Digital technologies converging on primary sector at MobileTECH 2018

Lidar at MobileTech
Forestry lidar image at MobileTECH 2018

Red meat sector people looking to keep up with the latest new digital technology need to be in Rotorua next March for MobileTECH 2018.

Every year MobileTECH brings together over 300 technology leaders, developers, early adopters and major industry operators from throughout the primary sector. Now in its sixth year, new technologies and innovations have always been the focus for this agritech event.  It runs over two days and has always buzzed with activity.  MobileTECH is a major cross-sector event, where technology leaders meet and exchange ideas from across the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors, both from within and from outside New Zealand.

The theme for next year’s MobileTECH 2018 event is “Innovation through Smart Data”.

In the past, innovations in hardware, equipment and machines were the main productivity drivers. Now business data and decision-making software are the catalysts for completely new technologies and growth in the primary sector.

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and automation are creating new opportunities for the primary industry. Machine learning, where computer programmes access data and use it to learn for themselves, can take petabytes of satellite imaging data and figure out how healthy crops are from space.  Pest control companies are developing artificial intelligence based image-recognition technology to automatically identify and treat pest problems. The forest industry is also looking to use machine learning to better measure and manage their plantations.

Data, and access to it, is key in realising this potential.

In New Zealand over the last two years, Spark, Vodafone and other tech providers have been rolling out networks to utilise the Internet of Things for farms and orchards across the country.  Fonterra and LIC have also launched a major new platform, called Agrigate, which aims to combine all the key data farmers need into an easy to use online dashboard.

A recent PwC’s ‘Commercialising Innovation Report’ shows that artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are the most advanced of the emerging technologies in New Zealand and some Kiwi companies are already banking the returns. PwC predicts that AI will boost the global economy by US$15.7 trillion by 2030. The New Zealand IoT Alliance, in their ‘Accelerating a Connected New Zealand report’, estimates the economic benefit of IoT in NZ dairy farming is $448 million and another $72 million for horticulture.

While we are generating more data than ever before, we are also only just scraping the surface on just how we can use the data to make smarter business decisions at the right time.

“These new digital technologies and the use of them in a range of practical applications, will be the big talking points at MobileTECH 2018,” says Ken Wilson, MobileTECH’s programme manager.

“We are currently developing the programme for MobileTECH 2018.  We’ve already received a huge amount of interest from industry, researchers, tech developers and some of the early adopters of new technology, for next year’s event,” says Wilson. “It is always exciting to bring together the country’s industry and technology leaders to discuss technologies that are currently driving the future of the primary sector.”

MobileTECH 2018 will be running on 27-28 March 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.

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