Turning Data into Decisions in AgriFood

Event date: 
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Event venue: 
Central London, United Kingdom
Event description: 

Harnessing the power of Big Data to generate new insights, practices and products is one of the key priorities of today's AgriFood supply chain. Numerous sensors and connected devices are deployed to help AgriFood companies to collect data related to production, processing, and distribution of AgriFood products, referred to as Internet of Things (IoT). Software applications with machine learning are required to collect, analyse, and integrate data, connect devices and guide decision making within the AgriFood supply chain. Data can help farmers to optimise inputs and adjust crops and land management regimes depending on many variable conditions between the fields, crop varieties, and climatic conditions. Data can also help suppliers of crop protection products to produce more accurate recommendations, or to gather evidence on their efficacy with more precision, reducing their use and environmental impact.

For example, growers integrate agronomic, environmental and operational data to ensure the correct supply of fresh produce to customers on a daily basis. In another example, IBM and Mars collaborate to use big data to improve food safety, by developing an index of foodborne diseases, which can in future be used to understand what triggers contamination and the spread of foodborne diseases and minimize the risk. Data can also be used to analyse shopping habits of millions of consumers, and help suppliers to develop an effective marketing strategy, based on purchasing patterns and demographic breakdowns.

There are a number of challenges in using data in the AgriFood sector. From data availability, to data exchange and interoperability between different data sets. Standardisation of data acquisition and analysis will help to integrate different data sets and create more value. Turning data into decisions is the key for harnessing the power of data. The event will focus on key needs of the AgriFood sector in using data, discuss the existing barriers, and present a number of potential solutions and joint initiatives.

The event is likely to attract a lot of interest due to the fact that the issue of turning data into decisions is affecting all sectors in the AgriFood supply chain, as well as regulators. There is a considerable body of knowledge and tools available on use of data in agriculture, but a disruptive innovation is needed to make a better use of these knowledge and tools. More data exchange for collaboration and business process control in the chain is necessary in order to combine data and create more value. There is a demand for common pool investments into data sharing platforms, data standards, and infrastructure.

The event will cover the following themes

  • Why we need data and how to make them meaningful
  • Examples of data collected from sensors and connected devices, and software applications for data analysis and integration
  • Data analysis, integration, role of machine learning and power computing
  • Data modelling e.g. for use in financial models and models related to the environment and climate
  • Using data for decision making. e.g. development of software for customer interface, and integrating data with agrifood practice
  • Data sharing platforms and standards
  • Governance around data ownership, privacy, and security