The legacy of IoF2020

Joel Bacquet

Programme Officer at the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Dear reader,

We are now reaching the end of the IoF2020 project. The disruptive nature of the Internet of Things solutions requires the assessment of the benefits of the deployed innovation. It has to provide advantages compared to the traditional way of working. This is a prerequisite for any market adoption. The IoF2020 project demonstrated clear benefits and added value of the deployment of such IoT innovative solutions, in real settings. The IoF2020 project demonstrated that the whole internet-based food supply chain can benefit from the deployment of IoT technologies. IoF2020 was able to measure the level of user acceptability of IoT solutions in the "Internet of Food". It addressed user needs, expectations for food safety and traceability, data security, and privacy.

Among the important legacies of IoF2020 is the scaling up of an IoT Catalogue. This guide fosters the reusability across trials and sectors, listing all the methods deployed during the different Use Cases. It is great to see some of the Use cases expanding and going into full operational deployment. One example is the dairy farming study known as Happy Cow, where investment has been increased. Big-data analysis with machine learning technologies will also be deployed to help farmers better understand the needs of their animals. This will allow them to take preventive measures if any issue may arise.

The size of the project was the main challenge at the start. In terms of funding, number of partners, expected impact, and visibility, we had to manage on a large scale. The main priority was to avoid the project to evolve as a set of independent sub-projects with a loose connection to each other. The IoF2020 management team performed remarkably in setting up a reliable management structure with key staff. Considering the expected impact and visibility, it was a quite demanding but also rewarding task. It involved internal Commission dissemination and amplifying policy visibility with the set-up of parliamentary events. The communication was a great achievement in this project and a solution to overcome these challenges.

''The Commission’s goal is to support Europe’s farmworkers.''

Young farmers may not be against the use of digital technologies, on the contrary. However, these technologies have a cost and unless we are able to demonstrate their benefits they will not buy-in. Projects like IoF2020 and even more the Digital Innovation Hubs showcased by SmartAgriHubs, have a clear role to play in convincing young farmers. I understand that young farmers could be reluctant to join such a project at the start, as they might seem complicated at first. But when objectives and approaches are getting clearer, then young farmers could come on-board through mechanisms like the Open Calls.

The Commission’s goal is to support Europe’s farmworkers. It does so by investing in digital solutions, promoting user-friendly platforms, enhancing sustainability, performance and competitiveness in agriculture. IoF2020 has played an essential part in getting the ball rolling for the sector. IoF2020 project has demonstrated the strong role that emerging technologies can play in supporting farmers on the field. It showcased not only digital farming platforms but also new agricultural machine builders. Many of which are already available on the market and used in real-life applications today.

Joel Bacquet

Programme Officer at the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology