It’s been quite sometime that we have been reading about the Internet of Things, and the potential that it holds, but have you ever read about the Internet of Food? Sounds interestingly yummy, doesn’t it?
IoT as a term describes the interconnectivity of the various devices that we make use of in our daily lives. These IoT devices communicate wirelessly, as well as collect and share information, through the Internet.
The IoT has been transforming a number of industries, but one of the biggest industries most affected by this magnificent tech is the food and agriculture sector. By efficiently employing the Internet of Things, both the consumers and the farmers will have the ability to make better decisions with all readily available information about the food crops that they’re consuming and producing.
Global Food Security and Precision Agriculture
With the population in the world increasing by every second, it is almost critically important that a significance should be laid towards optimising the output of the agricultural lands so as to sustain the food sources for the entire mankind. According to recent estimates, the world population will reach a whopping 9 billion by the year 2020, and in order to meet the needs of this growing population, the food output all around the world will have to be increased by a significant 70 percent.
But, unfortunately, with the limited resources that we have left on Earth, increasing the output by this much percentage isn’t a viable option. In order to meet this output need, there is an urgent need to make food suppliers and farmers more efficient in utilising the currently available resources that we have on Earth.
This is exactly where IoT has the potential of helping the mankind immensely. By making use of IoT gifted wireless devices, automated sensors, monitors, UAV’s, and cloud data collection, better decisions can be taken by employing data about ripeness of crops, soil quality, weather, and humidity. It could also help in providing information about food quality, its origin, conditions of growth, and food nutrition.
This collected data, which can be processed by making use of optimising algorithms, can significantly help in determining the best conditions that the crops require to flourish, get the best yield and even send a signal when the crops become all set to be harvested. IoT can also extend a helping hand in monitoring the markets in order to come at a decision about when the production needs to be slowed down or pumped up by providing real-time information about the inventory available. When effectively optimised, the currently prevalent wastage of crops and resources can be massively prevented.
IoT in food and agriculture sector has even found the fancy of industry leaders from all around the world. The recently concluded IC3-Foods conference (International Conference/ Consortium/ Center for Food Ontology, Operability, Data, and Semantics) aimed to facilitate the development of Internet of Food infrastructure for environment friendly, intelligent and sustainable growth of food and distribution.
What would Internet of Food mean for the consumers?
IoF will give consumers the power to know about where their food came from, under which conditions was it grown, and a detailed profile about all the nutrients that it has. This all readily available data will make the consumers in making more informed decisions about what they wish to buy and eat. The aim is that one day soon the nutritional profile of food will be broken down to even the milligrams of vitamins and minerals present within every little piece of food.
Since IoF will also allow people to know about the origins of their food and the conditions it was grown, it will allow people a chance to extend support for things they believe in. For example, if the food makes use of pesticides or not or the distance that the food travelled in order to be shipped.
Currently, availing such information is a tough task to fulfill. But, with changing times, soon all this information will be made accessible to the general public via smartphone apps or online websites.