The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the communication between everyday objects, products and devices that network together and exchange data, with little or no human interaction.
There are many possible roles within the food manufacturing industry that would suitable for this type of technology. These include:
- Improved traceability
- Reduced food waste
- Increased efficiency
- Smarter handling of food products
- Improve the manufacturing process
- Optimise equipment in real time
- Better data collection
- Higher levels of food safety
All without the need for human interaction.
One technology in particular, RFID, holds potential to address a few issues within the food industry. This RFID technology uses a tag which contains a data chip that stores information about the product to which it’s attached. Not only is this technology reliable and inexpensive, but it has been used successful in industries such as apparel and farming for over a decade.
Think of this technology as a barcode, except that no line of sight in required and information can be read from a much greater distance.
Food producers work in a rapidly changing industry, working around constantly changing customer buying behaviour. A smarter, better connected system would allow greater adaptability as well as higher flexibility and would reduce the number of waste, as well as eliminate the risks involved with food production numbers.
The IoT is already well integrated into certain areas of food production:
“This is not a vision of the future – this is underway now,” says Dave Evans, former Chief Futurist at Cisco and co-founder and CTO of IoT company Stringify. “Companies such as IBM are utilizing technologies such as Watson in offerings like Precision Agriculture. They’re collecting real-time data on weather, soil and air quality, crop maturity, and even equipment and labor costs and availability, so predictive analytics can be used to make smarter decisions.”
The Internet of Things is already improving the way food farmed, we believe we’ll soon see this progress of technology in the way food is manufactured.