What Agribusinesses Should Do To Profit From Modern-Day Satellite Technologies Agribusinesses get a broad spectrum of benefits from satellite technologies but only if they do their homework first.

By Rim Elijah

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As I speak to various agriculture industry representatives wanting to supply their clients with sustainable solutions to address today's food crisis, I often hear how they either hesitate about the newest satellite technologies or are not sure how to utilize them best.

In this article, I'd like to explain what satellite technologies are about in agriculture, how industry players can leverage them to help farmers address food security issues, and how to make sure your future partnership with a sattech company will be most fruitful.

Related: How Agritech Enables Earth-Friendly Agriculture

The role of sattech in the future of farming

In the agriculture industry, modern sattech solutions come as mobile and web apps accessible from any Internet-connected device. Once new images and insights are ready, a farmer opens the tool to get visually clear and up-to-date information on the state of their lands.

Yet the global goal behind this market is not just to make a handy tool to simplify crop management but to help humanity fight hunger and reach food sustainability. One of the United Nations' sustainable development goals is to end hunger by 2030, and the commercial market of satellite technologies might make the most significant contribution to achieving this outcome.

How satellites and remote sensing help farmers

Simply put, remote sensing satellites take pictures of the Earth daily. After that, these images get processed and analyzed using modern machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to provide various industry players with actionable insights.

As technologies advance, the data satellites collect increasingly impacts our lives, whether we're talking about weather forecasts, news broadcasting, or even personal security. That is why the overall sattech market is expected to grow by 6.5% every year up until at least 2028, when it'll reach $4.7B.

The top three benefits provided by today's satellite-based analytics platforms for agriculture businesses are:

  1. Vegetation Indices. By looking at the fields over time through different sensors, the software can provide you with visual analytics on crop development dynamics, the photosynthetic activity of the canopy cover, water body turbidity and more.
  2. Field Management. Farmers who maintain big crop areas find it difficult to look after them. By being able to watch fields from the sky and send scouts to problematic areas, farmers can react more quickly and keep their crops at top productivity.
  3. Forecasts. Since satellites also track weather, analytics platforms can inform users about weather forecasts and climate changes to help them improve their irrigation and fertilization practices.

Satellite-based analytics platforms provide farmers with the most extensive reports on their fields, accessible with one click of a web link.

Related: Can Satellite Imagery Help Bridge the Gap of Food Security?

How agribusinesses can profit from satellites

Today, when significant catastrophes happen, satellite images help us assess the damage scale and the consequences' nature. However, the same can be applied to smaller changes in soil, water bodies or vegetation. Moreover, by analyzing historical data and certain biophysical parameters of the land in question, these changes can be noticed in time and even anticipated.

Hence the ultimate goal of agribusinesses is to help their clients take care of their lands and produce more yields by predicting the behavior of their crops with satellite technologies. Here are a few examples.

Because of climate change, insurance companies are challenged to generate risk profiles for their clients in the agriculture industry. In their case, satellite technologies help assess the global warming risks when lending loans to farming cooperatives and agro holdings.

The end-to-end digital platforms that help food growers and commodity buyers get raw materials and monitor their fields leverage remote sensing to reach more markets and expand their possibilities. For instance, satellite technologies allow forecasting input supply needs and studying farmers' preferences in a targeted area.

One of nature conservation agencies' activities is to review landowners' claims about crop damage caused by wildlife. Before deciding if a claim should be covered, it is necessary to conduct an investigation involving collecting various data and performing scouting tasks. To speed up investigations, nature conservation agencies utilize satellite-based platforms for field management and near-real-time monitoring.

Related: Seven Points to Consider When Going Digital in Agriculture

How you should prepare for sattech

Before approaching sattech companies, businesses must make preliminary work.

First, you should know your market. When agribusinesses don't know their competitors, current market trends, and the expectations of their target audiences, chances are using modern tech will go sideways. That's because sattech companies must understand how they can help you succeed to evaluate the potential of the partnership.

Then, you should have a clearly defined growth strategy. I often see agribusinesses expecting to build profit by adding a margin to the satellite technology solutions and reselling them. But such an attitude has never worked this way. A roadmap of further actions turns out to be crucial for the fruitful utilization of satellite technologies in the agriculture industry. Only when you know how you and your clients will be able to grow through innovations will you generate sustainable profits from it.

Finally, companies must know their users' attitudes to satellite technologies. It might be so that, for example, a huge amount of effort will be needed to market the innovations. For that, multiple activities like webinars, consultations and workshops might do, and some sattech partners might help with it.

Ultimately, the biggest fallacy about sattech offers I see on the market is that businesses are convinced that technologies can solve any challenge. Yet it's not the solution they should focus on, but the problem.

Satellite-based software is never one-size-fits-all and can't be used out of the box.

The market is well-saturated, with multiple companies pursuing different goals and providing extra services for their partners. Finding a perfect sattech partner today means as much as the technology you're chasing after.

Wavy Line
Rim Elijah

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

VP of Sales at EOS Data Analytics

Rim Elijah is the VP of Sales at EOS Data Analytics, a global provider of AI-powered satellite imagery analytics. Rim began her journey as a Partner Account Executive in 2020 and founded the partner program. Her entire focus lies in transforming EOSDA into a worldwide leader in the Ag industry.

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