Dattabot and GE Digital Work to Secure the Future of Agriculture in Indonesia

How Accessible Data Technology Empowers the Impact of Community-Driven Initiative
July 6, 2017
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A new day dawns for agriculture in Indonesia

It’s just before sunrise in Lampung province, where a man named Ahdi watches the horizon for first light. As a third-generation farmer, the physical work is second nature. He will soon gather his supplies and walk the same path to the fields as his father and grandfather before him. But today, something is different. In the waning darkness, for the first time ever, a smartphone springs to light. Ahdi smiles as he checks the conditions of his field: the direction of the wind, the moisture in the air, even the nitrogen content of his soil—all before he leaves his front porch. For generations, these fields have been farmed the same way. But for Ahdi’s children, a new era has begun—an era driven by rich data and powerful analytics. This is HARA by Dattabot built on GE’s Predix, and it will not only change the way Ahdi works his fields, it stands to make a direct impact on the food security and food sovereignty of an entire country.

A growing need for modernization

Agriculture is positioned to play a major role in Indonesia’s future. But the industry there is facing critical challenges at nearly every link in the value chain. Large agribusinesses do not have the land-related data they need to employ more efficient farming strategies, which has a direct impact on production costs, competitiveness, and profitability.

Additionally, large agribusinesses tend to focus on profitable export commodities, like palm oil and rubber. This puts the pressure of producing staples for everyday life—rice, soybeans, and other crops—squarely on small farms. Because many smaller operations still use traditional methods not suited for modern mass production, Indonesia must rely on imports to cover these gaps in the country’s food supply.

Agriculture in Indonesia

  • Represents 13.8% of GDP
  • Employs 40% of population

Breaking new ground

Across the board, Indonesia’s agriculture industry is facing one massive shortage. Data. This is where a company called Dattabot saw an opportunity. Dattabot is a big data analytics company dedicated to solving mission-critical challenges in healthcare, finance, government, and many other industries. Powered by the most advanced analytics and the most comprehensive data library in Indonesia, Dattabot unlocks hidden value in data by cleaning, collecting, and analyzing massive amounts of information and providing recommendations that deliver real value.

As a leader in developing connected, responsive, and predictive digital technologies, GE Digital was the perfect choice to partner with Dattabot in developing an app designed to transform Indonesia’s agriculture industry. To do this, Dattabot leveraged Predix, the world’s only cloud-based platform designed specifically for industrial-strength data, with one common connected language and a dedicated, purpose-built cloud. With GE Digital as a partner and Predix as their development backbone, Dattabot developed HARA—a smart-farming solution designed to help take Indonesia’s agriculture industry into the modern digital industrial age.

Accelerating development

The initial phases of HARA’s development were already underway prior to Dattabot’s partnership with GE Digital. Using only internal resources, Dattabot estimated new feature development would take two years. With GE Digital and Predix, Dattabot was able to remove barriers to development and streamline time-consuming integration and UX tasks, which effectively cut the new feature development from two years to one month.

 

Starting at the innovation layer

One of the ways Predix shortened Databox’s time-to-market was by allowing developers to start at the innovation layer. Dattabot used Predix microservices—reusable software modules—to reduce code complexity and move the company away from traditional architectures that slow development. This saved both time and money by using code that already exists, rather than creating modules from scratch.

The Predix catalog offered Dattabot a wide variety of microservices to choose from—geospatial services, anomaly detection, cyber-security, and more. The availability of these microservices left developers free to focus on issues that impact Indonesian farmers and the agriculture industry most, rather than focusing on the mechanics of app functionality.

 

HARA: Farming smarter, not harder

HARA is setting the stage for the next leap forward in Indonesia’s agricultural practices and food supply. Through a combination of historical data, manual feedback, sensor input, satellite imagery, and a powerful analytics engine, HARA provides a clear path to improved efficiency, profitability, and overall crop yield.

The application ensures consistent crop productivity and provides data-driven, value-added insights into farm and field potential; input and supply management; and the proactive mitigation of pests and disease.

Key features include:

Data acquisition: Modernizes and streamlines data acquisition by eliminating unreliable, time-consuming paper-based collection protocols.

Powerful analytics: Monitors farming progress and efficiency across millions of data points collected from thousands of hectares of land.

Precision agriculture insights: Delivers smart farming insights and effective strategy recommendations to ensure efficiency and optimal productivity.

 

Getting the lay of the land

Accurate field size information is difficult to come by in Indonesia. Before HARA, most of this information existed only in paper records or in the minds of those who work the fields. With HARA, this data can be collected, aggregated, stored, and accessed in a variety of different ways. Fields can be mapped by satellite or by simply walking the perimeter. Historical data and paper records can also be entered into the system to provide the most accurate picture possible of any given filed.

Optimizing inputs, maximizing outputs

Having access to actual field size information means farmers can now more accurately estimate the inputs needed to bring a crop to harvest: seed, fertilizer, pesticide, labor, etc. The data stored in HARA not only encourages more proactive farm management and more effective organization, it also has a direct impact on overall yield, productivity, and profitability.

Understanding the land’s potential

A field’s history is almost as difficult to come by in Indonesia as accurate size information. Many times, farmers plan a season’s crops without a clear picture of what’s been grown there before, or what chemicals the soil has been exposed to season after season. This historical data is important in the development of effective and long-lasting crop management strategies. HARA helps farmers develop a clearer picture of the soil profile—crop types, inputs used, results achieved—resulting in better soil management practices and data-driven recommendations that lead to greater efficiencies.

Protecting against pests and disease

A single pest or disease can wipe out an entire harvest. Farmers relying on traditional “trial and error” methods may not realize that treatment protocols have shifted due to changes in temperature, weather patterns, soil conditions, crop type, and more. HARA tracks the emergence of pests and disease to establish direct causal relationships between their appearance and the field conditions that trigger it. This removes the need for trial and error and, instead, allows for a more predictive and proactive approach driven by cause and effect.

Pest and disease data in HARA can then be used to build a more complete regional picture as more fields come online. Once this scales to the national level, the potential for interconnected data to control pests and disease, and to mitigate their impact on the nation’s food supply, is unprecedented.

 

Where will Dattabot grow next?

The GE Digital partnership helped bring international credibility, allowing Dattabot to open its plans for growth to a much broader market. With the robust technologies, expertise, and support GE Digital brings to the relationship, Dattabot sees great potential for HARA’s expansion across the entire agricultural value chain. This includes a wider distribution throughout Southeast Asia and an opportunity to expand the use of Predix into every vertical segment served by Dattabot—from consumer goods and financial institutions to healthcare and government agencies.

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“Dattabot set out to do more than change an industry, we set out to transform Indonesia’s future food sovereignty and security. GE’s Predix has helped us accelerate this transformation faster than we could’ve hoped.”

Dina Kosasih,

Dattabot, Agriculture Vertical Lead

Conclusion

Agriculture is deeply rooted in Indonesia’s history. Thanks to Dattabot and GE Digital, HARA is now positioned to help agriculture become a key driver in the country’s future. By reducing dependencies on imported food staples, increasing access to mission-critical farming data and analysis, and creating better communication between large agribusinesses and small-share farmers like Ahdi, HARA will help secure a more stable food supply—and a stronger agriculture industry—for generations to come.

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