How IoT Technology Is Changing Post-Harvest Transparency in 2020

Mitch Denton   |   March 30, 2020
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The UN reports that a statistic you don't read much about is there is over $1 trillion produced crops lost to those that need it most during the post-harvest stage. $1 trillion dollars of post-crop harvest can feed a lot of hungry people. An answer to this dilemma is being discovered through IoT technology (Internet of Things).

IoT is being used in a sector that's not ever been given much thought, and that sector is in agriculture. If technology can come up with a way to prevent post-harvest food waste, the world can feed more people in need. By feeding people who live in arid conditions or can't ever grow or have enough food, you also help make the world a better place.

IoT can help post-harvest agriculture by connecting and orchestrating data on IoT devices through analytics-driven action. The use of IoT can change post-harvest agriculture in how it harvests and stores food products. Read on to discover more about the changing world of agriculture and how IoT is providing solutions to past agricultural challenges.

IoT Technology

Before giving you a list of how IoT technology can benefit post-harvest transparency, it's beneficial to understand the meaning of IoT technology and how it's used in this technology space. IoT technology is defined as a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with the ability to transfer data. The transfer of this data is done over a network with unique identifiers (UID's) that don't require human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

The most common example of IoT technology that most people can relate to is the autonomous car. The self-driving car doesn't need any human interaction to work. There are many sensors in play in the autonomous, vehicle and those sensors work in blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, radar, and more. 

Now that autonomous cars are a reality, what if there were innovative and dependable technology solutions designed to make things easier for the post-harvest farmer, grower, distributor just as impressive and impactful as the autonomous car? Below you will find that IoT technology already provides some post-harvest solutions.

IoT Technology Supply Chain Problems

The impact of IoT technology on the post-harvest supply chain and its transparency is acquired through a wireless sensor network. This wireless sensor network collects the data from different types of sensors set up with the farmer, grower, and distributor. The sensors send machine learning algorithms for Big Data analysis and post-harvest information to the main server using a wireless protocol.

The collected data compiles various and different environmental factor information. The ecological factor information helps monitor the system in areas that help improve the yield of the crop. It's the environmental factors that most affect productivity in agriculture with things like insects, pests, wild animals, weather, soil conditions, etc.

In post-harvest situations, you also have to deal with problems in the storage of harvested crops. Solving this ongoing issue requires the development of an integrated system that takes care of all the factors that impact productivity in every stage of growth, transportation, and storage.

IoT Technology Supply Chain Solutions

IoT technology has created smart agricultural systems just like you use on your phone or in an autonomous car. Some of the supply chain problems now have solutions that use IoT GPS remote-controlled robots that perform weeding, spraying, moisture sensing, and more smart functions. Other solutions to the ongoing challenges with harvest and post-harvest are the use of smart irrigation with smart control real-time field data.

IoT Technology can now store the food in post-harvest smart warehouses that use temperature maintenance, humidity maintenance, and theft detection. By performing all post-harvest transparent storage systems, you're helping to create a more viable harvest that can be used by those who need it. All of these IoT technologies are controlled through remote smart devices or computers that are connected to the Internet.

Sometimes the operations of the IoT technology are provided by interfacing sensors, Wi-Fi, ZigBee modules, or another interfacing device through cameras and actuators with micro-controllers and chipboard computer systems. IoT technology is being utilised across every dimension in the supply chain, which helps improve its transparency and reduces fresh produce losses such as RipeTime’s Environmental Sensor that can detect and monitor the chemical compound levels surround stored fresh produce, identifying and forecasting optimal ripeness delivery times and providing actionable data for cold chain employees to act upon.

IoT Technology and Post-Harvest Transparency

A large part of the cold chain, occurs within the stages of storage and shipping. These areas alone account for 17% of the loss that occurs in global production. By using IoT technology to sense and transmit from bulk storage by monitoring the entire product mass, you've made the bulk storage transparent. The losses usually occur during the raw material storage, processing, milling, and distribution stages.

The solutions use sensors that can record increased measurements of oxygen, ethylene and carbon dioxide concentrations. Hence, you have more accurate readings to know if there's a serious threat to the stored crops. Also, the same sensors can improve insect elimination of stored crops or by monitoring the crops during transport. You’re now covering many of the post-harvest problems by using IoT technology-driven solutions until the product is delivered to the manufacturer or retailer.

The Way Forward

IoT possesses strong monitoring features that help increase transparency for post-harvest crops and also every stage of agricultural challenges from planting to delivery. The increased efficiency and transparency provided by IoT technology solutions are time-saving, and help provide a better quality of life for many around the world. IoT technology is now solving problems that have plagued agricultural industries for centuries.

Of all the industries employing IoT technology into their structures, sustainable post-harvest practices are the most in need of IoT support.

That's why RipeTime is dedicated to innovative and dependable technology solutions that make operational tasks easier for users. Reach out to RipeTime when you're ready to solve your post-harvest challenges.

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