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Spark launches new digital-assessment tool for agri-sector

Spark launches new digital-assessment tool to boost agri-sector

Spark, together with partner Digital Journey, has launched Spark Agri Assessment, a tool specifically for the agri-sector. The tool is a response to huge growth in Agribusinesses innovation, coupled with data showing below average uptake when compared to other industries.

According to Spark, the agribusiness sector could see some of the fastest growth in IoT technology, with over 50% of the company’s IoT partners focused on solutions for this industry.

Spark has developed the new tool, which is free of charge, and available to the entire sector including non-Spark customers. After answering a series of questions covering mobile technology through to sensors on the farm, participants are delivered a personalised digital action plan that lays out the areas they could consider working on.

Spark’s General Manager IoT Solutions, Michael Stribling, says Spark is seeing IoT solutions come to market for the Agribusiness sector faster than any other.

“Farmers and agribusinesses have been some of the first to adopt smart technologies to revolutionise the way they work, some even founding IoT businesses to solve pain points they face in their day-to-day working lives.

“The innovation we’re seeing in the agri-sector is extraordinary, farmers have always used kiwi ingenuity to work smarter and now they’re taking that number 8 wire mentality to the next level with technology.”

However, despite growing opportunity, farmers and agribusinesses may have some way to go in making the most of the technology available to them. Recent data from Spark partner Digital Journey indicates 35% of agribusinesses are using cloud-based services, trailing nationwide business use of 52%.

Stribling says, “The data shows farmers are more receptive to technology that makes a practical difference in real time, for example, using an IoT platform to read the pH level of soil in a field and then making a decision on what to plant there in the short term.”

There is also space for agribusinesses to market themselves better online by maintaining an online presence, with 35% of the sector doing this compared to 50% nationwide across all sectors.

With MBIE estimating a NZ$34 billion productivity impact if more businesses made better use of the internet1, and with agribusiness contributing NZ$7824 million to New Zealand’s annual GDP2, the fact that many aren’t harnessing opportunities in connected technology is concerning, and it’s something Spark is wanting to help change.

“We’re seeing a majority who still aren’t tapping into things that are now considered ‘the basics’, like cloud services and being online. For those who just don’t know where to begin, the new digital assessment tool will provide a starting point,” said Stribling.

The Spark agri assessment is being launched in time for Fieldays, and Spark is encouraging anyone heading to the event to take the 15-minute assessment beforehand, to help focus the conversations they have with technology providers at the event.

Alternatively, people visiting Fieldays can head along to Spark’s Fieldays site F56, where a number of smart solutions and agritech experts will be available to talk.


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