Digital transformation unlocking new possibilities in agricultural processing industry

A digital transformation expert discusses how having a digital twin can add value via the technological solutions to the agricultural processing industry

Digital transformation is shaping conversations across industry 4.0, with new technologies like AI, IoT, edge computing, and many more. However, organizations face challenges when it comes to investments and its perceived value in terms of ROI. And, to top it all, uncertainty has become a norm worldwide, where growth remains a challenge for most businesses. During these unpredictable times, digital transformation is one such space where companies are investing in and innovating to remain competitive.

Going digital is no longer optional, but a necessity. As per a recent market study, the digital transformation market is expected to grow up to $3.3 trillion by 2025. We are at a stage where 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so.

Modern technology is shifting at a rapid pace and to satiate the growing desire of improving performance and efficiency, the concept of digital twin is becoming an essential part of the overall design process.

The Digital Twin technology provides a list of benefits to businesses like improving product quality, decreasing operation cost and new product introduction cost, and improving revenue growth opportunities.

Digital Twin technology is a collection of stages of transformation, where enterprises can accelerate their digital transformation as they progress along the four stages of,

  1. Visualization
  2. Simulation/emulation
  3. Twin-to-twin process automation
  4. And cross-party communication

Digital twin is a dynamic digital clone of a process, product, system, or facility, which can be used for multiple purposes. Such digital replicas can imitate real-world situations and help examine products, monitor the changes in the performance and condition of machines, and eventually optimize the systems and processes.

I would like to share with you one such implementation example of the digital twin technology by HARMAN DTS in the agri- processing industry.

Let me first briefly explain the technological needs in an agricultural industry. This industry has very different needs than any industry sectors, mainly because it deals with ‘live material’. This has created the need for IoT, analytics, and digital twin based solutions to provide real-time support for agri-processing industries and innovative producers. The overall motive is to support a global objective of hunger management, predictability, carbon dioxide emission, and other population-related challenges.

Our client is a global provider of agricultural science and technology for seeds and crop protection products. They were facing problems of low yield in seed trials, due to lack of intelligence on highly consumed crops like soya, corn, and more. They required an end-to-end solution to address all their processes, right from nursery operations, to confirmatory trial planning, and qualifying new varieties of crops and seeds, which would in turn benefit their producers and finally the consumers.

HARMAN understood the need to conduct the seed trial processes in a way that planning, readiness, and processing of the seeds could be done at the right time to maintain their genome status. Further, we also understood the needs of providers to contract suitable farm plots for maximum planting coverage, actively tracking the growth of plants, and harvesting them for suitable outcomes.

Due to the perishable nature of the commodities in the agricultural business, time is of utmost value when making process-related decisions during seed trials and its lifecycle, or the business ends up having to wait for the next season to bring the same to the market.

HARMAN created a farm-to-command-center, which is an end-to-end solution with a design-led thinking approach. We also addressed geospatial data and statistics, GIS, genome analytics, phenotyping, image processing, weather, water, soil, and market-based sensing. It linked enablers to give the client complete view and control of their seed trial process, from plant planning to market-linked and growth-based crop harvesting.

With this solution, seed trial management and market-linked crop e-commerce was made more:

  • Technology led
  • Timely
  • Productive
  • Standardized
  • Automated

HARMAN’s Smart Field Practice Solution helped the client reduce their operational costs by 15% and improve their asset utilization by 25%. The foundation was further extended to implement the rest of the solution blocks on field.

With such solutions and in-depth technical expertise, HARMAN DTS is setting the benchmark for digital transformations across industries. Be it smart shop floors, intelligent machines, smarter and safer workforce to supply chain optimization or for that matter remote health care, 5g test lab, to smart building. We have it all covered when it comes to creating a technology ecosystem for adding convenience to every customers’ lifespan.

After all, how do you measure the quality of life? It is in the things that make our daily lives, the solutions to ordinary problems that have extraordinary effects on our future. And when technology can be put to work, it makes everyday life remarkable.

Contributed by

David Owens, SVP & GM at Digital Transformation Solutions (DTS), HARMAN

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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