What if it were possible to use Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology to track a shipment of milk from the dairy, through pasteurization and bottling, across distribution and delivery systems, and onto the table? Suppose a shipment of goat cheese from Athens to New York is accidentally mislabeled, and an alert from an M2M system catches the mistake before the ground crew sends the cheese to Beijing.

 

M2M familyOr think about a steak dinner in an upscale restaurant in Chicago, Paris, or Tokyo. Imagine that M2M data traces the steak through the entire supply chain: the farm in Argentina that raised the steer, the beef processing plant, the refrigerated container on the ship, the truck from the dock to the warehouse, and the local delivery to the back door of the kitchen.

Finally, consider the “Internet of Udders,” the idea of using technology to track everything from health status through the methane output and lifespan among the 87 million head of cattle in the U.S.

M2M meets agriculture, food and livestock

You’re probably accustomed to reading about M2M as it applies to cities, industries, and connected cars. And if you step back and look at the common features of M2M applications, you’ll see that they’re built to address two issues common to every business: keeping assets moving smoothly to market, and reducing the risk of waste or disappearance along the way.

That’s why the potential for M2M in food, agriculture, and livestock is growing as well: business owners want the ability to track their goods from source to destination and ensure that perishables do not spoil or stray on the way to market. Of course, most businesses track and protect their assets manually, but the quantity of people and paperwork required is prohibitive. Increasingly smart M2M technology can:

  • Find assets anywhere. Whether it’s a bulldozer or a container of fruit, the first question every manager asks – and M2M answers – is, “Where are my assets?”
  • Create geofences and alerts. You can’t know everything about a shipment that’s in transit, but you can create geofences to alert you if the shipment suddenly strays. This helps reduce the risk of theft or disappearance.
  • Capture asset integrity data en route. It may be true that there’s no use crying over spilled milk. However, if the milk first spoils in a trailer with a failing cooling unit, the consumer won’t even get the chance to spill it. M2M transmits important metrics like temperature, pressure, running time, altitude and moisture, to help protect the integrity of the shipment.

M2M has a big role to play in “precision farming,” which includes smart planting, smart watering, livestock management, soil monitoring and other methods of making agriculture sustainable and reducing the greenhouse gases emitted by getting food from field to table.

M2M Solutions Resource Center

To research the impact and applications of M2M in food, agriculture, livestock and many other areas, access the new virtual M2M Solutions Resource Center. You’ll find videos, blog posts, white papers and other materials you can use to assess how your organization can implement and profit from M2M. You’ll find an M2M overview and solutions for asset management, energy, heavy equipment, and other use cases, along with projects from the AT&T Foundry. To register and access the resource center, click here.

What scenarios can you imagine for M2M in food, agriculture and livestock?