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IBM Research and Hello Tractor Pilot Digital Wallet for Agriculture Based on AI and Blockchain

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Platform delivers new services for the agriculture value chain including tractor maintenance, fleet utilization, operator rankings, farm yield forecasting and microfinancing
LAGOS, NIGERIA, 11 December 2018: Scientists from IBM Research and start-up Hello Tractor are piloting an agriculture digital wallet and decision-making tool which provides demand and supply visibility for farmers, tractor fleet providers and banks to give farmers the equipment and technology they need to build a sustainable farm. The technology was unveiled today at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018.
In Sub Sahara Africa more than 60% of farms are powered by humans, with less than 20% provided by engines, a model which is not sustainable as food demand increases due population growth, which is averaging 11 million per year. In addition,according to the Food and Agriculture Organization 35-50% post-harvest losses for perishable agricultural products are lost annually in the region due to poor planting practices.
To address this, in 2014 Hello Tractor launched a mobile platform to enable farmers to access tractor services on demand. Using a mobile app, the service aggregates tractor service requests (e.g., ploughing) and then pairs them with recommended tractors and operators, while simultaneously tracking how many hours each piece of equipment is in the field and area serviced.
“Through valued relationships with companies like John Deere, we’ve been very successful in increasing mechanization access in smallholder communities. To reach the next level, we need to add additional services including predictive fleet utilization and maintenance; operator and tractor scoring; financing and the crop yield forecasting,” said Jehiel Oliver, CEO and Founder of Hello Tractor.
To achieve this, Hello Tractor turned to IBM’s research lab in Nairobi, Kenya. Scientists at the lab are working with Hello Tractor’s developers to apply several technologies, including Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, Blockchain, IoT and cloud, to bring new services to the app for tractor owners and dealers, farmers and banks. The new services will be tested in a pilot starting in the first half of 2019.
More specifically,
  • Farmers: machine learning will help to predict crop yields, which combined with advanced analytics and the blockchain, can be mined to develop a credit score for loans. Forecasted weather data from The Weather Company, an IBM business; remote sensing data (e.g., satellite); and IoT data from tractors will also be incorporated into the app to help small holder farmers know when to cultivate, the quality of their farm cultivation, what to plant, and the appropriate fertilizer using remoting sensing and IoT data. In the future, the IBM AgroPad technology, developed at IBM’s lab in Brazil, could also be incorporated to determine soil quality.
  • Tractor Fleet Owners: using machine learning and IoT owners will be able to view and manage fleet utilization, predictive maintenance and forecast future tractor utilizations based on history, real-time weather and remote sensing satellite data. Using a five-star rating system, tractor operators will be ranked and utilized based on their training (e.g., ploughing, deep ripping, harrow, fertilizing). Owners will also have financing opportunities, for maintenance and for buying new tractors and implements using historical data.
  • Tractor Dealers: can benefit from improved tractor repair and servicing, after sales support, spare part inventory planning and credit administration.
  • Banks and Financial Institutions: can view and track utilization of tractors to determine a credit portfolio for the farmer and tractor owner, while also evaluating forecasted utilization to make credit decisions for tractor owners based on verified and trusted data on the blockchain.
  • Governments: can utilize data and actionable insights for various decision support capabilities such as for structuring incentives, enforcing regulations prioritizing investments and policy decisions.
The backbone of the agriculture digital wallet is a blockchain-enabled and AI-based decision support platform, which enables capturing, tracking, and instant sharing of data, while creating end-to-end trust and transparency for all the parties involved across the agribusiness value chain.
“Our vision is to leverage AI, blockchain and the Internet of Things to digitize, optimize, and streamline agricultural business processes to create efficiencies and new services from farm-to-fork around the world,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa.
For the next phase of the project, IBM researchers and Hello Tractor engineers are looking to use machine learning with image recognition to predict the quality of cultivation. For example, remote sensing data combined with weather data could be used to predict the next harvest.  Plans are also underway to expand the platform beyond Nigeria to Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
For more details watch this video: https://youtu.be/d8c9zKw8GkM
About Hello Tractor 
Hello Tractor is focused on improving smallholder farmer’s access to timely and affordable tractor services along with other farm inputs. Our technology makes it easy and profitable for tractor owners to (1) monetize tractors as business assets and (2) connect with farmers to schedule tractor services. Hello Tractor’s innovative use of IoT (the Internet of Things) simplifies complex data to ensure transparency, profitability, and accountability across our ecosystem of farmers, tractor owners, tractor dealers, original equipment manufacturers, banks, and governments.
About IBM Research
For more than seven decades, IBM Research has defined the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers located across six continents. For more information about IBM Research, visit www.ibm.com/research.
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4 Essential Points To Consider Before Buying a Power Bank

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Power bank render (image: belkin), Article: John Neesham

Smartphones have emerged as an indispensable part of our lives. From the instant, we awaken we’re maximum probably to be using our smartphones most of the day. We need to either speak with other human beings or use it as a form of enjoyment through smartphones. You need to buy the best power bank which will help in your bad conditions where no charger can help you.

All these elements cause your battery to run low. Which is one of the fundamental motives why the best power bank exists. in recent times. While deciding to own an electricity financial institution you’ll find out that there are numerous alternatives on the market. How do you choose the right best portable power bank? You should consider the following listed reasons before buying a portable charger. The best power bank is one of the most beneficial devices nowadays.

Whenever you spot your cellphone or your Nintendo transfer about to die, plug it into a power financial institution. And it’ll start charging immediately. That stated, shopping for a strong financial institution isn’t that easy as it appears.  When you have purchased one and aren’t satisfied with it. We consider you could have neglected some crucial elements.

At the same time as buying an energy bank, you ought to don’t forget factors like the brand call, customer support. And the actual capability of the tool, among many different things.

  1. Portability

Whilst the portable charger is actually too big to be installed in your pocket or too heavy to hold around, may you be willing to apply it anymore? If you continually convey the transportable charger with you wherever you cross. You ought to not forget a light energy best portable power bank with a graceful design.

  1. The Capacity of The Power Bank

How frequently might you want to rate your digital devices without charging your electricity financial institution? that could be a query that the capability of the strongest financial institution can tell you. Every other critical question is, for what tool you’ll use your strong financial institution? A pc needs more energy than a phone. A phone can be charged with an electricity financial institution of 3.350 mAh however a pc wishes more electricity.  In need of a laptop energy bank? Use an energy bank with a capacity of 30.000 mAh or better. 

  1. Price and Quality

If you are searching for the best-power financial institution that suits your wishes. You have to look in addition to just the photos. check the specs and determine what specs are crucial for your usage of the strongest financial institution. Occasionally a less expensive model isn’t matching your desires. And the reasonably-priced energy bank may not last as long as you want.

Moreover, another cause to take a good look at the price exceptional ratio is the overload. A few reasonably-priced strength banks can overload and damage your electronic devices. All of our strength banks are tested and meet all ECU safety needs.

  1. Usage of The Power Bank

An energy financial institution may be used for greater than just one cause. A student can use an electricity financial institution inside the bus to school when there is no socket available. A climber can use the best portable power bank to use his smartphone when he needs to send an emergency signal. Or a survival specialist can use an outdoor power bank when a storm is raging over him.

 

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African fintech aYo looks to data to drive growth

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African fintech aYo Holdings Group CEO, Marius Botha (Image: Supplied)

African fintech aYo Holdings is transforming its technology back end and data management approach as it gears up to drive greater scale, better customer experience and faster access to markets across the African continent in the coming years.

The company already has more than 15 million customers using its microinsurance products across Uganda, Ghana, Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire, and Group CEO Marius Botha says its vision is to grow into the largest financial services technology platform in Africa by enabling the distribution of a range of affordable and accessible micro financial services products.

aYo and its shareholder, MTN, are currently working on the final details of a partnership with a new insurance group for access to more underwriter licenses, in order to expand its product range and penetrate more markets.

“We see ourselves as a technology company first and foremost, that happens to sell microinsurance now. As our customers transition to a world where financial services are easily accessible via mobile phone and transacted via apps and other channels. We need to respond with a platform business model that will allow us to scale rapidly and cost-effectively manage material volumes of nano transactions,” said Botha.

Part of this technology evolution has seen aYo transition to a cloud data warehousing approach. Using Snowflake as a solution as it looks to deal with growing volumes of customer data.

“Data is a key asset that we want to grow and leverage, as it will allow us to drive better outcomes and value for our customers. Moving into a new generation data warehousing capability gives us the ability to analyse usable data faster, and build automated models for particular use cases. Like more granular target market segmentation, retention strategies and targeted customer propositions,” said Botha.

Choice of technology plays a critical role in ensuring the affordability of micro financial services by driving ‘frictional costs’ out of the system. Like the costings involved in using legacy tools and processes, or online physical hosting solutions. A solution like Snowflake helps the company to scale up and down according to demand. And makes it easier to build real-time reporting capabilities which are key strategic aims.

“We’re excited to be experimenting with world-class technologies that help accelerate our vision to enable first-time access to financial services for many African consumers, and bring them into the economic mainstream. That’s where insurtechs are truly contributing to financial inclusion across the continent, and making a positive difference to people’s lives,” said Botha.

 

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Social media main enabler for growth among women-owned businesses

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95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool to drive their business ventures

Mastercard, the Official Payment Technology Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, and Female Fusion Network unveiled new research at the first in a series of workshops for the region’s female entrepreneurs at the world’s largest cultural gathering.

Held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion, in collaboration with Cartier, the session focused on the power of the digital economy in enabling women-owned businesses to go online. In a study conducted among Female Fusion’s network of 20,000+ members across the region, it was revealed that 95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool for their business ventures. Other channels include their own e-commerce websites (72%) as well as messaging services such as Facebook and Whatsapp (50%).

In addition, three out of four (72%) women-owned businesses said they rely on word of mouth to market their products and services. The workshop identified how SMEs can make the most of their online footprint, and better connect to their consumers in a digital economy.

Speakers included Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard, Sarah Beydoun, Founder and Creative Director of social impact fashion business Sarah’s Bag in Lebanon, Ioanna Angelidaki, co-founder of Instashop, and Maureen Hall, Founder and CEO of COÉGA Sunwear.

“The findings from the study indicate a clear need for further education and empowerment. Mastercard has long pushed for the success and growth of women as we break gender barriers around the world. Digital tools and technologies are the greatest equalizer for businesses and as the shift towards e-commerce becomes increasingly permanent, we are committed to helping women businesses go digital and grow digital as they pursue their entrepreneurial passions,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

The recent unveiling of the inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index also revealed that in terms of a digital footprint of the region’s women entrepreneurs, social media (71%) leads the way followed by a company website (57%).

“We are proud of the successful launch of our workshop series in partnership with Mastercard. As a growing community of ambitious women leaders, Female Fusion Network looks to support our members with access to platforms that offer simple yet effective takeaways for them to grow their business. We look forward to having more of these impactful sessions during Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Jennifer Blandos, Managing Partner, Female Fusion Network.

Mastercard has made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025 as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world. As part of its efforts, the technology leader recently launched  ‘The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey’ a first-of-its kind digital education platform that brings together a range of world-class academic and business resources to help small businesses learn and thrive.

 

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