Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

IoT helps food companies meet global supply chain challenges, says Inmarsat

Steve Rogerson
July 18, 2017

Food producers are turning to the IoT to help meet more stringent requirement in the supply chain, according to a report from satellite company Inmarsat.
Agritech businesses are helping many food producers to meet increasingly stringent import requirements by monitoring production, food hygiene and sustainability through the use of IoT thus, accelerating the globalisation of food production.
At a time when both consumer and regulatory pressure is bearing upon food producers, nearly half of those in the agritech industry (49%) considered monitoring and improving health and safety as their first, second or third priority in the development of IoT for the agricultural sector due to industry and government regulation requirements.
The report sees an acceleration in the globalisation of food production by enabling developing country food producers to export to developed economies, where the regulations originate from.
Both the USA and the EU have been raising import standards as concerns about sustainable and safe food production gather pace by, for example, imposing new traceability standards on fish imports.
Nearly half the agritech respondents in Inmarsat’s ‘IoT in Enterprise 2017’ report ranked monitoring and improving health and safety due to industry and government regulation requirements as the main priority in the deployment of IoT applications for the agricultural sector.
Environmental monitoring was the second most important reason for the development of IoT services, further reinforcing the importance of regulatory demands in driving the adoption of the IoT in many sectors.
“Consumers are becoming more conscious of where their food is coming from and how this is impacting their environment and carbon footprint, while also developing a taste for organic and ethically sourced produce,” said Paul Gudonis, president of UK-based Inmarsat Enterprise. “With government environmental standards reinforcing these trends and becoming more stringent, environmental, social and financial sustainability is now at the top of the agricultural agenda. This creates a framework of complex standards and regulations, many of which present logistical and operational challenges for the agritech industry.”
IoT sensors can help the industry keep track of their produce from farm to fork, ensuring import standards are adhered to, regularly monitored and never breached. This ability to track food through the whole supply chain is opening up new markets – particularly in the EU and USA – for agribusinesses based in the developing world.
“Inmarsat is working with a variety of agritech companies globally to improve supply-chain efficiencies, particularly in locations where satellite plays a key part in the connectivity mix,” said Gudonis. “We are seeing food producers rising to the challenge by deploying technology to improve traceability and increase visibility over their operations, leading to access into the richest food markets as they are able to easily demonstrate compliance with these standards. Not only will this stand to enrich developing economies, it will also increase competition and lower prices in developed markets, while importantly conserving our precious natural resources.”
Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organisations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air.