| | November 20188EXPERTS TALKDigital technologies have been making headways in most industries, from retail to manufacturing, from healthcare to BFSI. One industry that still is under-engaged with digital and next-gen technologies is Agriculture.Interestingly, as per India's economic survey 2018, agriculture sector employs more than 50 percent of the total workforce in India and contributes around 17-18 percent to the country's GDP. However, the sector still suffers from the disposition of manual means and tools for operations, forecast, and productivity. Though the use of crop spraying flying machines has been prevalent in the advanced countries, this type of automation is more applicable to large farms, unlike India where according to the Agriculture Census, an average size of a farm is 1.15 hectares.Globally, digital has played an important role in transforming the agricultural sector. From the Internet of things (IoT) for connectivity, sensors, and monitoring, AI and Analytics for forecasting, to Blockchain for creating a sustainable ecosystem, digital can act as a shot in the arm for the current situation in the field of agriculture. Global farmers are using the next-gen technologies for:· Supplying granular information about production at harvest by utilizing image analytics and video analytics· Using sensors and soil sampling to gather data on soil moisture and nutrient levels across their fields. · The various upcoming farm information management systems make inputting operational and financial data easy which leads to a better forecast.· Mobile Apps and unscrewed Ariel vehicles to monitor crop health, pests and disease conditions during the season.· Using autonomous and Robotic Labor for repetitive and standard-ized tasks like plowing, seeding, watering, weeding, harvesting, sorting and so on. In the recent years, there has been an increased focus in India to adopt newer technologies to aid in the new age farming. Five years ago, Google sponsored researchers made an advancement in AI when their neural network software self-learned to detect shapes of cats and humans with more than 70 percent accuracy. Google now in collaboration with the IEEE Computing Society is sponsoring a contest called iNaturalist Competition which aims to train AI algorithms to identify more than 5000 different species of plants and animals. Microsoft has also initiated a homegrown project in India to aid farmers across different states to improve their productivity and accuracy in the forecast. There are villages in Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh where farmers get automated voice calls alerting them about the risk of a pest attack to their crops based on the weather conditions and the stage at which the crops are currently present. In Karnataka, the state government can forecast the price for essential commodities such as tur (split red gram) three months in advance, which helps in planning for the Minimum Support Price (MSP).However, the agriculture sector has multilevel challenges to address, as it has a longer product lifecycle and is dependent on diverse factors such as weather forecast, quality of seeds, fertilizers used, monitor pest, and so on. AGRITECH: TRANSFORMING AGRICULTURE WITH TECHNOLOGYBy Ajay Agrawal, SVP & Head - Analytics & AI, Happiest MindsHeadquartered in Bengaluru, Happiest Minds is a leading next-gen digital transformation & IT consulting services company which offers domain-centric solutions, IPs in IT Services, Product Engineering, Infrastructure Management and Security in many sectors through its integrated set of disruptive technologies. THOUGHT LEADERSHIPAjay Agrawal
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