Technology Trends in ICT – Towards Data-Driven, Farmer-Centered and Knowledge-Based Hybrid Cloud Architectures for Smart Farming
Keywords:mobile, big data, IoT, farm management, decision tools.
Over the past four decades, advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have resulted in unprecedented opportunity and innovation for improving farming outcomes. Ongoing innovations such as mobile, social media, agricultural drones, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and cloud computing present new challenges and opportunities for agribusinesses to redefine and rethink the role of ICT towards achieving better farming outcomes. With recent advances in infrastructure, data (collection, storage and retrieval), and a better understanding of all aspects of the food chain, new challenges and opportunities are presented. Unstructured data is now being generated real time, in large volumes, at high speed and unknown quality that results in challenges to current approaches for decision making, and require a focus on analytics. These new sources of data create the opportunity to inform and drive a change in decision making from one that is highly intuitive to one that is data driven and processed in real-time. This paper highlights recent trends in ICT and introduces a hybrid cloud architecture for smart farming. The proposed architecture emphasizes data-driven, farmer-centered, and knowledge-based decision tools through service integration, aggregation and interoperation. As a customized solution for farmers, the proposed architecture contains components of 1) data integration of on-farm sensors and data from public sources, 2) farm management modules, 3) knowledge-based software solutions from different providers, 4) service integration, aggregation and interoperation, and 5) a customized dashboard focused on usefulness and usability. This cloud-based solution allows the integration of businesses services, things, and technology from any channel and can be used anywhere. At this time, hybrid cloud environments have shown promise to integrate these different services and provide smart farming solutions to both big and smallholder farmers.