Vladimír Šucha – New Technologies and Big Data: What Potential for the Agri-Food Sector?



first of all you're all welcome thank you for coming we have here dr. Vladimir Suja who's the director general of the joint research center of the European Union of the European Commission another and he's here to talk to us about what they're doing and looking into the future so we're very grateful and further ado we can start just to say they did the address the doctor suture is on the record but the discussion afterwards is under Chatham House Rules which is that you can say what you like and it won't be attributed to you or to your earning organization but it can be the information can be used so that's it I had to remind everybody if you have a phone to put it on silent or turn it off we hope to finish okay yeah thank you good afternoon we're happy to be here privilege and I'll be telling you first maybe a few words about the organization which is the European Commission science and knowledge service called John research center and I will probably start with introducing this organization in a few words size as the the title sighs we are scientific and knowledge service so that our mission is to provide cutting-edge knowledge scientific knowledge for policymaking of the European Union in entire policy cycle so that we are working at the beginning before the legislation or policy is designed then we are accompanying the Commission in the process of negotiations the we need the process of the legislative process in the European Parliament and the council we are providing additional information and then we are actually working quite a lot and it represents 70% of our activities roughly we are working in implementation and in implementations very often we are working with Member States because you know that is that it's the role of members say to implement the legislation so they are working very often with different national authorities standardization bodies etc in this respect so we have roughly 3,000 people we have the headquarters in Brussels but it's the small part of the of the organization and we have campuses with the labs because we do a lot of laboratory work we do the measurement we provide the we provide different standard reference materials actually we are together with us at least National Institute for Standards and Technology we are together the biggest producer of reference materials in the world so that very often if you do these reference materials is coming from us or it's coming from least in us them but we do it only in in very complicated cases there there is no business model because you know standard reference materials can be produced by private sector but in some cases it's not it's not profitable and it's for example in nuclear nuclear security and nuclear safeguards nobody is interested because this is a lot of private private good business but we do it ok so this is our our biggest advantages that we are independent on private commercial national interests so that we very often do the arbitrage between different member states if they have different opinions on implementation of something and inside the commission of issue they are not independent from European Commission and but between the Commission our biggest asset is to be policy neutral so then we are doing very often the arbitrage within different disputes as you can imagine the different policies they have their own interest of them we are very often in the middle and trying to put this debate on based on the facts and the evidence which is available so then we work very closely also with Central Services of European Commission which are doing all these decision-making among the services the prioritization and also we are supporting regulatory scrutiny board I don't know if you know what it is the regulatory scrutiny board is looking at every policy proposal which is going to the College of Commissioners for decision and they are checking the facts they are checking the robustness of the data models etc and we actually are providing them with a big fifty support because we are owners of roughly one hundred economic biophysical and nuclear models which you see there we are also having dim those number campuses some large scale research infrastructure which is now being open to all users from the EU because some of them they have a some spare capacity because they have been built long time ago and we don't use them anymore so then we have a lot of temporary stuff just to keep the flexibility because the research question and focus is changing according to the priorities and the needs so we also have a capacity of the fast response so then we have we are very big city in disaster risk response actually we are the biggest knowledge hub of Europe but one of the biggest in the in the world in in disaster risk analysis and response so than we are actually if there is something happening wherever in the world disaster between 2 to 4 hours we are producing the first assessment of the damage so it's really fast right so we are running for EU and for the world the Copernicus emergency system you know that Copernicus that will be referring to it for agriculture but Copernicus is the best Earth observation system in the world it's it's the baby of the EU and a small part of it is for emergency so then we are able to produce using this Copernicus emergency system the maps wherever it is needed on the globe because we can use the images and on the project this kind of stuff ok so this is us so then we are working with 30 different Commission departments was really our expertise ranges from nuclear safety security safeguards to financial markets so you mentioned ecology again some being here so did you feel ah the financial markets we are working very very closely with them and actually you know this bank guarantees and all this that all this stuff it was calculated by my colleagues on the basis of our models which we developed in this respect so it's it's really very wide range of competencies which used to be disadvantage because it was very difficult to communicate who we are and what is our field of expertise but now with these complex wicked problem problems and challenges of the society I think this is a cutting edge advantage because it's a very rare to have capacities under one roof for such a diverse characters than we are able to combine very unusual sets of skills within hours if there is if there isn't me okay good so today as it was announced I'm going to talk about about agri-food sector what we have been doing together very closely with Irish Commissioner actually Phil Haugen is the biggest ambassador of science for agriculture and he is a very good ambassador except of our Commissioner so that of our organization as well I was he visited us several times he is always calling for our expertise and it's amazing to work with him he's very good smart guy and I think that he is really moving Common Agricultural Policy in in a good direction we are very happy working with him so he was looking for different options and he was pushing his colleagues but also has to to look at what are the different technology options which are now available actually to revolutionize or improve all this agri-food sector so then this is going to tackle all those elements which are which are there so it's producers so what we may expect so obviously this data revolution and we'll talking about that it's real revolution it's not it's very often people are saying and my colleagues in the Commission as well you know data why are so excited by the data we have been always using the data and the official statistics has been established 150 years ago what's not new but it's a lot of which is it is going to to change profoundly as you may expect so it's it's this kind of different tools which sensors collect on collective data which is going to provide completely different different opportunities you know in the policies and in agricultural policy we have all these seven-year cycles so then what usually what's happening that there was some wishful thinking of policymaker legislature at the beginning and then only after five or seven years they were able to look back and to see okay it didn't work so that let's try something else so I've done again seven years so what we are now trying to do is just to have in time monitoring of the performance of the policy so then this data revolution is allowing us to monitor every farm and I have the coming talk to this in in real time so then you don't need if you need to correct your and there is in the in the middle this is not a not sort of artificial artificial diagram so this is what we have been testing in lombardia in Italy with large number fifteen thousand farms so it's this is this is a real-time monitoring of the performance of of the so it's obviously processors those who are processing the food distribution is going to be revolutionized they've been ten days ago to California and we had some meetings there and also why I took opportunity to visit few companies based on geospatial data and it's amazing what is what is already on the market how they can predict just by counting and recognizing the cars number of cars in the parking lot before it in front of the supermarkets they can they can really make the the estimation of the profit but also of the demand of the so it's really amazing what is what what is actually happening so then even before you go to the supermarket on the basis of data they can predict what they are going to buy not on the personal individual basis but you know on the basis of analysis of the pattern of the data of the behavior of the people in certain fields in certain regions they can perfectly preg going to be the level of consumption so it's very important because I think I've been saying one of the problem of the food sector in the EU is is food waste and if we if we want to reduce the footprint we have been talking about the climate environmental footprint so this is the best way we should be cutting of our our waste because it is it is something so ok consumers again it's going to be really really improvement for consumers because you can check what is the origin what is the lifetime lifecycle of every every piece of of the food which you are which you are doing so and obviously this is changing the life of the farmer it's changing the life of the of the agricultural sector because it is part of of the big big complex complex ecosystem which one needs to take into account to avoid policy mistakes because you know you remember if I mentioned one which is close to agriculture the policy mistake at the EU level it was a biofuel biofuel legislation that and this is because we totally ignored the complex complex point of view we have been looking at the climate issue we've been looking very narrowly at the co2 emissions and we said ok biofuels are great now I'm not very great because we didn't count in the D co2 emissions of the plants and we did not not take into account the increase of the price of the food and we did not take into account the fact that the oil palms are going to be grown somewhere else outside EU with a big big footprint and then this is even counterproductive so okay so this is what we need to and that's why this complex system analysis is very important that we are avoiding this this kind of grave mistake it's not only here but it's everywhere so then this is going to be complex system analysis and modeling and people talented in this field are going to be very very demanded species so it's going to be so this is this Cambrian explosion of data so you see this exponential increase of the data you see that we started somewhere around 2009 2010 so then somebody is saying you know that all the data produced by all humanity until 2009 is being produced in 2019 within one day so I don't know that this is true it's anecdote I don't think that it's possible to verify this but it just shows that it is really probably I am usually using the comparison with with with the press discovering of the press that the printing and the Gutenberg Revolution and obviously if you want to be gloomy and the Gutenberg and discovery was followed by 30 years for so because it was such a profound change in a society a society was unable to cope with it so then we need to make sure that the society is able to cope with this data revolution which is which is now now happening obviously there is one big challenge and that's the challenge also for a Greek food sector but it's in general for the data industry is energy consumption already now the energy consumption is at the level of 8 percent of the global energy production it's only for data centres and data processing so then if somebody thinks that there is a way of centralizing the data collecting the data imagine that we will have this we'll have this sensors on on the on the tractors and everywhere and this everything is going to be transferred to the big data centers it's absolutely impossible so we need to have something what we call edge computing or for computing so the processing of the data will be done at the edges where they are produced this the same applies for for autonomous cars connected cars we cannot there is no time to send the data to the data center and get back some response so all needs to be computed in the cars everything needs to be computed in your smartphones or in the when you have the sensors on the streets again this should be computed and only the meta data is going to be somehow centralized so it's very important element so this is what what was our our research showing what is the maturity and awareness of new technologies in the agriculture and what is actual adoption of these of these agriculture you see that this green the green histograms are awareness they know but it's far from oh it's far from being adopted that that well so there is one ongoing project which we do some behavioral analysis what would be the best approach how to work with the farmers to let them help them to actually adopt and then we have the huge issue of cyber security data security and Trust so we feel if we want farmers to to share their own data they need to trust platform they need to trust provider without data from from the farmers they are not going to to be able to provide all the services and to actually check the performance but they are not going to they're going to trust everybody so that they really need to be one element which is which is extremely important in this factories to make sure that there is a transparency of what is happening with the data and that that's also linked to one of our reports on artificial intelligence very we are proposing sort of European third way of using artificial intelligence and data because you know that we have us and it's a sort of less affair let's let's go as it as it goes run by industry then you have this Chinese Way which is centralized and it's a more Big Brother type of collection of data and watching people so none of those seem to be acceptable in Europe so in Europe we have to develop something which will be of small scale there you will have a traceability of what you are actually doing with the data and what it must be clear contract I give you the data but I'm going to get in in in response so I think that this is this is very very important from from that that point of view actually I described this so it's very difficult to convince a farmer to send the data to Yahoo and and you don't know what is happening to the data and you're not getting anything in return okay so this is that was a video of each I will show at the end we did a small animation of some anecdote about blockchain in a foot in a food chain how this can be used but let me go straight to it's not boring we are still with me too long okay good so I want to say what we are actually going to do are we are what we are doing for Common Agricultural Policy you know it's the biggest policy it's a very much criticized very often but actually is the biggest success of the EU people as we always you know we ignore that we had we have right now seventy years of peace we take it for granted and in 50s there was a lot of problems with the with the food security and actually the the Common Agricultural Policy removed this totally that does this problem does not exist in Europe anymore so I think this is thanks to to this commercial policy okay what we are going to do how this is going to respond to the new opportunities of the new technology so this is what we have been doing and actually it was the joint research center working over the years and you see that we have started at the very beginning of 90s already to implement the cutting-edge technology for agriculture and for Common Agricultural Policy so we are the most advanced place on this planet in land parcel identification system exactly thanks to early adoption of satellite imagery in early 90s and it was very low quality but nevertheless it was possible to use it but there was a huge advancement in in the meantime and now I show you this picture you see 1990s so that was directly the quality 2000 and 2015 2015 the Copernicus is allowing us to have not only the visual pictures but to have a multi spectral analysis of the field so then we know everything what is happening it is field and you see that the recognition is very strong I didn't put the picture of of different seasons but we have we have the picture of the same field taken every month and then you can perfectly watch what is happening in the field so then what actually is happening you know this error rate below 2% that's the mantra of the court of Auditors because the the common occurrence policy is consuming half of the budget of the EU so everybody is watching very diseased consume properly so that we cannot we cannot ignore so it's very important but what is annoying for everybody if somebody is watching you checking up on news that you have the audits and you have an and we have this responsibility and the duty to check physically six percent of the farms the field and this is what we want to to get rid of so that hopefully with this technology we will suppress all audits we are doing these audits of them we are going to make our life a little bit more we are not doing audits digi agriculture to you but we are doing all the work for them based on satellite images so this is exactly what what we may not be may get and then we will be just looking at the performance and will be informing in advance the farmers what is what is going on in their fields because we will have all this information because right now the capacity is that we can monitor every farm every field in Europe two to three times per week so that they can have high resolution high quality images with all these multi spectral analyses at least twice a week so which gives you fantastic opportunity ok so then this is what what we actually want to do with and this is obviously producing the big data that's why we are talking about big data the biggest problem is who is going to process the data who is going to provide the platform because we do not have the big players in Europe as you know we do not have Yahoo's Google Google is perfectly able to do it but do we want Google to to do this do we want the Google to to collect the data and provide now we don't want nobody wants this because we see that it's a little bit over the top so then this is the the biggest problem hopefully there there are a few platforms which are emerging which we are already now testing but they are able to provide the access to the data to all farmers and process the data which are going to be provided by a by farmer so then this is actually what are what is Barnardo's highlights this reliable modern fare simple preventive and performant these are the highlights of the of the new Common Agricultural Policy which is enabled by new technologies and we are working right now and we have another year 2020 and we have six member states and they are testing this methodology because a new Cup will be rolled out as of January 2021 so that we need to be ready for twenty seven eight I don't know countries across across EU so that we are starting to work with national authorities because that is very important for for payment so this is actually what is going to happen we will be asking the farmers just to send the pictures other picture from drone or from smartphone tacked processed pictures which will be sort of compared with v2 satellite imagery and then we can we can conclude on on performance or fulfilling the criteria for payments and because for payments you need to have there many criterias and some of you might know it better than me you need to have some green areas you need to have some untouched areas you need to have this and that so this is all possible to in real-time so this is just an example how this geotagged photos from farmers will be done so then you don't need to have all that you don't need to have national authorities going and to check up on you so this is what is actually possible so then this is the the list of all all possibilities or our supports which are going to be provided to farmers finely tailored information to farmers climate resilience a lot of assured practices and technologies which can be deployed development of digital advisory system the the automation of processes simplification easy data capture solution and obviously the big big issue is interoperability because every member state has a slightly different approach every farmer or groupings apartment will be using different devices so that big issue as always is interoperability but it is obviously solvable ok so this is what the new Common Agricultural Policy is aiming at and you see there are this blue stuff is what in you is supposed to do and this yellow part is what member states are supposed to do in in this respect and we are somewhere in the middle because we are working with the Commission on this blue stuff but we are also working with member states very closely they have been working with each and every paying agency of the Member States because this ALP is this one parcel identification system so that we have been helping and working with them and we are going to to help them to implement all these all these me which are linked to to the new measures and the anti adoption of the new new technologies okay so this is the overview of of the conclusions what four dimension I don't think that I need to repeat it it's going to be a revolution I think it's going to be very positive revolution I hope that all testing piloting this year and next year is going to bring positive results we have a lot of positive results and well I hope that once again agriculture will be ahead of everybody and it will be huge huge sector and it will be early adopter of the advanced technologies to improve the life of of the farmers improve the quality of their products for for the use of of everybody so if you still alive and I will try to hello I thought I'd tell you about all the attention I get from blockchain which monitors my daily movements my friends and I love blockchains new shared network oh it's a bit like being on social media a tomato knows have toughie candy to gain trust once you're with the blockchain crowd it's easy to mingle but we tomatoes also like to feel that our data is safe blockchain tightens the lid increasing that security and it has a data validation protocol that guarantees a system virtually impregnable to any naughty business the peer-to-peer network D centralizes and streamlines the process by eliminating intermediaries blockchains culture transparency allows you to see right through us so we've absolutely nothing to hide and the data from all our transactions is locked no one can delete or modify it even if they want where we grow and wherever we decide to travel within the food supply chain you can easily trace us you could even see on which farm I was grown what I was fed from where I was processed before landing on your supermarket shelves blockchain enables the identification of safety breaches shielding consumers from potential hazards instant access to data such as on trade volumes or delivery times provides clients with greater market transparency smart contracts enable transactions to automatically activated by your preset instructions blockchain streamlines the management of the supply chain by eliminating useless intermediaries uniting the physical and the digital food worlds is one of the many key challenges that blockchain or any other digital technologies used for this purpose apparently faces blockchain is a young technology not yet fully delivering in terms of performance or scaling up the capacity use cases need to be developed to decide the best architecture options and security measures blockchain of the significant improvements in an add reboot sector that merits being explored thoroughly you

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