13 October 2014

Software Defined - Agriculture

Already today we're witnessing several cases where drones and filed robots are adopted in agriculture, just like another "tool". In the future, robots and drone will look like SDN nodes or even better like any other low cost Consumer electronic devices. In fact, the availability of cheap and easy to use robots and drones is largely due to the remarkable advances in technology: tiny sensors (accelerometers, gyros, magnetometers, and often pressure sensors), small GPS modules, powerful processors, radio communications.

These devices will transform in an unprecedented way the job and working skills, introducing changes that we haven't witnessed since the Agrarian era: agriculture will be transformed to robot-intensive, data-driven process optimizing the use of resources like water while reducing the pesticides needed so for a given effort, there will be a significant increase in the output using fewer resources.

My take is that tomorrow, drones and robots (made more intelligent and controlled through the network OS) will provide farmers with a lot of customised services, e.g. detailed views revealing patterns from irrigation problems to soil variation, pest and fungal infestations, differences between healthy and distressed plants. And this at any time the farmer may want, even every hour.

These changes will be complemented with other changes that will eventually transform a muddy, low-skilled profession to a high-tech research-lab level activity. Again the agricultural production and distribution processes will be mapped in huge data sets, employing big data analytics to make optimal decisions, to save time, resources and money. And the environment will be less-polluted. 

Fragmentation and lack of collaboration between Communities and Research Groups (e.g., IT/Cloud Experts, Network Engineers, Robotics Experts, etc) is delaying this unavoidable transformation, which will be beneficial for the Digital Society and Economy. Let's join effort around this vision !