“This extra-virgin olive oil is a fake!”
I recently came across an interesting article by Amy Webb on how Internet of X will change our lives as we know them now. Essentially, Webb’s theory is that soon, we’ll be able to analyze any product we consume or use – ranging from the chicken in our meal to the multi-vitamin we take – thereby giving us enough information to make informed choices.
The technology for doing most of it exists today – the sensors, spectrometers and gateways, in addition to big data and advanced analytics tools needed. However, someone has to securely store the massive amount of data that can potentially generated, and host advanced search technologies to query the data – question is, who will be paying for that?
Some of it can be paid for by product companies – an example Webb provides is researching the seasoning on your french fries at the restaurant to buy the seasoning to use at home. The seasoning manufacturer would be happy to provide the information in order to grow their sales – but that may not cover the expenses for hosting, access and security.
This brings to mind what we (I work for Harman Connected Services) are doing with a large agricultural company, as well as a different foray into precision farming with a large telecom company.
In the first instance, from a crop grower technology perspective, we are working with measuring the NPK (Nitrogen, Phospate, Potassium) levels – which is one of the biggest focus area of nutrition management of crops.
Nutrition Management broadly addresses 3 areas:
- For the grower the cost of nutrition – Optimizing the spend on fertilizer, ensuring that just the needed amount of nutrition is purchased and applied.
- For the grower ensuring the the crop gets the required amount of nutrition. The need varies based on growth stage of the crop as well as external factors such as temperature, humidity, soil quality etc.
- From the regulatory authority perspective ensuring that seepage of nitrate from fields into neighboring lands (could be an organic field etc.) or water bodies is minimal.
The technologies used are available today – IoT sensors, big data, analytics – but stretching that to Webb’s example is easy. If the data of the food source data (similar to what is collected by us above) was made available by the grower, you could potentially see where your spinach was grown, and how much fertilizer was used to grow it. You could also see if there were any sustainable agriculture practices followed…the list goes on…
All this is very exciting, and businesses will eventually find a way to monetize the data so that it can be made available to the general public securely…just don’t carry a fake Gucci bag to your next cocktail party!