Wearable Technologies in Agriculture – From Ideas in Labs to Start-Ups

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Written BY

Emily Friedman

July 15, 2015

Written by Special Guest Blogger Saverio Romeo, Beecham Research

The association agriculture-technology is not always immediate for many people. Agriculture is often seen as a sector incapable of introducing new technologies in its practices. But, that is a strong misunderstanding of the innovative capabilities of the agricultural sector. From the point of M2M and the Internet of Things, the sector has embraced several cutting-edge applications such as autonomous vehicles, mesh networks, sensing networks and farm management information systems supported by sophisticated data and visual data analytics tools. And the attention on wearable technologies has been equally strong.

Excluding the use of technologies for livestock in precision livestock farming – which is very strong -, research pioneers in Japan such as Tokihiro Fukatsu, from the Japanese National Agricultural Research Centre, have been experimented the use of wearable technologies for farmers since 2007. Fukatsu’s overall idea was to exploit the hands-free feature of smart glasses in order to connect the farmers with the farm management information system. The objective was to enable access to knowledge for farmers, but also enabling interactions between the farm management information system and the farmer via voice recognition software. Many other agricultural academic and research centre have run work on wearable technologies for farmers looking into Fukatsu’s ideas, but also into other areas such exoskeletons. However, for some time those efforts have been confined to the research labs and the academic communities. But, during the period 2013-2014, start-ups such as TekWear and IntelliScout focussing on wearable technologies for agriculture were formed. TekWear develops “hands-free wearable technologies to quickly and easily capture and retrieve data” critical for farming operations. IntteliScout uses “artificial intelligence and vision computing to close the time-gap assessing crop performance.”

Wearable technologies are moving from research labs to market ideas. As agriculture is decisively embracing the Internet of Things vision, wearable technologies can become part of the smart farming practices. The key applications will revolve around hands-free devices that enable access to knowledge about the soil and crops and remote control of devices and assets in the farms.

About the Author

As Principal Analyst at Beecham Research, Saverio Romeo runs research in the areas of M2M, Internet of Things, wearable technologies and smart solutions for vertical sectors. During the last six years, Saverio has focused his technology and market research on the evolution of the mobile industry, primarily looking at European mobile network operators. He has done extensive research and published in areas such as mobile healthcare, smart cities, mobile and wireless innovative services, and data analytics in the mobile industry. He has recently worked extensively on wearable technologies for consumers and enterprises, but also on the evolution of M2M/IoT and their impact on vertical markets. Beecham Research is an official partner of EWTS ’15.

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