A data standards initiative in the agricultural sector, AgGateway, gives some sharp insights into the impact data sharing can have on sectors beyond the home domain – including insurance. Farmers already collect masses of data used to control seeding rates and fertilizer regimes. Planting data is also shared with crop protection insurers. But in the future, there is likely to be even more data sharing, right across the value chain.
For example: “Conditions at the time of spraying and application rates might be supplemented with information protecting producers against claims that an application damaged another farmer’s crops or polluted the environment. Aggregated data might be used to regulate production, water use and sustainability measures.”
The argument for business data standards within an industry is well known. Standards promote collaboration, save money, promote agility, and enable innovation across-boundaries. As business sectors become more dependent on each other, and share more concerns with each other, data must flow efficiently and effectively across these connections. Standards must range widely, because business does.
AgGateway – a volunteer-run organization – is starting by creating a glossary of common terms such as “field” and “production”. From one historical point of view we're coming full circle. I recall that IT people refer to data slots as “fields” thanks to an inspired decision by the early computer pioneer Herman Hollerith, who was running a US agricultural census for the government. His team literally entered the fields. AG Web