5G enables AgriTech, and here are some “outlandish” ideas for shipping Projects around this
5G is just getting started and agriculture is one of the main industries we should target for creating incremental value
Let me get straight to the point and share what this would look like in one such use case shared by Amdocs (credits for example below).
7:01am: A drone is sent to scan an apple orchard using high-fidelity 4K images
7:02am: Tens of Gigabits of 4K resolution drone images were translated over a 5G private-enterprise network (PEN) to an edge server for analysis
7:03am: The edge server stitches and compresses the images and sends them over T-mobile’s public network to Microsoft Azure Cloud for analysis
7:04am: Images are processed in near real-time on the Microsoft Azure Cloud , using advanced algorithms and machine learning by a startup called Innovate -
7:05am: The farmer receives a robust set of real-time, actionable insights on the orchard — like irrigation, fertilisation, pesticide, crop density and more
- increase in crop yields
- significant reduction in water usage to the tune of 40–50%
- better visibility as to where water should be applied
- helping the community invest elsewhere and thus improving lives by augmenting livelihood options
A process that used to take days is now possible in minutes. Secondly, this can help reduce use of pesticides by upto 90% by narrowing the target area of spraying through the drones and 5G combination. Finally, it promotes multidisciplinary exploration which enhances prospects for innovation. Apart from 5G capabilities, we are looking at people with an agricultural background interacting with folks from the aviation and drone sector. When disparate ideas come together in discussions, you hear about novel ideas more often.
Using that as a segue, I shall try connecting the dots here with my last article which was about lessons I took away from Seth Godin in shipping a project. Let us face it, not everything can be connected with everything else. While I emphasise that connecting concepts together is needed for skill development, breakthrough innovation, building empathy, better resourcefulness, problem solving and many more things — the constraint remains that not everything has scope to be retrofitted anywhere. Out of the three points mentioned in my previous article, only one aspect seemed to be worth exploring here.
Optimise Core Function
So what is our north star when building such a project?
- Is it minimising pesticides — as that is tied with organizational ESG, and sustainability goals? That in turn could be tied in with branding which could also be connected to certain endorsements that are core to a flourishing business and may perhaps link to the core strategy for the firm.
- Is it minimising cost as this may just be a pilot? Which also means that ROI must be shown to be fairly high for further investments and so the lowest possible cost means a good denominator to work with when looking the return metric. In this case the firm may also want to look for partners to share cost. The question of “what could that possibly look like?” then opens up all sorts of new possibilities.
- Is it optimising for lack of water? This may make a lot of sense in regions where there is lack of clean water and irrigation facilities.
Doing such projects in various parts of the world and in various conditions optimising for different KPIs then gives strategy makers options to pull all sorts of levers once innovation across all these parameters come through. The sum of the parts of these individuals projects becomes a lot more than the combination of their individual values.
Dishing Them Ludicrous Ideas
- What is we could implement A/B testing of various places where crops grow (applying software development methods to agriculture)? This could potentially open up the possibility for charging more for produce from one area of the field. We are segmenting product at the level of the field. It would not only be pricing that could be differentiated.
- Pests and animals pose problems for farms. How might we detect animals with real-time data through sensors and guiding them harmlessly via holograms and visualisations to prevent damage? Also so that they are not being driven away from their natural habitats either. 5G combined with XR (VR/AR) could provide a probable answer.
- Could there be wind sensors and stronger sunlight sensors (cloud cover impacts sunlight) that could help detect changes from afar and relay messages? The intent is to harness the extra wind and sunlight intensities through engineered toggle mechanisms for them.
That is all for this article folks. I shall continue to connect concepts in the hope of providing food for thought, innovation ideas, and conversation starters. I hope that was fruitful. I haven’t forgotten about humor and jokes — just give me time till some of the next ones after which I am hoping it will be a regular feature within my articles.