What IS big data? There are so many nuances to the term based on who and what company you ask, but we think this definition from Forbes is a good one: Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.
Big data has actually been around for decades (and was simply called “data”), but in recent years the term has become a hot buzzword in techie communities. Big data is everywhere, from financial institutions monitoring market trends, to media & entertainment tracking viewer/fan retention. Even the healthcare industry can now prove a drug’s ability to improve patient health through big data.
But how far can big data go to solve even BIGGER world problems like global food security?
Weather variability, policies, and lack of access to resources are all factors contributing to the global food crisis. But at aWhere, we think that big data can and will solve global food insecurity.
Here are 5 reasons why:
- Comprehensive 3rd party Weather Data = More Accurate Navigation of Weather Variability
Weather drives ag, ag drives economies. aWhere integrates weather data from thousands of ground stations and orbiting satellites around the globe. Thanks to publically available weather sources like NCAR, AWIS, and others, we offer the most comprehensive and accurate global weather system to date. For a free trial, click here.
- Scale Up or Drill Down = Scalable Data is Better Data
Let’s take the example of palm oil this year. A serious drought was predicted earlier this year in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s top two producers of palm oil fruit. This caused the market to prepare for a lower supply and increased prices for consumers. Unfortunately for companies investing in this crop, the drought did not come, and a surplus of palm oil fruit flooded the market, negatively impacting the entire value chain from consumer pricing and demand, to commercial revenue, to the income of the farmer.
This is where big data makes its power play. By pooling data from dozens of reliable sources, historical, current, and forecast weather data is more accurate with less surprises than ever before. Big data lets commercial companies scale up to immediately take a global or regional view for larger value chain decisions. Just as easily, a farmers’ cooperative can drill down into the data to make immediate field-level decisions as local as 9 sq. kilometers. Scale up or drill down, this is a game-changer in the effort toward sustainable agriculture and global food security.
- More Comprehensive Localized Weather = More Accurate Ag Decisions
Let’s take a closer look at how localized, field-level decisions can be made from big data. Suppose we have a small holder cassava farmer in West Africa. Although he is illiterate, he is knowledgeable and open to new technology that will help produce better yields. An intermediary company with direct access to this farmer uses our platform to receive field-specific data that is immediate and actionable. Our information feed can tell them when to comb a field for a particular pest threat or when to look for a specific crop disease relative to the weather conditions of this season.
This same intermediary company takes this customized, field-level information and sends alerts directly to the farmer through a mobile app that uses icons to communicate with the illiterate farmer. This puts the farmer in control of his field with data that is immediate, accurate, and relevant to him.
- Global data sets from third parties = Valuable Insights Alongside Your Own Data
Want to see what environmental, varietal, or socioeconomic factors impacted cassava yields in Nigeria from 2005-present to make more evidence-based future decisions for cassava producers throughout Africa? Big data can do that for you.
We pull public data from third party sources like the World Bank, FAO, and Harvest Choice and house it in an easy to use library to draw larger insights alongside your own data. This robust resource allows you to make larger global, regional or national decisions in the future, improving your bottom line or project objectives, while better feeding our world.
- One Platform Houses It All = Easier Decision-Making at Your Fingertips
In a single platform, view big data for weather, agricultural insights and global information right in front of you. For example, with a few clicks of a mouse, you can see the comprehensive impact of weather variability, public health efforts, and farmer trainings on overall rice production in the Philippines. Big data really gets that specific, all in one convenient place.
And let’s not forget, all of this big data is stored in the cloud, so your information assets will never disappear from a missing flash drive or sudden staff changes. It is your data, forever.
Want to learn more about what big data can do for you and your organization or company? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or request a demo.