At its annual Ignite event in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft today announced that Azure FarmBeats, a project that until now was mostly a research effort, will be available as a public preview and in the Azure Marketplace, starting today. FarmBeats is Microsoft's project that combines IoT sensors, data analysis and machine learning. "The goal of FarmBeats is to augment farmers' knowledge and intuition about their own farm with data and data-driven insights," Microsoft explained in today's announcement. The idea behind FarmBeats is to take in data from a wide variety of sources, including sensors, satellites, drones and weather stations, and then turn that into actionable intelligence for farmers, using AI and machine learning. In addition, FarmBeats also wants to be somewhat of a platform for developers who can then build their own applications on top of this data that the platform aggregates and evaluates.
For a real-world example of how it works, take a look at our partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In a pilot, USDA is using Azure FarmBeats to collect data from multiple sources, such as sensors, drones, and satellites, and feeding it into cloud-based AI models to get a detailed picture of conditions on the farm. Datahub is designed as an API platform and we are working with many more providers – sensor, satellite, drone, weather, farm equipment – to integrate with FarmBeats, so you have more choice while building your solution. While this preview is the culmination of years of research work and working closely with more than a dozen agriculture majors, it is just the beginning. It would not have been possible without the early feedback and validation from these organizations, and we take this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude.
As it stands now, farmers are employing new-age technologies to transform production driven by the fact that there is a need to feed more with less and the necessity to address the influences of industrial farming. At present around half of the current food produced, roughly 2 billion tons a year, ends up getting wasted while approximately 124 million people across 51 countries suffer food insecurity or worse. In addition to this, several other climatic challenges are lowering agricultural production. Governments across almost every country need to look into the matter and solve it as the world population is forecast to grow from 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion by 2050. On the brighter side, the world has ventured into the second green revolution through the fourth industrial revolution.
Let's think differently and use IoT to solve local problems says Jack Ngaare, MD of Microsoft Africa Development Center, Kenya site. He was sharing insights on Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Internet of Things(IoT) during keynote address at the third East Africa IoT and AI Summit. Speaking to delegates at the conference he emphasized the need to focus on the problems Africa has and be more deliberate about solving these problems using such emerging technologies. Let's think differently and use IoT to solve local[Africa] problems He asked "What problems do we have? What are the focus areas and what are the simple solutions?