The agriculture sector is doing marginally better than others in the way that it harnesses IIoT data, but our research indicates it has some way to go before it can fully leverage it to maximise competitive advantage. While just 2 per cent of respondents registered in the laggard category, a further two-thirds came out as starters, suggesting that much of the data generated by IIoT solutions is left to go to waste, which is a missed opportunity.

How advanced is the agriculture sector’s approach to IIoT data? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

How advanced is the agriculture sector’s approach to IIoT data? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

As we touched on earlier, agricultural businesses are beginning to realise some benefits of IIoT within their organisation, but more sophisticated analysis and a view of their wider supply chain is still out of reach.

Respondents clearly recognised the potential that IIoT data holds for enabling them to transform their business and optimise their operations, and businesses are expecting to put the data that is available to them to a number of innovative uses. For example, 81 per cent of businesses involved in forestry hope to use this data to improve environmental sustainability, and 89 per cent in the farming sector expect to use the data to increase staff productivity.

54%

Monitoring productivity

47%

Improving health and safety

46%

Automating business processes

45%

Identifying cost savings

42%

Monitoring environmental changes

41%

Managing stock/assets

Our research indicated a number of factors that may be hindering agricultural firms in their use of data. Security is of course one of the most pressing issues, with 36 per cent of agriculture businesses reporting that insecure data storage and transmission was one of the reasons they were not able to use their data as effectively as they would like.

38 per cent of respondents identified a lag between data being collected and it being available for analysis as the reason they were struggling to utilise their data, showing how critical it is for businesses to have robust connectivity channels in place to allow real-time monitoring.

Equally important is the need for a well architected flow of data, with careful consideration needed regarding what data is processed at ‘the edge’, by the sensors, vs. the data that is sent to the cloud for aggregation into analytic dashboards. This is an area in which many agriculture respondents fall down.

Without these networks and skillsets in place, agricultural businesses cannot make best use of their data, to provide up-to-the-minute insights on what’s going on in the field, in order to inform real-time decision-making.

 

 

The majority of agriculture companies expect the data from IIoT solutions to deliver improvements to staff productivity and sustainability

55%

severely restrict access to IIoT data within their organisation

If further evidence was needed that agricultural businesses need to get better at sharing the data gathered by IIoT solutions, internally, of the 125 companies that we surveyed, just 9 per cent said the data was available to everyone within the organisation, with 41 per cent saying it was only available to certain departments involved in that IIoT deployment, making agriculture more siloed than any other industry we reviewed. For businesses to gain the full benefits of IIoT deployment, they must open up access to their data so that the potential for innovation is increased and staff can collaborate.

TO WHAT EXTENT DOES/WILL YOUR ORGANISATION SHARE THE DATA CREATED THROUGH IIOT-BASED SOLUTIONS?

13.9% It is only available to the IT department and senior management
40.6% It is only available to certain departments involved in the IIoT deployment
36.6% It is available to anyone in the organisation, but access must be granted
8.9% It is available to anyone in the organisation to access and use

TO WHAT EXTENT DOES/WILL YOUR ORGANISATION SHARE THE DATA CREATED THROUGH IIOT-BASED SOLUTIONS?

13.9% It is only available to the IT department and senior management
40.6% It is only available to certain departments involved in the IIoT deployment
36.6% It is available to anyone in the organisation, but access must be granted
8.9% It is available to anyone in the organisation to access and use

While the immediate priority will be to share data within organisations, a siloed approach to data will not benefit agricultural companies – particularly due to increased regulation, governmental involvement and the opportunity for tertiary businesses. In time, the manner in which data flows out of the agricultural organisation will become paramount as these third-parties begin to rely on this real-time information to gain insight into the global production and supply chain. Those agricultural businesses who begin to work with their digital partners in this way will benefit from the development of new revenue streams and symbiotic digital eco-systems that afford them significant competitor advantages.

A big issue regarding data sharing is about trust. Many farmers – of all sizes – are very concerned about who owns their data and how it is used. Players in the agricultural supply chain vary enormously in scale. Retailers and distributors can be significantly larger than the farmers they work with and this has been previously used to squeeze sales margins. The idea of sharing valuable data up and down the supply chain therefore causes concern amongst some farmers who feel at greater commercial risk. In time however, those who do not share data reciprocally will find themselves disadvantaged.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD THE REPORT - INDUSTRIAL IOT ON LAND AND AT SEA: AGRICULTURE

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