Author: Christine Horton

Christine writes about technology’s impact on business, and is a long-term contributor to specialist IT titles including Channel Pro and Microscope. She also writes for Raconteur and is regularly featured in The Times and Sunday Times.

NEC has updated its agricultural ICT platform, CropScope, that it says helps resolve challenging farming issues. CropScope, which NEC has been operating with Kagome since April 2020, uses sensors and satellite photographs to visualise the growth status of tomatoes and the condition of soils. It also offers a service that provides farming advice using artificial intelligence (AI). The AI uses knowledge from cultivators to provide guidance on things like the optimum amount of water, fertiliser and the best time to apply them. This enables tomato producers, regardless of skill level, to stabilise their harvests and reduce cultivation costs, while implementing…

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Hungary’s Széchenyi István University and Spanish IoT specialist Libelium have developed Hungary’s first smart agriculture laboratory. Funded by the European Union and the Hungarian Government, the Field Monitoring Laboratory is situated in Mosonmagyaróvár, in western Hungary, and covers more than 400 hectares of land, making it one of the largest ‘smart farms’ in Europe. In Hungary, agriculture accounts for 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP and plays an important role in rural development. In 2018, Hungary produced 7.9 million tons of corn, making it the 15th largest producer in the world. However, climate challenges and variations in soil quality mean that…

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Headquartered in Zaragoza, in north-eastern Spain, Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Libelium is making waves in the world of smart agriculture. Founded in 2006 by Alicia Asín Pérez, the company’s solutions seek to monitor and improve the efficiency of everything from agricultural crops to water quality management around the world. Libelium’s technology is even currently being used above the tomb of Tutankhamun to collect climatic data – relative humidity, temperature – and measure fracture aperture behaviour above the tomb. Focused on using digital technology for environmental and sustainability purposes, Alicia Asín became the first Spanish woman to win the National…

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Satellite-controlled pumps and machinery bring next level monitoring of water supplies to rural farms across Australia Australian farmers will be able to manage water storage and supplies in real time thanks to a new service being rolled out that combines mobile satellite technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). The service will be provided by satellite provider Inmarsat, IoT vendor to the agricultural industry Farmbot Monitoring Solutions (Farmbot), and Pivotel, an Australian supplier of mobile satellite services. The agreement follows Australia’s driest year on record in 2019. It will enable farmers anywhere in Australia to remotely monitor water tanks, dams and…

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Nine UK companies receive £24 million package from the Government to establish a more efficient system of food production A project in Nottingham that converts carbon dioxide into clean animal feed is one of nine pioneering agricultural technology projects set to benefit from £24 million of government funding. Nottingham-based consortium REACT-FIRST will receive more than £2 million to generate clean, sustainable food for fish and poultry with an up to 75 percent smaller carbon footprint. Led by Nottingham company Deep Branch Biotechnology, the project will use its technology to turn carbon dioxide from Drax Power’s Selby power station into animal…

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Norwegian seafood producers to use IBM blockchain technology for greater transparency and sustainability in seafood production IBM and Sjømatbedriftene, the Norwegian Seafood Association, have teamed with IT provider Atea on a new cross-industry collaboration to use blockchain technology to share supply chain data throughout Norway’s seafood industry. Their aim is to provide safer, better seafood to consumers worldwide, eliminate waste and combat mislabeling of supplies. Espen Braathe of IBM’s Food Trust Europe Executive tells Food & Farming Technology that farmed fish is facing a crisis of confidence. “Despite the many benefits of maintaining a sustainable food source, consumers are still…

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Firms are embracing automation to gain greater insight into consumer behaviour, improve supply chain efficiency and reduce overheads More than ever, businesses are embracing automation. As food and retail businesses prepare to open their doors once again to the public, a growing number of firms are looking to robotics to provide an expanded range of services. Indeed, a recent survey carried out by Internet of Things (IoT) company Pod Group shows that almost three-quarters of business leaders in the UK expect the pandemic to spark a new wave of automation in the workplace. The most popular applications they envisage include…

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Are these the droids you’re looking for? Starship’s robot fleet expands its delivery services as UK stays home With most of us confined to our homes to help contain COVID-19, the topic of food delivery services – and the current overwhelming demand for them – has taken centre stage. But while many of us struggle to secure a supermarket delivery slot, many restaurants and cafes, which have been forced to close their doors to dine-in guests, are viewing delivery services as a potential lifeline for their business. One company that is taking food delivery to another level is Starship Technologies, which…

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UK firm says cold chain IoT platform extends shelf life and increases the supply of perishable foods for consumption A UK company is claiming it has developed an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that can help in the fight against global hunger. Milton Keynes-based IMS Evolve has developed tech for the ‘cold chain’ – commercial fridge and freezers – which collects and manages huge volumes of data generated across the network. This data, it says, then enables retailers to optimise their processes to significantly extend shelf life and increase the supply of perishable foods for consumption. “The US Department of Agriculture reports…

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As customers demand greater assurance about the products they buy, more food producers are turning to blockchain technology to provide detailed supply chain information Transparency and traceability have never been more important to consumers when it comes to food. At the same time, farmers, producers and retailers are under pressure to minimise waste and ensure food safety and freshness – while looking to unlock supply chain efficiencies and boost the bottom line. The good news is there have been huge technological advances in this area within the last couple of years. One of the most notable developments has been IBM’s…

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