The UK’s farming industry is facing a number of challenges – could advanced technology and communications infrastructure help solve them?  

Agri-food is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK – twice the scale of automotive and aerospace combined – supporting a food chain which generates a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £113bn, with 3.9m employees. Currently, the sector is grappling with the need to increase production to meet demand, doing so sustainably and with environmentally positive methods in the face of reduced availability of labour. Precision agriculture and related technologies offer smart solutions, with the use of sensors and robotics aiding famers with accurate data and real-time monitoring, enabling an information-based decision making approach to farm management. The use of tech can help improve yields and optimise the return on inputs.   

The use of this technology is predicated on the high quality connectivity of private or dedicated telecoms networks in the farm environment. But coverage is a challenge, due to the remote or “hard to reach” location in which farms are located. The 2022 Release 17 of the 3GPP standards for 5G will include non-terrestrial networks, including satellite – enabling the provision of 5G via satellite and other non-terrestrial networks across the UK.   

So is now the perfect time to understand how the agri-food and telecoms sector can come together to unlock the benefits of advanced technology for the rural economy?   

Join techUK for this unique event in which we explore the key issues facing food production and agriculture in the UK, and how technology—from industrial IoT, automation, robotics, AI and machine learning—empowered by satellite and terrestrial networks can offer a solution. We will seek to understand the major benefits of technology for UK farms and the food sector through real life use cases, including the world's first robotic farm, and what the adoption of advanced machinery means for connecting rural communities.   

This event will focus on:  

  • How advanced telecoms networks can aid the sustainability of the food industry and help to address labour shortages  
  • How technology and connectivity can reduce the environmental impact of the farming sector, while meeting increasing demand for food and agricultural products  
  • How the health of the rural economy can be boosted by “Smart” farms as connectivity hubs in hard to reach areas of the UK 
  • The impact of expanding connectivity for farmers on reducing the digital divide and increasing connectivity for rural communities 

Speakers

  • John Davies, Senior Research Manager, BT
  • Professor Simon Pearson, Director of LIAT/Professor of Agri-Food Technology, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology
  • Jennifer Manner, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at EchoStar Corporation
  • Freddie Wilby, Head of Delivery at WHP Telecoms Limited
  • More TBC