The Benefits of Nearshore Software Development in the Modern Agricultural Industry
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), by 2050 we’ll need to increase food production by 50% to meet demands. As a result, the agricultural industry is experiencing a shift from traditional farming methods to modern, smart farming.
Today’s emerging technologies enable farmers to monitor, plan and control agricultural processes. According to Zion Market Research
, the global smart agriculture market size will triple by 2025, reaching $15.3 billion. Given the complexity of the technology involved, farmers are turning to nearshore development services
to help them increase their productivity and their profits.
Nearshore software development involves outsourcing a project to a country that’s geographically close to the host country. For example, many farms in the USA outsource their software development to Latin America, where digital skills are in abundance. Some of the most commonly outsourced agricultural projects to nearshore providers include
● Breeding Software
● Fish Management
● Lifecycle tracking
● Stock Analysis Tools
● Fishery and aquafarming apps
● Equipment Management
● Accounting App Integration
Access to Top Developer Talent
Agriculture software ecosystems are complex. The following graphic from the Computers and Electronics in Agriculture journal provides a simplified overview of how each element of a farm ecosystem works together:
The complexity of such ecosystems warrants the need for talented professionals to develop new solutions. With nearshore software services, farms have access to a team who not only has the technical expertise to deliver complex projects, but the industry knowledge to make products as effective as possible.
Nearshore software companies provide farms with immediate access to technical expertise. There are no associated delays with recruiting full-time staff and there are no ongoing costs for staff training. With a nearshore provider, farmers only pay for the expertise they need.
Integration with Internet of Things and Cloud Technologies
According to Business Intelligence, the number of agriculture IoT device installations will reach 75 million by 2020, growing at a rate of 20% annually. In order for smart monitoring to be successful, all devices and components need to integrate seamlessly. An experienced software team will already have the expertise required to ensure that smart products function faultlessly.
IoT technologies provide better control over internal processes. The data generated from interconnected devices can be used to improve the quality of produce and reduce associated risks. For example, there are integrated analytics platforms that help farmers manage weather risk and crop health.
With increasing amounts of data being generated from equipment and systems, farms also need efficient and reliable cloud storage. A lack of connectivity and bandwidth in remote areas makes data storage particularly challenging for the agricultural industry.
An experienced software team will understand the need for an integrated storage solution that provides immediate access to data located in distributed repositories. This, in turn, will enable farmers to make informed production decisions quickly.
Additional Consumer Value
Nearshore development enables agricultural enterprises to generate smart farming products faster than they could by hiring full-time employees. This also benefits consumers as higher quality products are made available as demand requires.
Hiring external expertise provides a fresh perspective. It can help enterprises identify additional ways of improving consumer value that may have been overlooked. Working with highly skilled developers means fewer issues with products, which results in more reliable data and higher quality produce.
The following graphic from the Computers and Electronics in Agriculture journal illustrates how support services from external providers, coupled with technology can achieve productivity:
Software-enabled agricultural systems like this enable farms to meet the challenges of increasing food production to feed a growing population.
Improved Security and Compliance
According to Ping Identity’s Digital Transformation report, 91% of companies believe security is very important to their company’s success in digital transformation.
Security best practices in software development are constantly evolving. A good nearshore software provider will keep up to date with the latest security trends and innovations. Given that cybercrime will cost companies $5.2 trillion over the next five years, there’s an increasing need for farms to have a solid security strategy built into the software development lifecycle.
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Threats to Precision Agriculture report, the agricultural industry is unique because ‘it took a highly mechanical labor-intensive industry and connected it online, dramatically increasing the attack space available to threat actors.’ As a result, the consequences of a cyber attack in agriculture can be far-reaching, from data theft to the destruction of equipment.
Given the volume of data handled by smart farm ecosystems, security audits need to be conducted regularly. Nearshore providers will use the data gathered from audits to ensure that new security standards set by the Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA) are met.
In summary, the agricultural industry is shifting towards modern, smart farming methods. Through emerging technologies, farmers are able to monitor, plan and control agricultural processes. As IoT takes hold in the industry, farms will need a development team that can integrate devices and components seamlessly.
Nearshore software companies provide immediate access to some of the best developers in the world. An experienced provider will also work to overcome the challenges of access to cloud connectivity in rural areas. External expertise provides a fresh perspective that can help farms identify ways to improve the consumer experience. A diligent nearshore company will ensure that farms comply with regulations set by the OADA.