The IoF2020 heritage

Edwin Hecker

Partner Schuttelaar & Partners

This year, IoF2020 will come to an end. As managing partner at Schuttelaar and Partners, and the communications and dissemination lead on the project, I look back with satisfaction and pride. The conclusion of IoF2020 comes at a challenging time: COVID-19 demands a lot from all of us, not in the least the agrifood sector. The current situation has shown the importance and potential of these digital projects, and we hope that one of the outcomes of IoF2020 could be to make strides in that development.

IoF2020 started over three years ago, with the development of elements including the design, corporate identity, and the website. Quite soon after, business resources and use cases were starting up. Year 2 of the project saw an open call add 14 new use cases. The newly set-up network by Work Package 5 began to interact and partnerships were formed. Ever since, social media channels have been followed and used extensively, the newsletter is being read by more people every month, built up from WP 5, social media channels are frequently used, the newsletter is read by more and more people and associations are increasingly connected. The ecosystem is growing day by day. With the new developments, the entire sector can contribute to a more sustainable and healthier agri-food sector. Associations such as Copa-Cogeca, EPI Agri, CEJA, and CEMA are using our platform to become more connected to one another. Their exposure also became greater, with news and events shared through IoF2020 reaching new audiences with their knowledge.  
Needless to say that what we have been able to pull off in this time, has been quite extraordinary and has me feeling extremely proud. One of my personal highlights, was the 2019 event in Prague, where both IoF2020 and Smart AgriHubs came together and presented all aspects of the projects in the exhibition. We were looking forward on going forth in that elan with this year’s Buchares event, which sadly has been cancelled.  

The knowledge gathered during this entire process has an impact on society

The knowledge gathered during this entire process has an impact on society. IoF2020 contributes to the digitalization of the entire agri-food chain, which means greater output with less input. The entire agri-food chain benefits. Entrepreneurs can use these ideas, which means that this contributes to support in sustainability and health. Due to accurate and precise data, a higher output can be generated with less input. 
The project does not stop here, of course. Yes, we are in the final phase of the project as it stands, but IoF2020 will leave a rich heritage, and will have left its mark on the development of digital solutions in the agrifood sector. We are preparing a use case catalogue as a final product, which will be a tool that will stay relevant for years to come. This catalogue will include stories from entrepreneurs, in which they tell how digital tools and IoF2020 had an impact on their way of working, positive experiences, and yes, critiques on and by the different use cases. This will hopefully inspire and help other entrepreneurs. The digital leg of the catalogue will be a range of videos to be broadcasted on a specific channel, to be seen worldwide. Lastly, the Smart Agrihubs’ Innovation Portal will house all the information surrounding the use cases, including the catalogue, and videos.  
I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work on this project, and with the inspiring people in it, and I am sure that the seeds of digital agriculture have been sown. I am excited for the future! 

- Edwin Hecker Partner Schuttelaar & Partners