Smart technology can greatly benefit farms but selecting and deploying it can be a daunting process. An EU-funded network is stimulating the uptake of ICT-backed innovation that can help make agriculture more productive, resource efficient and profitable.
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The EU-funded Smart-AKIS project is dedicated to smart farming technology an area of ICT-backed innovation that includes precision agriculture and farm management information systems, as well as automation and robotics. The partners involved 13 from eight countries have set up a thematic network to boost and streamline the interaction between research, industry, agricultural advisory services and the European farming community.
In addition to raising awareness of smart technologies that are already available to farmers, the partners are striving to intensify the dialogue about existing and prospective advances. To further these aims, they have developed an online platform that notably features a database of innovative solutions at different levels of technology readiness including a wide variety of products that are already on the market.
A questionnaire enables farmers to pinpoint technologies relevant to their specific activities. Registered users can interact via a dedicated message board, posting questions and entries such as collaboration offers or event announcements and thereby helping to develop an open community.
Opportunities for researchers and practitioners to meet up, jointly explore needs and possibilities and shape innovation projects and initiatives together are offered by the networks seven innovation hubs. Each of these centres, which are located in different countries, is due to organise three innovation workshops before the end of the project in August 2018.
Smart-AKIS is one of several EU-funded thematic networks promoted by the European Innovation Partnership for agricultural productivity and sustainability (EIP-Agri), which was launched by the European Commission in 2012. A number of these networks are dedicated to overarching topics such as the one addressed in Smart-AKIS, while others focus on specific aspects relevant to crops or livestock.