AI at Water Week Expo, Dubai

Henri Kivioja 03-05-2022 Smart society

“How will we protect our most precious
resource today, for tomorrow?”

A big question set the theme for the Water Week Expo held at Dubai, UAE, from the 19th of March to the 26th. Protecting the most precious resource expands beyond the conservation of the environment. The context here is business and the usage of water therein.

Dubai is absolutely bustling with new business and continuing expansion. High-technology solutions are sought and implemented in building and maintaining the cities and societies of tomorrow; it is only natural that topics of blue economy, water-based ecosystems and water management are at the crux of the matters at hand.

RAIN’s Artificial Intelligence is the revolutionary foundation and catalyst for building Smart Cities and Smart Societies. Invigorating business opportunities made a busy schedule for our week at Dubai. We met with investors and new customers during the expo - from the energy sector to city planning, water works and hospitality, and of course one of the most topical fields of industries globally: agriculture.

According to a study by Markets&Markets agriculture industry investments into AI technologies and solutions will grow from $1 billion to $4 billion by 2026 - it is exactly here where we come in.

Agriculture is one of the world’s backbones. A traditional industry and therefore one that stands to benefit most from new technologies and solutions put into practice - where AI is working at the core.

AI will be the inevitable and relentless partner for growth and development in the agriculture industry. From absolute efficiency in the use of resources, autonomous work robots, to real-time product quality monitoring and management. AI empowers farms with real-time actionable information that goes all the way down into the very soil - our business and travel partner on the trip to Dubai is a Finnish agrotechnology company Soil Scout.

There is data in the soil

With 90% of land surface covered in sand, there are extraordinary measures to be taken when considering farming. United Arab Emirates is on a technological journey and it all begins with understanding the composition of the land masses.

Contradictory to common belief, soil is not just a uniform growing substrate that could be tackled as a traditional geometrical 2D area. A more suitable image would be a lasagne made out of living ingredients which all have their own will and behavior. Soil texture varies inside every field just like the amount of sauce and cheese, both spatially as well as vertically.

Modern tools for farming

And that’s just the mechanical starting point. Add varying water retention and capillarity, topography, organic matter content, uneven rain showers, non-uniform irrigation and spice it with microbiology and soil fauna, and you’ll be better off building a dynamic 3D model of a jungle than trying to squeeze soil conditions into algorithms.

Acquiring soil condition measurements is a delicate and arduous process that requires lots of manual work - up till now. This is where Soil Scout rumbles in.

A patented underground radio antenna enables a farmer or a greenkeeper to bury any number of palm-sized wireless soil sensors and practically forget them. The maintenance free sensors will send hourly moisture, temperature and salinity data and can remain buried for decades due to their exceptional power management technology.

Underground radio antenna units

Finally being able to put fields online, the whole agronomic community can start combining that real-time underground data with everything else they already know and see - the data from geo databases, lidar surface maps, aerial and satellite images, weather radars, on-the-go sensors, crop health meters and you name it. Finally, correlations can be found as underground data is there to obtain in an effortless and feasible manner.

Making it RAIN

While just knowing what goes on in the underground is a revelation alone for soil experts, AI has huge potential in pushing that shocker a few steps further. The first AI step will be to cross-validate moisture conditions at the sensor locations to produce a dynamic model for presenting the situation in every square meter falling in between the sensors. The next step will be producing underground weather forecasts, and when all that falls in place, there will eventually be the opportunity to start generating recommendations based on AI, not to replace agronomy, but to give farmers both a sixth sense and a crystal ball.

Agriculture will be an AI game, increasingly. Smaller farms can get more produce from each and every square meter of their field, whereas larger farmlands can control the yield of their fields down to the tiniest of details. Add to that the autonomous robotics working with AI on real-time data to help the workload, enabling people to focus on other work matters.

This is high technology in action if anything is!

RAIN believes in speed, cost and flex. Your work will be future-proof and you will work 100 times better than yesterday.