How AI and AR Apps can Change Agriculture

November 18, 2016 | Rob LaPointe

The two biggest tech trends to really take off in 2016 have been Mixed Reality (VR and AR) and Artificial intelligence (AI). As a Tech development company, we’ve obviously covered a lot of these:

But in our review of our posts in 2016, we realized that most of these focus on tech businesses, or Software management systems. There’s no discussion of other industries, no look at how AI and Mixed Reality (MR) can change businesses that we don’t normally think of as being revolutionized by tech.

With all of our years of experience in this business, we’ve realized that the world as we know it is inevitably headed towards a vast global network of Digitally connected devices – i.e. the Internet of Things (IoT). While most people are well aware of this by now, sometimes we find ourselves struck at just how quickly our world is changing, in ways that we’ve never even thought of.

One of these industries? Agriculture. And no, not for managing inventory, though that’s totally possible. We’re talking about how AI and AR are directly impacting the physical process of Farming.

Look, in California, there are two major industries: Agriculture and Technology. Silicon Valley itself is a symbol these two massive sectors: A technological wonderland in the middle of one the most fertile valleys in the world. It was only a matter of time before the two of these meshed.

Artificial Intelligence especially has massive potential to change the physical nature of Agriculture. As anyone who grows any sort of plant can tell you, farming is all about making a series of judgments, correctly, in the right order:

♦ The planting:

○ When to plant;

○ What to plant;

○ Where to plant; and

○ When to plant what where.

♦ Upkeep:

○ How much to water;

○ When to water;

○ When to provide nutrients (and of course what nutrients go to which plant, how much).

♦ Harvest

○ You get the idea.

What we’re trying to make evident is that there are a ton of different decisions to make. And these things don’t operate in a vacuum: the environment and climate have a massive impact on each and everyday. A low frost one night can kill off an entire crop, or a few extra hours of rain could mean plants dying from too much watering.

There are hundreds of data points from which farmers can to take information, but like most of us, they’re human. Which means they have to compromise – or at least they used to. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can be – and are – leveraged to help Farmers better manage their crops.

AI can take up-to-the-minute information from thousands of sources; IoT sensors designed to monitor crops, weather service stations, recent satellite information; AI can collect information on the fertilizer you’re providing to your crops, cross-referencing it with what crops you’re growing – and even comparing it to published reports from Ag science.

You can then take AI to the next step: figuring out when will be the best date to harvest your crops when to sell what crop, and where to sell it for the best possible profit margin. And all the while, an AI algorithm will learn more about your farm every second. This is the power of AI: Constant and improving Value.

But if you noticed in the beginning, we talked about AI and MR. Recently, a new Startup started making waves here in Silicon Valley – Plant.IO. This startup focuses on just this intersection. They created a system of sensors, lights, cameras and more that take detailed measurements, using AI and Machine Learning to understand the real time needs of each and every plant.

But the really cool part? All of this data is wirelessly transmitted to a set of AR Goggles, which then overlay a digital environment over each plant. All a farmer has to do is put on the headset and they can easily see what each plant needs: water, more light, fertilizers, and so on. So AI and AR come together to increase yields, decrease disease, and decrease costs.

Plus, with better crop management also means less wasted water and even fewer pollutants (fertilizers) going into the ground. Basically, AI makes Agriculture more effective, cheaper, and less environmentally destructive – and much, much easier on the farmer!

Technologies like Augmented/Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are changing the world. Industry by industry, sector by sector, business by business. SDI is a tech development company that has been using tools like Machine Learning, AI and even VR/AR in our projects when they were still prototypes

We know how to make Tech work for you. We know how to grow Enterprise. Give us a call at 408.805.0495/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

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