IoT data marketplaces for the agri-food sector: use cases

AIOTI WG Smart Farming and Food Security just published new paper “IoT data marketplaces for the agri-food sector: a first look to use cases for smart farming and across the food chain’

Recent years have seen an increasing interest in the use of digital technologies as tools to contribute to the wide sustainability of the agri-food sector. Precision/smart farming, Agriculture 4.0, and the like, are concepts no longer attached to academic research but they have been making their way through the market and the real life of farmers during the past years. Smart farming techniques are being successfully applied in areas like optimization in the use of resources (water, fertilizers, pesticides…), monitoring of animal health and wellbeing, and decision making. Together with the increasing robotization of farming labour, they are having a positive impact in productivity and environmental footprint, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and climate change strategies.

In addition, digital technologies play a strong role in enabling food traceability throughout the whole food chain addressing food safety, fraud prevention, compliance with certifications and regulations, etc. At the heart of this digitally-enabled revolution in the agri-food sector it is the data, which comes from multiple sources: remote sensing platforms, weather forecasting services, raw material market prices… and especially from the Internet of Things (IoT) gathering data directly from the field and the farm through sensing devices and connected machines (tractors, their implements, and smaller agri-robots). This new paradigm paves the way also to new data-driven business models for agriculture, and kickstarts the interest in data sharing mechanisms that can fully exploit the value of data for the benefit of the agri-food sector.

Interestingly, the agri-food sector in Europe has been probably the first industrial sector to devise a framework focused in data sharing, releasing the “EU code of conduct on agricultural data sharing by contractual agreement”. Such code of conduct basically reflects the agreement of the main stakeholders on the principles that should regulate agricultural data sharing, building trust for the farming sector from the very beginning.

Despite the novelty of the data sharing trend in agri-food, a few private and public-private partnership initiatives of certain relevance are already established, like API-AGRO6 in France, DjustConnect in Belgium, Join Data in the Netherlands, DKE agrirouter in Germany and Agrimetrics in the UK. More recently, the European Agriculture Machinery industry released its strategy for achieving the full roll-out of data sharing in the next years, building upon the code of conduct. Such strategy puts the focus on technology as the means for delivering the necessary trust and tools.

This document also aims to provide more light on proper architectures and technologies for implementing data sharing frameworks (and more specifically, data marketplaces) suitable to agri-food applications, building on previous AIOTI work on distributed IoT data marketplaces.

Full document is available here.