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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Big Data - It's All About Relationships

This interesting article talks about what big data really is and how it affects agriculture.  Read these interesting examples of how Amazon ships goods even before they're ordered.

 

See what one farmer says is the key to big data and how it affects his farm.

 

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So What?

In this discussion, we explored the dimensions of Big Data -- 3Vs and an A. The Volume dimension links directly to the "Big" component of Big Data. Variety, Velocity and Analytics relate to the "Data" aspect. While Volume is important, strategic change and managerial challenges will be driven by Variety, Velocity, and especially Analytics. Unfortunately, media and advertising tend to emphasize Volume; it's easy to impress with really, really large numbers. But farmers and agricultural managers shouldn't be distracted by statistics on Volume.

Big Data's potential doesn't rest on having lots of numbers or even having the world's largest spreadsheet. Instead, the ability to integrate across numerous and novel data sources is key. The point of doing this is to create new managerial insights that enable better decisions. While Volume and Variety are necessary, Analytics is what allows for fusion across data sources and new knowledge to be created.

Emphasizing the critical role of Variety of data sources and Analytics capabilities is particularly important for production agriculture. Individual farms and other agricultural firms aren't likely to possess the entire range of data sources needed to optimize value creation. Further, sophisticated and specialized Analytics competencies will be required. To be effective, however, the computer science competencies also need to be combined with knowledge of the business and science aspects of agricultural production.

At times this sounds complicated and maybe threatening. Visiting with a farmer from Ohio about this topic recently, he made a comment that is helpful in unraveling this complexity. He noted that effective use of Big Data for him as a Midwestern farmer is mainly about relationships. The relevant question is, "Which input and information suppliers and customers can provide the Big Data capabilities for him to optimize his decisions?" And he noted, "For farmers, managing those relationships isn't new!""

 

 

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Big Data - It's All About Relationships

http://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2015/11/big-data-alive-and-growing-in-food-sector.html

 

Just one of many observations:

 

"While understanding the consumer is critical, food manufacturers also employ Big Data tools to design, produce, and consistently deliver the desired product. Coca-Cola's Simply Orange juice product is an example of such a technology-enhanced offering. "Satellite imagery, complicated data algorithms, even a juice pipeline are all part of the recipe. ...A computer model directs everything from picking schedules to the blend to maintain a consistent taste" (Stanford 2013).

It is interesting to speculate about the direction by which the motivation for change and the adoption of Big Data could occur. As illustrated by the preceding Coca-Cola example, needs identified at the consumer level can now be transmitted to affect operations at the farm level."

 

 

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