Capgemini announces development of Project FARM platform
Capgemini has announced its development of an intelligent data platform – Project FARM (financial and agricultural recommendation models).
The platform was designed using artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data to determine farming patterns generating insights for optimisation of the agricultural value chain in East Africa to strengthen global food supply. In addition to AI, the platform will use machine learning to make it applicable on a wider scale.
With a larger percentage of the world being fed by small famers primarily in developing countries, the complexity of the value chain, the lack of resources and the anticipation of a 60% increase in global food demand by 2050, Capgemini aims to tackle these issues with its Project FARM platform built in collaboration with Agrics.
The data and analytics generated by Project FARM will provide farmers with useful insights for tailor-made optimised crop production, potential business risks and commercial decision making, all of which can be distributed to value chain partners to eliminate inefficiencies.
“By connecting farming communities with data science, and big data with traditional farming methods, the FARM platform is built to optimize the value chain and bring parties together as an ecosystem around one data-driven platform. The platform can pave the way for bringing automated farming to small-scale farmers. With the increasing availability of open data and decreasing prices of sensors and satellite imagery, the future of farming is bright,” commented Julian van Velzen, Data Analyst at Capgemini, leading Project FARM.
Providers of data for Project FARM to run cloud based analytical models include:
Agrics, providing crop production data, potential and realised yield, field parameters, credit and repayments.
Copernicus, providing weather data via its satellites.
“Project FARM provides Agrics with an excellent opportunity to maximize value for its clients – the smallholder farmers – and to other actors in the value chain like processors and financial service providers. Through our interactions with the farmers we are on top of a huge reservoir of data. We can now turn this data into meaningful insights, which allows us to provide time and location specific products and services to increase yield and lower risk at farm and value chain level. Increased value chain effectiveness will help to directly improve income and food security of rural populations,” added Violanda de Man, Innovation Manager at Agrics East Africa.
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The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers
Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers.
Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”.
Which Jobs Are In Demand?
According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up.
Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees.
But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.
How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis?
As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own.
Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico.
To compete, here are some first steps:
- Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes
- Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
- Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers
Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.