Smart Farming

28 May 2021

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Dear Reader,  

Smart farming can be referred to as the 4.0 green revolution in the field of agriculture combining agriculture methodologies with technology — Sensors & Actuators, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Drones to achieve desired efficiencies of production which are sustainable.

According to a survey, 80% of farmers in US and 24% farmers in UK have already started using Smart Farming Tool (SFT). These numbers are cognizant of the fact that SFTs are adding value to the farming ecosystem. As far as the scale of operations is considered, Smart farming tools and techniques can be applied to large scale and  on the other hand distributed conventional farming can be applied to focused small farming set of organic farms.

Through remote sensing,  smart farming system reduces waste, improves productivity and enables optimum resource management. For the benefit of micro farming, multiple crops are grown simultaneously on remote lands which require different care, manure, soil and water. By linking local sensors to smart irrigation and control, things like sensing pH balance of the soil, gauging local temperature is now possible through remote monitoring and sensing rather than walking the field all the time. This leads to increase in the yield as farmers can save on time and focus on the real issues of farming — pest control, irrigation and amending  soil conditions  all  using  sensing  and  automation.

Companies like Robotics Plus, a startup with USD 10 million  funding from Yamaha is planning to deploy its fruit plucking robots into production, while Ecorobotix with their Weed Zapping Robots have gained considerable momentum owing to the growth in Smart farming techniques.

Precision farming system has a lot of dependency on the software management systems. Control systems manage sensory input, delivering remote data for supply and decision support, as well as automation of machines . Basically, it is a standardized business approach balancing the demand and supply side with respect to resource management.

During production, it is mostly resource management from a growth and yield perspective. For instance, precision seeding uses automated tractors to reduce seed loss and seeding with proper space management between different plants. Another example is of precision water delivery.

On the demand side, it is about demand forecasting and delivering goods just in time to reduce waste.

India has always been an agrarian state, and traditional farming methods are manual and too labour intensive. Smart Farming can also provide great benefits in terms of environmental issues, for example, through more efficient use of water and optimisation of  treatments and inputs

Credits : Akhil Handa Clint James

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Road Network Management with AI

Dear Reader,  
The lack of road safety in India is increasingly becoming a matter of major concern. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, India recorded around 4.3 lakh road accidents in 2019, which took the lives of 1.5 lakh people. Poor road infrastructure, encroachment, and increasing number of vehicles have contributed to the high number of road hazards in the country. The solution seems clear: real-time road monitoring and information collation about road infrastructure. 
New Delhi-based deep tech startup Nayan India Science and Technologies has developed a road safety and traffic monitoring solution that uses a camera, computer vision and artificial intelligence. The application constantly monitors roads, infrastructure, and traffic violation. The AI Powered algorithms analyse the video feeds and alert in case of violations, defects or dangers on the road.  The B2B SaaS startup works with road transport authorities, insurance companies, private aggregators, public transportation fleets etc. to provide real world, last-mile analytics to better revenue channels. 
RoadMetrics is an AI-based solution that uses image and sensor data obtained from a simple smartphone to classify road defects, signs, traffic signals, street lights, etc. This road and street-level data helps enterprise mapping firms and smart city bodies with analytics on road networks and a better mapping experience. The data is sold through the API model as well as on a per km basis, depending on the geography for Smart Cities. 
Swedish start-up, Mapillary, acquired by Facebook, is the street-level imagery platform that scales and automates mapping using collaboration, cameras and computer vision. Mapillary’s tools enable anyone to collect, share, and use street-level images which are combined for improving the city maps. 
US based RoadBotics automated inspections and generated actionable data about road networks, including identification of individual distresses like potholes and alligator cracks. Their detailed maps, unbiased ratings, and practical tools save time and taxpayer dollars for hundreds of communities across the country and around the world. 
As per IBEF ORG, India has the second-largest road network in the world, spanning a total of 5.89 million kilometres (kms). This road network transports 64.5% of all goods in the country and 90% of India’s total passenger traffic uses road network to commute. Road transportation has gradually increased over the years with improvement in connectivity between cities, towns and villages in the country. In India, sale of automobiles and movement of freight by roads is growing at a rapid rate. The startups are focused in solving road network issues by using India’s main asset - its huge population. 
Credits : Akhil Handa Manisha Gawle

Social Equality in Tech

Dear Reader,  
Why do we prize technology over everything else? Because it helps us solve problems as efficiently as possible. No one can predict from which gender, ethnicity or nationality the next great idea might come from. And the tech startup sector is a living embodiment of that. 
Moving to another part of the world for employment does pose a challenge. And since most tech jobs are located at specific hotspots, many talented workers always find themselves unemployed. Software as a Service products and services are enabling employers to find and employ talent from all over the world. Remote working, work from anywhere and digital nomadism are slowly becoming the new normal. Digital marketing firm Loganix understands the potential of having a diverse team. The company runs almost all its operations globally — with teams of people from the US, Asia, Australia and Europe —employees are dynamically moved between different teams, depending on requirements, allowing quick resolution of issues. 
Poor or different communication skills can fuel many workplace misunderstandings. And it costs quite a bit of time and money to learn a new language. The US Foreign Services Institute estimates that it takes on an average 480 hours to gain basic competence in languages. This was a problem that cloud-based tuition service Preply aimed to fix. The platform offers a place for both language tutors and students to collaborate easily and affordably. 
Tutors can create their profiles with rates, experience and number of languages spoken; and students can review their tutors, making it easy for other students to decide who to hire. Workers planning to move to another country can use such services to learn a new language far cheaper than attending a language school. HR teams can also hire tutors to educate employees who need to go abroad or new recruits from other countries. 
Social inequality isn’t always about creed, gender or nationality. Entrepreneurs are usually handicapped due to high entry barriers in business. Indeed, the cost of acquiring customers is every bit the startup killer it is known to be. Oleg Campbell, a Ukrainian developer who bootstrapped his startup, Reply, to a $2 million a year company, certainly identifies with the struggle. Campbell’s lack of sales experience stalled the growth of his first enterprise. Consequently, he focused his efforts on helping tech entrepreneurs overcome their lack of salesmanship with smarter tools. Reply’s LinkedIn email finder is specifically for new companies looking for affordable, effective lead generation. Such a tool can help a user find email addresses of prospects on LinkedIn. Paired with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, users can create highly personalized outreach messages for each prospect. 
The tech sector can, and should, be the leader at showcasing the advantages of diversity. By championing the cause of gender diversity through socially agnostic platforms, they are leading the cause of social equality in tech. 
Credits : Akhil Handa Prithwijit Ghosh

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