Vinsight: Satellite Imagery, Big Data and Wineries
Feeding a global population that is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 is one of the major challenges of the 21st century and it will require a systemic transformation of our agricultural systems. A recent film, produced for the Disruptive Innovation Festival 2015, featuring Brazilian sugarcane farmer Leontino Balbo Jr., offers one of the most cutting edge perspectives on the potential for a new revitalising approach to agriculture.
The film concludes that agricultural and food system paradigms need to shift to ensure a prosperous future.
However, that doesn’t mean that big data and new technologies do not have a role to play in the future of agriculture. Vinsight, a Silicon Valley based startup, is one example of that. The company utilises NASA observation satellite imagery in combination with historical weather and harvest data to provide information on crop yields to farmers, which can then be used to make important harvesting decisions such as machinery and workforce requirements, as well as helping farmers to save on fertiliser and water usage. The technology’s initial use has been in assisting winery grape farms. Vinsight’s founder and CEO, Megan Nunes, told Circulate:
“Our product generates yield prediction at the per field, per state and per country levels four months in advance with just a 10% error rate. Current methodologies in yield prediction specifically related to grapes have an error rate of 30%. We believe that understanding yield performance prior to harvest will eventually aid in securing our global food supply for generations to come.”
The system is made both more efficient and more effective. New Internet of Things (IoT) enabled information-based products do not negate the need for a systemic shift, but the success enjoyed by startups like Vinsight and the positive impacts that they can make, does suggest that there is an opportunity for big data to play a role in improving global food supply chains.