The changing face of Agritech

Friday 9 Feb 2018

 
Industries rise, fall and evolve under the constant development of new and innovative technologies. Refrigeration changed how food was supplied, the lightbulb enabled us to utilise more hours in the day, the telephone connected people and the internet distributed information far better and quicker than ever before.

A new a wave of digital technologies is here. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoTs), blockchain, big data, robotics and automation are just some of the technologies currently impacting business. No matter whether it’s banking, engineering, retail or agriculture, these innovations are changing how each sector operates.

Humans have been around a while but we seem to think innovation, technology and disruption are just new. They’re not. But the speed of change and disruption perhaps is.

“New Zealand has a deserved reputation for being world leading in agriculture. But the world is moving fast. Are we living on the past?” said Conor English, Chairman of Agribusiness New Zealand and former CEO of Federated Farmers.

Mr English is the opening keynote presenter at this year’s agritech event, MobileTECH 2018. His presentation will outline what this means for this country’s primary sector, including forestry, and whether it is time for a change in mindset.

MobileTECH has, for the last six years, been the annual gathering for New Zealand’s agritech community. “The focus has been on showcasing new digital technologies and how they are, and will be, integrated into the day-to- day running of businesses throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries,” said Ken Wilson, MobileTECH Programme Manager.

“While we are really excited about where technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are headed, this year the focus is on industry collaboration and hearing from early adopters within the sector,” said Mr Wilson. “It’s a unique opportunity in New Zealand for the tech developers from an array of primary industries to get together under the one roof, to learn from each other and to make key contacts and set up alliances that will assist them in their business”.

At last year’s event a lot of new technology was presented. But one of the best questions asked was, “Is technology looking for a problem? Someone still needs to listen to my problems, understand my business and then look at the technology to help me go forward.” In the race to innovate, is technology solving a problem or looking for one?

MobileTECH 2018 will be running on 27-28 March 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.



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