Spark drives IoT adoption in agri-sector through digital tool

Spark has launched a new digital-assessment tool aimed at the agri-sector in New Zealand, delivered through a partnership with Digital Journey.

James Henderson Jun 14th 2018
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Spark has launched a new digital-assessment tool aimed at the agri-sector in New Zealand, delivered through a partnership with Digital Journey.

Under the banner of Spark Agri Assessment, the offering comes in response to accelerated market innovation in agriculture across the country, alongside growth opportunities through the Internet of Things (IoT).

According to Spark research, the agri-business sector is well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities associated with IoT, with over 50 per cent of the telco giant’s partners focused on specialist solutions for the sector.

As a result, Spark has a developed the tool - which is free of charge - and available to non-Spark customers.

After answering a series of questions covering mobile technology through to sensors on the farm, participants are delivered a personalised digital action plan that lays out the areas they could consider working on.

“Farmers and agri-businesses have been some of the first to adopt smart technologies to revolutionise the way they work, some even founding IoT businesses to solve pain points they face in their day-to-day working lives,” Spark general manager of IoT solutions, Michael Stribling, said.

“The innovation we’re seeing in the agri-sector is extraordinary, farmers have always used kiwi ingenuity to work smarter and now they’re taking that number 8 wire mentality to the next level with technology.”

But despite growing opportunity, farmers and agri-businesses may have some way to go in making the most of the technology available to them.

According to Digital Journey findings, 35 per cent of agri-businesses are using cloud-based services, trailing nationwide business use of 52 per cent.

“The data shows farmers are more receptive to technology that makes a practical difference in real time, for example, using an IoT platform to read the pH level of soil in a field and then making a decision on what to plant there in the short term,” Stribling explained.

Delving deeper, Stribling said agri-businesses can market themselves better online by maintaining an online presence, with 35 per cent of the sector doing this compared to 50 per cent nationwide across all sectors.

“We’re seeing a majority who still aren’t tapping into things that are now considered ‘the basics’, like cloud services and being online,” Stribling observed. “For those who just don’t know where to begin, the new digital assessment tool will provide a starting point.”

Founded in 2014, Digital Journey is a Christchurch-based digital agency with expertise across internet and digital technologies, spanning strategy, assessments and coaching.