apps Apple users can use it seamlessly on the phone, which would not have been possible without the iPhone’s operating system. iOS is a key intermediary between users and hardware, providing a common framework for communication and data sharing.
Consider the iPhone Health app: it can collect data from any app the user chooses to track things like sleep quality, heart rate, and miles walked throughout the day. It consolidates this information and provides a simplified interface that presents powerful new insights.
This data sharing, availability and compatibility between software and hardware is thanks to the operating system — the kind of integration that agtech desperately needs.
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What it would look like to start a farm OS
Now, farmers are spoiled with all kinds of apps and devices. But for these tools to reach their full potential, a foundation is needed.
For users, the ideal farm operating system would be a one-stop shop for collecting and displaying farm vitals—from temperature to humidity levels and pest counts, and even labor and equipment availability. Equally important, the operating system will help farmers categorize decisions, providing data-backed insights on what to do and when.
Finally, the Farm Operating System will provide farmers with a unified interface to deploy their technology, from remotely activating irrigation and pest control to autonomous tractors.
Under the hood, what makes this system so effective is the collection and sharing of data. A common operating system on the farm could also enable more connectivity between data sources such as labor, equipment, and yield, and it could also accelerate the development of new applications.
In agriculture, data is power.However, while vast amounts of data are collected on farms every day, they are often isolated in a specific application, and Not integrated with other programs Gather supplementary information.
For example, growers can use drones to capture data from their fields, but there may be no bridges to turn visual data into actionable application recommendations. It’s up to farmers to analyze, derive insights and find solutions – increasing their workload. The farm’s operating system will allow these technologies to work together and communicate their data, giving farmers the answers they need.
Related: Key agtech trends predicted for 2022
So how do we get there?
If the case for a centralized farm operating system seems clear-cut, the reality of building one is more complicated.
First, we start to see proprietary End-to-end crop and farm management platform Committed to integrating multiple agricultural technologies into one hub. However, the problem is precisely this: these platforms are proprietary. Often, they only integrate a narrow range of technologies and tools. On a deeper level, some proprietary platforms drive the sale of chemical inputs rather than prioritizing the best interests of farmers.
A better approach is a purpose-built farm operating system by an independent agritech company. The ideal platform is compatible with various tools. It should provide cutting-edge analysis, but give farmers a space for neutrality and impartiality. In the end, a true farm operating system needs to be powerful enough to accommodate new technologies, yet simple enough for anyone to use.
Granted, this is easier said than done. But done right, these systems can become so invaluable that they are almost ignored.
Clearly, this approach has the potential to transform agriculture. During such uncertain times for farmers, the integrated operating system puts growers back in the driver’s seat, allowing them to better understand and control their results.
A robust operating system will open a new chapter in farming, thereby increasing farmer profitability and environmental sustainability. It’s time to build a foundation for agtech and put power back where it belongs – in the hands of land managers. Start with farm operating systems.