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How 5G will (re)shape agri&food from field to fork


5G in Agri&Food

As an enabler of rapid, secure, low-latency and high-throughput data transfer, 5G will create a new landscape of data-enabled smart applications for every link in the agri-food chain, from farmers, agribusinesses and regulators to retailers and consumers. In the process, 5G powered applications will undoubtedly shape a completely new way of doing business in the agricultural segment.

Three trends driving the evolution of the industry

The data flood has hit the agri-food industry with full force – not just within the context of traceability and sustainability, but also farm and livestock management. New data-driven farming and food processing business models are being created, all of which are designed to boost (supply chain) efficiency, while also increasing sustainability and optimizing traceability.

Three trends stand out as movers and shakers:

1. Consumers want details about their food 
Today, end consumers have little tolerance for obscurity when it comes to the food they eat. They demand as many details as possible – all the way to animal welfare insights, CO2 emissions, local sourcing status and more. This concern will only increase over time. 

2. Regulators want unprecedented transparency 
The increasing number of industry standards and complex regulations turn compliance into a continuous challenge which requires agri-food companies to process and submit enormous quantities of data.

3. Precision farming becomes mainstream 
As compliance becomes more complex and margins are dropping, the need to invest in data-driven techniques to maximize operational excellence becomes more urgent. As a result, precision farming business models are becoming mainstream.

Enbaling ecosystem-wide insights

Autonomous drones inspecting crops, robots eliminating weeds, harvesters, sprayers and tractors interacting to coordinate and optimize their movements – these agricultural use cases are right on the horizon. The only thing previously lacking was the huge data pipeline needed to gather, process and share all of the information with the ecosystem, and that, too, has now arrived.

Within the domain of precision farming, the advent of 5G is inevitable. Sensors, cameras and apps for livestock and crop management, marketing, planning and forecasting, etc. generate huge amounts of data that can be analyzed, making it useful for the farmer, the food industry, retail players and then the consumer.

The result is high operational efficiency for all players, smoother regulatory processes, greater transparency, greener supply chains, and ultimately, more sustainable agriculture. In fact, the future of farming depends on the superfast wireless connections offered by 5G.

Local vs. national/global coverage

Some players in the agri-food sector operate industrial facilities – for example, for the processing and production of food items and the manufacture of agricultural machinery. These cases benefit from local, centralized 5G mobile private networks (MPNs) in the same way as other industrialized sectors.

Farming, on the other hand, is decentralized by nature. In addition to the vast acres of crops managed by large farms, there are also livestock feed companies and pesticide producers involved. Uploading data from machinery working in a remote field to the cloud is improbable, which is why ‘closed site’ MPNs are not sufficient in these settings. However, MPNs can be seamlessly integrated with public networks so that national and global coverage are provided for.


Building the future application landscape for agri-food

Is your agri-food business ready for the 5G revolution – or are you on the lookout for expert guidance? We are standing by to help you. Cegeka has the domain expertise as well as strong, proven agile software development skills needed to develop new agri-food applications that run on 5G MPNs.

We provide end-to-end solutions beginning from infrastructure, cloud systems and data centers for manufacturers and IoT platforms that gather, manage and secure data from agricultural devices, sensors and machines. On top of that, we can add intelligence and AI algorithms that power use cases such as computer vision for farm operations and crop management, as well as decision trees for autonomous vehicles.

Everything you need to create the agri-food business models of the future is within your reach. In addition to creating custom applications to tackle your business challenges, our team can integrate them with other systems managed by partners, regulators and peers, unlocking ecosystem-wide impacts.



Thinking about using 5G to futureproof your agricultural business?

Find out more about our 5G offering.