Nishant Sharma, CTO, Umbrella Infocare

Nishant Sharma is the Chief Technology Officer at Umbrella Infocare, a new-age cloud-tech company specializing in providing best-in-class Cloud-Native Application Development, Data Engineering and Analytics, DevOps Enablement, Cloud Migration, and AWS Cloud Managed Services. Known to be a tech geek, Nishant seeks to continuously innovate and empower clients to leverage cloud technology. He is the driving force in building Umbrella’s solutions and services and works at enabling clients to optimize cloud power without compromising on their business requirements. He continues to focus on building a practice that hones DevOps, Automation, Cloud Native Apps, and Data Analytics at Umbrella since 2017. Nishant is a seasoned speaker at many AWS events and has in-depth knowledge of AWS and the latest technologies.

 

The rural infrastructure in India is still a challenge for agriculturists who have to cater to their primary occupation of farming. The scenario is the same in other developing countries as well where agriculture plays a key role in the economic growth of nations.  With the predictions of the global population reaching 10 billion by 2050, it is time the sector fully leverages smart solutions for the procurement of raw materials and higher and better quality products on the farms.

To achieve healthy crops production, implementing sustainable farming techniques in addition to timely procurement of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, plant nutrients, and even insurance products are essential.  However, with limited transportation facilities at the disposal of farmers, they have to invariably walk long distances to purchase raw materials and many a time even return empty-handed, due to non-availability of stock. Farming communities also have to face other challenges related to pest control, soil quality, appropriate water levels, unpredictable weather conditions, equipment, and machinery maintenance, among others.

Hassle-free digital transactions for not-so-tech-savvy-farmers

At the outset, farmers should have all relevant raw materials and resources in place to take the activities forward for the growing of crops.  In reality, they have to walk long distances from their villages to market places that are in surrounding towns.  Some co-operatives are opting to develop e-commerce platforms to deliver seeds, pesticides, manure, and other products to the doorstep of the farmers, who can perform simple online transactions to purchase these products.

However, the eCommerce platform uses multiple third-party vendors for logistics and delivery, warehousing facilities, and payment gateways that have to be integrated.  This process involves several layers of applications for mapping the closest warehouse, tracking and delivery system, inventory management, reconciliation of returned goods, and refund processes.  Furthermore, another application has to be added to enable services in different regional languages for farmers.

High availability, auto-scaling, and better customer experience are expected at any given time so that the not-so-tech-savvy farmers do not get discouraged due to hassles while using the online platform.  These monitoring solutions should detect, diagnose and respond to incidents at a faster rate with better collaboration among different teams, provide automatic alerts for abnormal behaviours and ensure governance and compliance during the entire lifecycle from development to production.  Moreover, the large co-operatives, with multiple stakeholders will also have to adhere to stringent regulatory compliance and internal policy requirements. If security breaches are not predicted and prevented, it could lead to mistrust among members and stakeholders. 

The advanced comprehensive monitoring system should include threshold monitoring of infrastructure utilization, dynamic monitoring of the environment, and user behaviour besides predictive monitoring.  It should also improve the digital customer experience with fast page loads.  The solution should deliver high regulatory compliance and policy enforcement.  Continuous monitoring on the cloud has to be provided for real-time visibility, vulnerability detection, and remediation.

Smart Farming solutions in Agriculture 2.0 drive high volume, healthy crops

The number of connected devices in the agriculture sector is exponentially growing and is expected to reach 225 million by 2024, according to a report by Machina Research.  Today, farmers have begun to embrace IoT-enabled smart solutions as they believe they will drive higher and better quality crop production in a cost-effective way.  Moreover, due to the growing labour crisis on farms, aging farmers, and lack of farming skills in the younger generation, as they move on to other professions, adopting technology is becoming critical.  From regular maintenance of machinery and equipment to soil quality control, smart farming solutions leverage IoT devices that are playing a key role in the sector.

IoT applications on the farm include Crop and water level monitoring, soil condition, and weather monitoring.  Digital Pest control and livestock monitoring systems are among other related applications of these solutions.

Productivity can increase to its full capacity with weather monitoring, where farmers can estimate the appropriate quantity of fertilizers and water supply, which will give rise to higher quality yields and cater to the market demand.  This will lead to fetching more revenues with higher sales and better business outcomes for the farming community, motivating them further.  With the adoption of monitoring solutions, the use of pesticides will be reduced dramatically with lesser chemical impact on the crops, ensuring healthy farm produce that is in high demand.  Farmers can even predict the future condition of the soil and plan for future crop rotation growing, well in advance.

Both, the convenience offered by digital procurement of relevant agricultural raw materials and smart agriculture processes with agritech for higher and better quality yields, require advanced and sophisticated monitoring solutions for different applications. Farmers have begun to understand the importance of such solutions that deliver innumerable benefits, instead of going about farming in an unorganized manner. It is imperative for solution developers and technology experts to take farmers’ inputs to understand the latter’s farming needs, for designing and customizing smart monitoring solutions for effective implementation.

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