OADA will help all to achieve this goal by building an open source framework and a community of commercial vendors, farmers, academics, and developers upon which the emerging ag data market can rapidly grow.
Modern production agriculture has the potential to dramatically improve crop yields and reduce environmental impacts by enabling farmers to properly evaluate past, current and future farm management decisions through analysis of agronomic data generated in the field.
However farmers are currently overwhelmed with walled gardens of incompatible data (images, logs, reports, charts) generated by their existing systems. Farmers want the hardware and software systems that they use to interoperate – that is, to share information and be able to adequately rely on each other to help support decision-making. As more farmers use analytics to improve management decisions, successful farms will begin to make purchasing decisions based on data compatibility with their current infrastructure.
The most scalable solution for farmers is to enable their hardware and software systems to communicate automatically through cloud solutions. Any system needs to incorporate data from a multitude of sources in order to be useful.
However, existing solutions suffer from:
- an inability to gather data from all aspects of any given farm since no one manufacturer accesses all the operational data on a farm,
- questions about data ownership and intellectual property,
- expense and complexity that arise from extensive development, business relationship, and legal costs for fully proprietary systems.
In order to enable this next stage in production agriculture productivity, these three issues have to be resolved. Past attempts at solving data sharing and compatibility have revolved around creating monolithic standards that are licensed commercially and selectively.
Farmers require an open solution that works with existing standards, encourages transparency of privacy policies, and paves the way for rapid entrepreneurial innovation.
This is not a unique set of challenges. Other industries have faced a similar stage in their evolution, including financial services, healthcare, and the Internet. It is clear that the best way to effectively scale compatibility in a rapidly changing, emerging market is the standard open source approach used in much of the software world today where communities of companies, users, and developers create frameworks upon which value can be created.
To achieve this we have formed the Open Ag Data Alliance, whose mission is to help farmers access and control their data.
We have the following key objectives:
- Catalyze the rapid development of open data sharing standards (API’s) and open source software libraries that will serve as a conduit between data generation and data consumption both in the cloud and locally, as well as facilitate easy transferability of a farmer’s data among solution providers when requested by the farmer.
- Build a community of developers, companies, farmers, and academics maintaining and using software, research, and tools for data in the worldwide ag data industry that will serve as a foundation for value creation that will drive the necessary exponential growth in the emerging ag data market.