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How FIWARE is Supporting Agribusiness to Grow (II)

 Blog, SmartAgri  Comments Off on How FIWARE is Supporting Agribusiness to Grow (II)
Feb 112016
 
agriculture

It is exciting to see all the work being undertaken by startups using the FIWARE platform to disrupt the agribusiness industry and harness technology as an enabler for reorganizing our food systems, from the farm to the plate and to our waste disposal processes.

There is perhaps no more vital area where we need to be working. We have previously talked about some of the amazing work being done top ensure we have a food supply for our expanding population. Hostabee, for example, looks at one of the most hidden but essential parts of our food system: bee health. Without bees, much of the diversity in our food supply would vanish almost overnight: many fruits, avocados, and onions rely on bees for pollination, so without a bee population, our diets would lose a lot of nutritional potential.

But there are other great inefficiencies in our current agricultural and food supply systems. From high water usage in our agriculture systems, which must be more rationally managed in the future to compete with other water needs, to growing pest risks. We often focus on the inefficiencies of the production and distribution components of our food systems.

There are also opportunities to improve how we consume and manage food waste. In part one of our look at how FIWARE is being adopted by agribusinesses, we looked at FIWARE’s use amongst businesses that are targeting food production and the transport and distribution of our food to our urban centres.

In part one, we looked at how FIWARE is supporting agribusiness toi more sustainably farm and distribute our food. Now let’s look at some of the projects that address how FIWARE is supporting our food consumption and food waste management.

Food consumption

QIFresh: While Greek startup QIFresh could also be considered a food distribution agribusiness, its main goal is to ensure healthy consumption of our foods by tracking and managing the quality of our food stuffs from supplier to retailer and into the home or restaurant. Using the FIWARE platform and generic enabler tools, QIFresh helps speed up and manage food and produce inspections and reduce errors, ensuring a higher level of safety for our food consumption.

Turn2bio: Turn2bio makes it possible for consumers to buy organic food directly from organic farmers. Using FIWARE to create an online platform, turn2bio goes beyond just a marketplace for organic food (although it offers that as well) to include healthy eating facts and advice and a rich library which could include recipes and encouragement for a healthy food diet.

Food waste management

 

SUR+: While we covered the Dutch startup SUR+ as an interesting food distribution model that connects farmers to charity food banks so that surplus food — often simply fresh produce that does not conform to supermarket standards of shape and size — can be consumed by communities, families and households who need it the most. But behind this distribution model is an even greater role that the startup is playing in reducing our food waste. SUR+ says that around one-third of all fresh food in The Netherlands is wasted.

Doing more in food waste management: There are also a range of opportunities in addressing food waste through better management of our urban disposal systems and organic waste collections, and in converting bio-organic waste to fuels. As use of the FIWARE platform grows amongst agribusiness, we are excited to see how it will be used to address all aspects of the food system.

There are over 100 agribusiness startups in the FIWARE ecosystem currently working on various aspects of the food supply and consumption chain. Smart technology will become an essential tool that enables our farming practices to maintain crop yield and better distribute produce to our urban centres. It will drive innovation in our consumption patterns and will increasingly be drawn upon to help educate and make healthy food more easily accessible. And smart technology will reduce our food waste, and better recycle what we cannot eat.

 

How FIWARE is Supporting Agribusiness to Grow (I)

 Blog, SmartAgri  Comments Off on How FIWARE is Supporting Agribusiness to Grow (I)
Feb 102016
 
Close Up Of Farmer Using Digital Tablet On Organic Farm

Agribusiness is one of the most vital domains where smart technologies needs to be urgently applied. The pressures are enormous and include: rising global populations requiring more food, increased extreme weather events from climate change impacts that destroy crops, the exodus of young people from farming and rural communities to cities, and high levels of waste in our food and energy systems from traditional industrial and agricultural practices. Leveraging mobile, web and data technologies to disrupt current agricultural and food distribution systems is essential if we are going to be able to continue generating after healthy food for our urban populations.

So it is exciting to see a range of startups and businesses applying the FIWARE open source platform to create new technologies that address all parts of the food system.

There are four main functions of a healthy food system:

  • To produce food for citizens and livestock, and to process food so that it can be packaged and consumed, sometimes as raw products and sometimes as healthy processed goods

  • To distribute food, particularly from rural ‘food bowls’ to urban areas

  • To encourage healthy food consumption and a dynamic food culture, such as in restaurants and cafes

  • To manage food waste by reducing the amount of quality food that is thrown out, and by disposing of food scraps and waste after consumption in compost and organic ways.

Through our Accelerators FRACTALS, FInish, Smart Agrifood, FINODEX and others, more and more startups are applying FIWARE technologies to help optimize one part of the global food system. In this two-part blog post, we will look at ten of these amazing startups working to ensure healthy food continues to be accessible to all of us.

Food production and processing

SmartSilo: Feed for livestock is an important component of food production. Usually, livestock feed is stored in large silos, but these are vulnerable to water and other damage, and managing supply levels can vary and are difficult to monitor. Spanish startup Ubikwa Systems is building SmartSilo, a sensor-based system to monitor and optimize stock in the silos of livestock farms. More sustainable stock management can reduce CO2 emissions by 25%, and in Europe alone could save farms more than €2 billion a year, according to CEO, Jaume Gelada.

IrrigNet: IrrigNET sees one efficient and sustainable irrigation of the key challenges to successful crop production. Using sensors that measure soil moisture at various depths and air temperature, irrigNET can not only assess current environmental factors, but can also create automated ’recipes’ that trigger more efficient farming practices. For example, farmers can factor in expected rainfall and air temperature, and trigger irrigation watering automatically when soil moisture falls below a certain threshold. While systems can be set up automatically, realtime monitoring dashboards still give farmers control if they want to reset values at any time.

Agricolus: Agricolus aims to provide a complete system for managing pesticide and growth treatments for agricultural crops. Using sensors and external data collection, Agricolus can monitor early warning signs of pest risks, and can better manage the data that optimises scheduling of plant nutrients and planning systems. Agricolus can reduce unsustainable plant treatment scheduling by up to 20%,m reducing environmental risks, and their products have recently been taken up by the Umbria region of Italy to help them manage an early warning system to monitor and prevent risks from the olive fly pest.

Food distribution

Purveyance Solutions: Purveyance solutions uses FIWARE’s data storage, big data analytics, realtime data capacities and open APIs to create an analytics system for the fresh produce supply chain. Data is collected through applications, farmer data, and logistics and transport providers to provide real time reporting, forecasts risks to distribution that may impact on the expiration of fresh produce, and can help farmers and food produce suppliers optimize delivery to urban communities and market sellers.

SUR+: In our bizarre, consumer-based society, we have become so focused on the ideal of beauty that even our vegetables and fruit need to look perfect at all times! That means farmers end up throwing out a lot of bended cucumbers, oddly shaped peppers, misshaped apples, and strangely-angled carrots. By using FIWARE, SUR+ has created a two-sided platform marketplace where farmers can donate the food they are unable to sell because of the way it looks, and food banks can respond to donation offers quickly so that fresh produce is available to low income families who are living in food insecurity. SUR+ recently gave a talk about their work at a TEDx talk in Maastricht, that is available to watch online.

In part two of our blog post, we will look at startups working to apply smart technologies in food consumption and food waste and disposal using FIWARE as the key technology platform to create and build new smart agribusinesses.

Smart Urban Farming Challenge: a new FIWARE opportunity!

 Challenges  Comments Off on Smart Urban Farming Challenge: a new FIWARE opportunity!
Sep 042015
 
Man holding rake on his shoulders in roof top garden

More than a year has passed since the last time we spoke about the use of FIWARE technologies in the field of agriculture and food production. And, if that last time, we imagined how these processes could be improved by the implementation of the latest technologies, now it is time to foster that implementation and the creation of smart services aiming to improve the consumers’ experience as well. To achieve that goal, one of the FIWARE accelerators (FRACTALS) has presented the Smart Urban Farming Challenge, encouraging web developers to create innovative services and solutions addressing the challenges in urban farming.

This challenge will distribute a total amount of 49,000 € among its winners, in a ceremony that will take place in ICT 2015, one of the biggest ICT events organized by the European Commission and which will take place from the 20th to the 22nd of October 2015 in Lisbon (Portugal).

Would you like to apply to the Smart Urban Farming Challenge?

If you want to participate in this challenge, you must consider that the whole process is divided into two different stages. According to the accelerator’s webpage, “the first stage or call for ideas invites participants to submit innovative ideas for applications that can be developed using the FIWARE technology. Proposals (up to 2 pages long) shall be submitted to the FRACTALS accelerator until the 25th of September, using the following email address: (urbanfarming@fractals-fp7.com)”. You can find a template with more details ON THIS LINK. Ten teams will be selected and will be then invited to Lisbon (with an initial prize of 900 €), where they will participate in the second stage of the process. The rest of the money will be distributed as follows:

  • First place: 20,000 €.
  • Second place: 12,500 €.
  • Third place: 7,500 €.

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What services can be included in the concept of “Urban Farming”?

  • Applications to enhance productivity in urban farms (incorporating concepts such as IoT, optimization of inputs, task planning, etc.).
  • Applications that provide urban farmers with access to markets (connecting urban farmers with customers nearby, promoting the environmental benefits of urban farming and social responsibility of consumers of urban farming products, promoting innovative business models associated with sharing economy, etc.).
  • Applications that promote networking and training among urban farmers (connecting urban farmers with each other and allowing them to promote their products collectively and exchange knowledge and experiences, promoting barter economy networks related to urban farming products, e-learning apps for urban farming, etc.).

So… what are you waiting for? Do you want to participate? Would you like to have more information about the ict_2015_lisbonchallenge? You are not really sure whether you can present your app or not? Then, find all the detailed information you may need here.

The ICT 2015 – Innovative, Connect, Transform

The Smart Urban Farming Challenge will take place in the frame of the ICT 2015, which is, as we already said, one the major ICT events organized by the European Commission. There, participants will also attend conferences and exhibitions, while having great networking and funding opportunities. If you want some more information about this event, don’t hesitate to visit the European Commission’s digital agenda, where you will find everything you may need to know. Join us during ICT 2015 to network, follow interesting debates in the conference, hear the latest news on the European Commission's new policies and initiatives with regard to R&I in ICT, find information about funding opportunities and much more!