NOV 2014 – Agriculture Sensors at AVANTES

Should the Big Data Market in Agriculture Pave the Way for Small Spectro-Sensors on the Field ?

Just after its recent deal with “the Climate Corporation”, Monsanto, a seed-producer noted that data sciences in Agriculture is nowadays a 15 billion EUR opportunity in the next years, through high value to create in data acquisition (sensors, robots and drones) as well as in data treatment (weather analytics, data fusion). Each acre will need to produce more food while being tended to by a smaller and smaller group of growers. This will mean tailored and the less-invasive possible solutions that ensure that every plant is optimized.

For years, in the labs, benchtop NMR and Infrared spectroscopy were widely used for quantitative and qualitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gases in food, agriculture and environmental sensing. The conjunction of new requirements in precision agriculture, food safety and security and the continuous progress in photonic hardware development (in thin film coatings and gratings, in MEMS technologies, in Microfluidic devices) move these former benchtop spectrometers to a new generation of miniaturized and rugged NIR and FTIR devices allowing on-site, point-of-use, fast and content-rich analyses of samples.

Significant recent opportunities in the Agriculture Big data market, should speed-up the deployment of these high-tech sensors. For end-users, the main question is still about the value and the exploitation of these meaningful, spatially and temporally distributed data, and for photonics manufacturers, to find the best way to put these technologies on the field or on the line.

The key question about the former cited opportunity remains: how will the 15billion EUR opportunities of revenues be shared between farmers, photonics sensors manufacturers, insurance companies, global data management companies and all other stakeholders…?

Starting from this point, the workshop will mobilize different stakeholders in the value chain to have:
their perception of the key drivers in these markets
the critical nature of sensors in the new business models
the positioning of photonics ones among all incumbent sensors
and the relevancy of the mini and microspectroscopic devices among other photonics-enabled devices