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Digital Twins in Farm Management


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The Internet of Things (IoT) provides a vision of a world in which the Internet extends into the real world embracing everyday objects. The interaction between real/physical and digital/virtual objects is an essential concept behind this vision. In the IoT, physical objects are accompanied by rich, globally accessible digital counterparts, which contain both current, historical and future information on that object’s physical properties, origin, ownership, and sensory context. Such digital twins enable things to become context aware and to sense, communicate, act, interact, exchange data, information and knowledge.
The introduction of digital twins as central means for the farm management has the potential to revolutionize agriculture. It removes fundamental constraints concerning place, time, and human observation. As a consequence, farming operations would no longer require physical proximity, which allows for remote monitoring, control and coordination of farm operations. Moreover, digital twins can be enriched with information that cannot be observed (or not accurately) by the human senses, e.g. sensor and satellite data. A final interesting angle is that digital twins do not only represent actual states, but can also reproduce historical states and simulate future states.
This presentation will introduce the concept of digital twins and illustrate its application in agriculture by some cases of the Smart Agri-Food and Fractals projects (2014-2016). As part of the FIWARE Accelerator Programme, these projects have promoted the uptake of Future Internet technologies in the European farming industry with a special focus on SMEs and start-ups. They provided direct funding, mentoring, coaching, technical support and networking. Smart Agri-Food has started with the 50 most promising companies and selected 17 SMEs to proceed in phase 2. Fractals supported 44 SMEs especially in areas which are considered as "white spots" (Balkans, South East Europe).

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Digital Twins in Farm Management

  1. 1. Digital Twins in Farm Management With illustrations from FIWARE Accelerators SmartAgriFood and Fractals Cor Verdouw, Jan Willem Kruize, Sjaak Wolfert, Grigoris Chatzikostas 11th International European Forum (Igls-Forum) (161st EAAE Seminar) on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks, February 13-17, 2017, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria
  2. 2. Internet of Things in Farm Management 2 Internet of Things
  3. 3. Digital Twins: • virtual, digital equivalents to physical objects • real-time and remotely connected • rich representations of the objects and its context Digital Twins in the Internet of Things 3 Physical Object Digital Twin ERP Systems Intelligence Services Mash-up Apps Graphical/ Geo Services Supply Chain Systems Ambient Sensors Mobile devices INTERNET
  4. 4. Remote Control of Farm Operations  Digital Twins remove fundamental constraints concerning: ● PLACE ● TIME ● HUMAN OBSERVATION  Decoupling physical and information flows of operations  Better sensing and monitoring of production  Better understanding of specific farming conditions 4 C U S T O M E R SFarm Processes Control S U P P L I E R S Virtualized Farm Management Digital Twins Physical Objects  More sophisticated and remote control of farm operations
  5. 5. Control systems based on Digital Twins 5 Digital Twins Physical Objects Dis- criminator Decision- maker Measure- ments Departures NormsControl Model SensorEffector Inter- ventions Virtual Views Virtual Interventions Added richness Data Acquisition Business Processes External Data Source: Verdouw, C.N., Beulens, A.J.M., Reijers, H.A., Vorst, J.G.A.J.v.d., 2015. A Control Model for Object Virtualization in Supply Chain Management. Computers in Industry 68, 116–131.
  6. 6. High-level information architecture 6 Data Platform Digital Twins device layer virtualization layer application layer Source Produce Deliver Farm Inputs Farm Resources Farm Outputs Information Handling Problem Notification Decision Making network layer
  7. 7. Smart Agri-Food & Fractals  FIWARE: set of public and royalty-free technology components that ease the development of Smart Applications in multiple sectors (Generic Enablers)  FIWARE Accelerator Programme: aims at promoting the take-up of FIWARE technologies ● 80M€ to support SMEs and entrepreneurs who will develop innovative applications based on FIWARE ● 19 Accelerator Projects, 2014-2016  Smart Agri-Food: supported 50 companies in phase 1 and selected 17 in phase 2  Fractals: 44 apps (focus Balkans, South East Europe) 7
  8. 8. Agriculture number 1 in the FIWARE Accelerator programme! 8Source: FI-Impact, 2015 D2.3 Ex Ante Impact Assessment and Forecast
  9. 9. Illustrative cases Smart Agri-Food & Fractals 9 Case Accelerator Topic Objects Dairy Monitor (Connecterra, NL) Smart AgriFood Heat detection, health analysis and location services Dairy cattle Open PD (Espiral Pixel, PT) Smart AgriFood Identification of plant pests and diseases Crops INSYLO (Ubikwa Systems, SP) Smart AgriFood Stock monitoring of feed silos of livestock farms and optimization of the replenishment Feed Silos FarmTelemetry (Lesprojekt, CZ) Fractals Fleet management, tracking machinery and energy monitoring Farm equipment OLIFLY (HarphaSea, SI) Fractals Monitoring of olive fly occurrence and expanding Olive trees BeeZon (GR) Fractals Apiary monitoring to identify diseases, pest infection, pesticide exposure and toxicity Bee colonies
  10. 10. Dairy Monitor (Connecterra, NL) 10
  11. 11. Open PD (Espiral Pixel, Portugal) 11
  12. 12. INSYLO (Ubikwa Systems, Spain) 12
  13. 13. FarmTelemetry (Lesprojekt, CZ) 13
  14. 14. OLIFLY (HarphaSea, Slovenia) 14
  15. 15. BeeZon (Greece) 15
  16. 16. Conclusions  Digital Twins enable farmers and other stakeholders to act immediately in case of (expected) deviations  Digital Twins are already used in innovative internet- based applications  Challenges ahead include: ● Digital twins of lower granularity levels ● Timely and reliable synchronisation with real objects ● Integration and interoperability ● Affordable solutions, especially for SMEs ● (Near) real-time optimization, simulation and decision support based on Digital Twins ● Autonomous, self-adaptive Digital Twins 16
  17. 17. Many thanks for your attention! Recommended reading: • Sundmaeker, H., Verdouw, C., SjaakWolfert, Freire, L.P., 2016. Internet of Food and Farm 2020, In: Vermesan, O., Friess, Peter (Ed.), Digitising the Industry River Publishers, pp. 129-150. • Verdouw, C., Wolfert, S., Tekinerdogan, B., 2016. Internet of Things in agriculture. CAB Reviews 11, 35, 1-11. • Verdouw, C.N., Beulens, A.J.M., Reijers, H.A., Vorst, J.G.A.J.v.d., 2015. A Control Model for Object Virtualization in Supply Chain Management. Computers in Industry 68, 116–131. • Verdouw, C.N., Wolfert, J., Beulens, A.J.M., Rialland, A., 2016. Virtualization of food supply chains with the Internet of Things. Journal of Food Engineering in press. 17