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What could come out of the IoT InnoJam?

If you have been following me on Twitter (and why wouldn’t you 😉) or on my blogs here at SCN, you would probably have notices that us guys in the Developer Relations Team at SAP are putting on an IoT based InnoJam at the SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. This will take place the weekend before we move onto SAP TechEd && d-code in Las Vegas, so Saturday & Sunday October 18-19 (InnoJam, Palo Alto, CA).

NOTE If you want to know more, be sure to check out my CodeTalks on the SCN YouTube Channel here.

So today I thought I would share one scenario, that I would like you attendees that are registering to contemplate as something you could work on…

In the current drought situation it is essential to lessen the environmental impacts of farming, due to better water consumption, reducing soil erosion & degradation, taking into account, crop specification, local climate (light & wind etc) & predicted weather conditions. This could possibly be extended all the way through to harvesting, transport & shipping (Field to Port) lessening infrastructure challenges, but thats another story!

A solution could be engineered with SAP technology, such as SQL Anywhere running on a Raspberry Pi. This same R-Pi would be connected to wind, moisture and sunlight sensors to gather and store those metrics, that could be synchronised either directly back to HCP or in batch at certain times of the day.

In turn the HCP could be getting data from weather forecasts to make predictions on how much water should be used, with those factors (wind, moisture, sunlight) in mind, combined with the forecast. For example if there is rain forecast, calculate how much less water can be used. Then the amount of water calculated and time of dispensing should be sent back to R-Pi, which could actuate a control valve, to dispense the amount of water used.

I’m sure there will be other scenarios and you could also decide on one yourself. 

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

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  • Hi Ian, I am registered and looking forward to the event.

    To elaborate on your example a bit more, the actual business value in this starts to be realised when you link this to ERP data and add in the forecast harvest dates and crop yield impacts. Driving crop growth in SAP is the ultimate goal.

    As someone who has a significant background in running SAP for a crop farmer I am in a position to tell that this is the gem. You have to remember that the technology to drive automatic irrigation systems and collect and analyse weather data has existed in the agricultural industry for quite a while. What has not existed is the link between this data and the optimum balance between cost and yield. I would be interested to see some push on this as this turns into a real example with real benefits and payback of IOT.

    Once again looking forward to this event. I cannot wait to see what you guys have planned for us.

    Chris Rae

      • Sure Ian. I spent 7 and a half years running a SAP for a farming company. They handled the end to end process from growth through to delivery to supermarkets so I have plenty of examples to share.

        So from an ERP perspective, I was able to setup production orders to "grow" a crop in SAP. This took a few attempts over multiple seasons, but we got down to being able to drive harvest dates in SAP ECC by confirming the different crop growth stages. Fro example in Australia, sweet corn takes about 72 to 80 days from emerging to harvest. We did confirmations in SAP at various stages of the crop growth that pushed the production order finish date out in SAP. It worked great and they have used that system for 5 years now. The problem with it is the data collection is all manual. It needs to be manually entered in the system. This is an interesting area to look at.

        Further to this. When a crop needs to be sprayed, fertiliser, pesticides, etc. The record keeping requirements are quite intense. There is no system that allows us the easy offline collection of this and relates this back to an SAP production order. You end up with a different set of paddocks maintained in a different system. The process was then to manually extract the information and manually enter this into SAP ECC against the production order. All chemical usage is ultimately recorded against a Production Order for traceability but the collection cost is high. I see this as a huge area for potential. There are batching systems that are around but the different types and mixes of chemicals generally means that someone is manually mixing.When they spray a paddock, the operators generally spray across multiple paddocks which makes record keeping even harder. This is a brilliant use case for geo fencing where you can then apply the record to paddocks contained within that area.

        There is already some great technology around GPS assisted steering in tractors. It is amazing system technology that has a proven purpose. If you take this a step further though, you can produce maps of the paddock.This has been around for a while now. The next steps are producing salt maps of the paddocks to measure salinity and start making crop decisions accordingly. For example turning planters off so as not to waste seeds on soil that will not do well.

        There are a heap more examples and use cases for the combination of IOT technology, SAP ERP and agriculture. I could go on for pages 🙂 It is some of my favourite topics.