John Deere has developed an innovative private permission-based platform that allows third-party suppliers of agricultural services to use farm data to help farmers make decisions better. Blended with their own data and insights, artificial intelligence is allowing agricultural service providers to conceive and deliver bespoke services – remotely – tailor-made for each field and farm.
The ability to, “blend data from each farmer’s operational and supplier universe is, for the first time, unleashing the power of artificial intelligence on South African farms,” says Wayne Spaumer, Product Specialist for Precision Agriculture, Sub-Sahara Africa at John Deere. The impact of artificial intelligence for individual farmers – in terms of increased yields, dramatically cut costs and, ultimately, higher incomes per hectare – is set to, “transform South African agriculture by radically increasing the accuracy with which farmers make decisions,” stated Spaumer.
Increasing the range of data points – available instantly and electronically – will also, “speed up decision-making, allowing the farmer to focus on income-generating functions and tasks,” added Spaumer.
To ensure that farmers maximise the yield impact of their machines by leveraging technology, John Deere has developed a platform, called Operations Center. Operations Center enables farmers to combine data produced by any agricultural machine fitted with basic guidance and monitoring packages – with supplier data from, say, soil analysts or fertiliser and seed companies.
Since, however, John Deere knows that farmers have a lot of decisions to make in a day and that they don’t farm alone, “choices on which third-party suppliers and services to work with are critically important – especially because of the information that these suppliers can provide,” said Spaumer.
In response, John Deere recently added a function, called More Tools to its Operations Center. More Tools provides the ability to combine a farmer’s existing data with data from companies like AgStudio, GeoFarm or T3RRA Tools, producing a much broader view of the farmer’s universe. This much richer data set enables each farmer to, “plan and manage activities, monitor progress and analyse results – informed by accurate reports compiled using his or her own operational and broader supplier and service data,” says Spaumer.
By simply registering a farm as an organisation on MyJohnDeere.com, “South African farmers can build a one-stop artificial intelligence-driven information, decision-making and guidance shop – providing advice, in real time, based on their own farm data,” says Spaumer.
For example, by sending a soil analysis shape file to one of the soil analysers appearing in the More Tools function on a farmer’s Operations Center, results can then be shared with, say, a tillage adviser and then a seed supplier. Once blended and analysed, all this data can be relayed back to a farmer’s planter, guiding the machine on how best to till the field, what seed to plant, at what depth and in which frequency. “The fuel, time, seed and reduced compacting savings that information like this can achieve, not to mention the yield increases, is set to transform how South Africans farm,” predicts Spaumer.
Third-party service providers that have already joined the John Deere More Tools platform include; Agritask Agronomic management platform, AgStudio, Cropsat, Delair.ai, Ecosat, Farm Dog Scout, Farm shots, Fieldclimate by Pessl Instruments, Fieldmargin, GeoFarm, Landscout Mobile app, Mavrx, Meteobot Local Weather & Soil, Next Farming Office, SoilOptix, and T3RRA Tools.
To expand the third-party supplier universe available to farmers on the More Tools option of its Operations Center, John Deere recently hosted a seminar promoting the advantages of listing on More Tools. Companies attending included; Aerobotics, RPAS consulting, Geoterra, Carrus fleet Management Services, Multi green, SGS, Agrisol, Agritechnovations, Mezzanine, BCS connect, Yara, Sion Agri, Nulandis, Axioteq, Novon retail.
The ‘Develop with Deere 2019’ seminar demonstrated how third-party suppliers can, “register on More Tools, by adopting available API`s and work through a ‘sand box’ testing period,” explained Spaumer. Once registered, South African farmers will be able to work with these companies, “by selecting them as trusted partners and granting them specific access to their data,” he added. The suppliers listed on More Tools can then rework the farmers data on their own software programs, returning information to the farmer based on their agreement.
John Deere, “encourages all firms working with farmers to join our More Tools function so that, together, we empower South Africa’s agricultural hardware with autonomous decision-making capabilities,” said Spaumer.
John Deere has plans for more seminars in 2020 aimed at attracting additional relevant third-party suppliers to register on More Tools. In the meantime, companies considering registering on More Tools can explore the function and make contact with John Deere at https://developer.deere.com/#!help&doc=HELPoverview.htm .
Projection tech transforms retail
By TIMOTHY WILSON, visual imaging business account manager at Epson South Africa
Display designs, such as those found in retail stores, are no longer confined to static visuals on pull-up banners, 2D print and posters. The increasingly popular use of projection technology has ushered in new and exciting ways to create immersive displays using rich media and high-quality visual content to go beyond the four walls of traditional marketing.
In the past, projectors were lamp-based and prone to failure when used in a harsh environment, such as a retail store. Today, newly introduced laser projection technology has unlocked a range of capabilities.
Transforming the way brands engage with audiences
Creative techniques such as projection mapping, which can be described as the projection of video, animation and other colourful displays onto 3D surfaces, have completely transformed the way brands engage with audiences and can live in retail spaces, concert halls and even sports stadiums.
Projection mapping offers venues wide-spread creativity in using lighting in small or large environments, as was the case with Epson’s showstopping kinetic portal, which implemented projection mapping on a 360 degree vortex at the largest AV and systems integration show in the world – Integrated Systems Europe 2019. Driven by a new, affordable generation of projectors, mapping not only covers flat walls and traditional projections screens but also irregular shapes, objects, and even entire building façades.
When projecting on a larger scale, such as at events and music concerts, the process of visually combining several projectors to display one single seamless image might sound simple enough in principle but can prove to be a challenging task in reality. To overcome this challenge, experiential marketers are adopting the use of image edge blending, which refers to the process of stacking multiple projectors to create a single overlapped projection that appears continuous and clear.
It’s due to these advancements that displays in retail and events no longer pivot just on aesthetic appeal but can now deliver immersive consumer experiences that drive engagement and increase foot traffic. This is starting to drastically change the way that retailers, events and even restaurants host, engage, entertain and communicate with their audiences.
Projection is driving growth in experiential marketing
Consumer interest in the transition towards projection has seen this technology take centre stage at leading retailers such as Mall of Africa, events by brands such as ABSA and restaurants like Saint, transforming their environments into immersive spaces through projection that displays captivating imagery and video.
Saint restaurant in Sandton has pushed the boundaries of branding and displays, transforming all surfaces into a visual delight. Patrons entering the restaurant are greeted by a visual experience within a dome, featuring a series of moving, constantly changing artworks – such as a starry night sky or a replica of the Sistine Chapel – projected onto walls and the ceiling.
In fact, EventTrack research, which showcases the current state of marketing around the globe, highlights the continuous growth of event and experiential marketing. It notes that high-quality projection technology, more specifically its ability to emit stunning visual experiences, has grown in popularity to become the go-to tool for event organisers and retailers looking to captivate and engage with consumers.
The future of projection technology
Projection technology has proven to be an outstanding, much more cost-effective and reliable form of marketing collateral – setting an entirely new standard for high-resolution projection.
Sandton City recently embraced this market-leading technology with the installation of a virtual aquarium in its Centre Court. This installation centred on creating a 3D mapping concept that enabled shoppers to select an undersea creature from a touchpad to swim across digitised hoarding.
With capabilities to meet the demands of large-scale projection and the ability to effectively transform the way brands remain visible at shopping malls, restaurants and retail spaces – the unprecedented imaging power of projection technology has set a considerably high bar when it comes to retail and event displays.
Epson, which is not only pioneering imaging technology and innovative projection solutions, is also the market leader when it comes to high lumen laser projection, having recently announced its 30,000 lumens laser projector (EB-L30000U) which will officially launch in 2020. This high-end installation laser projector, complete with 4K enhancement, is aimed at rental and staging companies, hospitality markets and visitor attractions, which is yet another progressive step towards transforming the way marketers engage with their consumers in the 21st century.
GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes
The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations
GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.
In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.
“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”
The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.
GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.
The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.
Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:
- Global giving trends and data
- Top 10 most generous countries
- Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
- Biggest moments in 2019
To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019