Connecting the Digital Dots in Rural America: New Class of Cloud Connectivity Suppliers To Energize the Digital Transformation of U.S. Ag
Part 1 of 2
The idea of farmers producing more food and fiber with fewer resources has been an aspiration since the days of hitching an ox to a plow. Today, farmers are asked to do more with even less to keep up with global food demand and societal expectations around environmental stewardship. The digital revolution sweeping farm country is an answer to both opportunities, and it’s about to get a boost from companies who have traditionally only served the consumer market but now view agriculture as a huge business prospect.
For too long, echoes about the lack of rural connectivity and affordability at the singular-farm scale dampened the enthusiasm of commercial providers considering a jump into the agricultural market. While high-speed connectivity remains an issue in some areas, commercial farm-to-cloud companies are now poised to help farmers through enterprise solutions such as private networks and cloud connectivity. By doing so, farmers will be able to connect all the tools agtech companies have developed, from sensors to drones, and maximize their benefits.
This development is truly a force multiplier, and it translates into more productivity, efficiency and profit per acre. It also means greater return on investment for farmers who have invested in agtech tools and a higher level of environmental sustainability for the planet.
Farm-to-cloud innovation also helps solve an unpredictable labor landscape and smooth out the rough patches created by volatile pricing and supply chain environments.
Meanwhile, the ox and plow have gone by the wayside in favor of a range of new technologies, each of which is designed to offer a solution to an opportunity or challenge faced by the modern farmer. From field sensors to autonomous harvesters and robotic sprayers that use computer vision to recognize what is and is not a weed, the on-farm market is a prime target for a wide range of innovative technology companies who have already conquered consumer technology markets.
This convergence between traditional ag-tech and consumer tech leads to compounding dividends, rather than being a zero-sum, winner-take-all competition between the two sectors. Agriculture is already high-tech, but can it be further transformed? Many companies are betting that the plug-and-play mobile, digital, voice-activated, hands-free and highly connected environment developed for the consumer market will enable farmers to further improve their productivity and efficiency.
Consumer and business-focused tech companies are chomping at the bit to deploy their computing power and networking technology to optimize system solutions for farmers and research recently conducted by Stratovation Group for the OnGo alliance, a coalition of more than 150 member companies, including mobile suppliers, network operators, device manufacturers and more, is offering an actionable roadmap to succeed.
By Mace Thornton, COO of Stratovation Group.
Next up: Part 2 of 2—Stratovation Research provides topline insights into convergence of ag and consumer tech.