Agriculture is a major and essential Vertical Sector of the world economy facing the challenges of meeting the demands of a growing and increasing affluent world population. The Internet of Things (IoT) opens up new innovative possibilities for agriculture ranging from research, to deep changes in the technology and practice for most agricultural domains, to new business models for managing the cycle from growth to consumption. The emerging IoT platforms, and the promise they hold pose many issues in solving practical problems of deployment and adoption. These include aspects of science and technology, development of new infrastructure, organizational issues, policy and regulatory regimes, and sustainable business models that reliably meet the needs of society.
For each region, such as Tuscany, IoT solutions must also accommodate local traditions and social needs, and capitalize on the existing networks of knowledge, relationships, and the well developed supply chains that serve customers both locally and around the world. While the focus of the Summit is on Technology the context is the much broader set of issues that must be addressed to achieve the benefits that IoT may bring – improvements in quality and yield, greater productivity, efficiency in operations, overcoming variability in natural conditions, lowering costs, fewer losses in the distribution and merchandising of agricultural products, better serving the needs and tastes of consumers, and a sustainable and stable eco-system that supports the viability and attracts participation in the supply chain of agricultural products – from the farm to the table. The theme we have chosen for the Summit is “The Digital Revolution – Farming 4.0!” We have also selected specific Agricultural domains as a focus for the Summit. These are important to Tuscany, to Italian Agriculture, and address aspects of Agriculture practiced all over the globe. The domains briefly are: Viticulture, Orchards, Nurseries and Greenhouses; Cereal Crops, and Animal Husbandry.
On the Technology and Science front the areas of importance to IoT include complex multi-disciplinary systems such as: Wireless Sensor, Actuator, Monitoring and Control/Decision Networks; Unmanned Vehicles – including drones, tractors, quads, mechanical agriculture machinery, and for aquaculture submersibles and surface craft; adoption of Cloud, Mist, and Fog/Edge services; Big Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence; the use of common infrastructure for power, communications, mobility, computing and data storage; human interface devices for situational awareness, decision making, and command; and lastly the codification of agricultural science, domain knowledge, and practices for the many segments of the Agriculture Vertical, all to drive further digitization. While there have been many deployments of IoT in Agriculture, IoT is still in its early stages and we are very much on the learning curve – we are at a point in time where experimentation and sharing of knowledge are extremely important.
The Summit is aimed at covering the most relevant aspects related to “The Digital Revolution – Farming 4.0” with a focus on IoT in the Agriculture Vertical, concentrating on the five domains we have chosen. The goal of the Summit is to create a sustained dialog between the many constituencies that normally do not interact, but must, for IoT to be fully embraced and to further drive the acceptance and adoption of IoT.
Experts and leaders from agricultural enterprises, prominent industrial suppliers of a agricultural machinery and services, researchers and technologists, and some on the best thinkers about IoT will share their experiences and advanced ideas about the trajectory for IoT in agriculture. The Summit will offer the opportunity to discuss and analyze systems that can provide “intelligent and smart” goods, services, and processes to achieve the vision behind Farming 4.0 and the enabling role that IoT plays. During the Summit invited speakers will present case studies to explore deployed IoT solutions to identify the challenges to overcome and factors for success. The Summit will cover all the domains related to advances in the development and application of IoT in agriculture and related industries.