Concepts are often long in gestation from their initial exposure and where initial promises exceed the capability, confidence wanes and the incentive to adopt diminishes or disappears altogether. In many ways, this would appear to be the situation with the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). Expounded as a concept way back in 1998 through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), its initial claims and expectations of object tagging and connectivity through radio frequency identification (RFID) were quickly shown to be overstated.
Despite a decade or so of money spent on European and National projects, it is only now that the true potential of that concept is beginning to be realised, assisted by the growing commercial interests and stimulated by rapid developments the IoT-supporting technologies, including wireless sensing and wireless networks, connectivity, telecommunications and the onset of 5G, embedded sensing and actuation devices, data acquisition platforms (static and mobile ground based systems, aerial and satellite systems) big-data processing and Internet-based (Cloud computing) services and artificial intelligence. But, the IoT is not just about connecting technologies, its strength is in uniting those technologies through appropriate principles and connectivity standards to achieve a global network that offers, among other benefits, economic and production gains. The facility is there for agriculture and its associated disciplines to define an Internet of Agricultural Things that can serve as platform for individual business development through to an international platform for trade developments and for tackling the excessive challenges of food security and planetary boundary factors that are now being seen to impact severely on the future for agriculture and the planet. This event seeks to present and discuss how the IoT developments relate to agriculture in these ways and where the economic and productivity gains can be derived.
The event is open to anyone who has an interest, commercial, research or otherwise in the advancement of agriculture and associated disciplines and their roles in meeting the significant challenges presented by primary food production, food security demands and implications concerning the environment. A diverse set of audience interests and representation will add to potential that the SIG has to offer, so farmers, suppliers, product developers, food providers, policy makers, researchers, ….and politicians are included in the myriad of stakeholders, of all ages, that would be welcome. This event moves on from the April ‘springboard’ event, with the focus very much on what the IoT has to offer and how network features may be developed to better serve agricultural and challenge needs.