Digitalisation and automation are set to change the agro-plantation landscape

According to OFO Tech, drone technology represents only one component of the wider spectrum of key IR 4.0 technologies. Other components include artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and IoT technology; combined with drones to create robust asset management solutions for key sectors.  

Highlighting the potential, the agriculture-plantation industry has with drones, Armi Majid Managing Director and Founder of OFO Tech says the sector is undergoing technology transformation aiming to digitalise and automate operations to improve yield production and reduce operational costs.  

“Our solutions will integrate cutting edge techniques, such as remote sensing, machine learning and data analytics, to enhance land inventory management through digitalisation and automation. Our systems provide reality-and-real time-based information of land and crop condition to optimise land management and crop production,” he says.  

The process via automation and digitalisation is expected to eliminate human intervention and at the same time increase productivity.  

The startup is also optimistic that both digitalisation and automation is set to change the agro-plantation landscape with more high-skilled workers filling the labour market. “The NTIS programme will shed more light on new technology applications and its disruptive potential towards conventional methods practiced in key economic sectors,” he says.  

Majid says that the NTIS is currently the best platform available on a National level to spearhead new innovative technology. “Instead of having to knock on individual agency doors, the NTIS facilitates good exposure of our technology and solutions, enabling wide public and private sectors to learn about our offering,” he highlights.  

Upon successful project implementation, the adoption and commercialisation of the product concept can be scaled faster due to the validation by the NTIS programme.  

“Naturally, the integration of new technology requires talent up skilling. We believe our project will help introduce FELDA settlers to new technology. In turn, new technology application will attract the younger generation to explore farming and plantation more widespread,” Majid added.  

OFO also states that the drone services will help to solve several societal and sectoral issues that includes food security and demand for higher income. “In the next 15 years, 60% of our farmers will be retiring and at the same time, food security in the face of an increasing population is demanding for higher production yields,” he tells BusinessToday.  

OFO believes their approach can encourage the younger generation to explore the “boring” agriculture sector through the adoption of new “sexy” technology and also increase productivity and crop yield through the optimisation of key technology enablers.  

Success story 

Commenting on a successful case study, Majid says OFO provides users a base map of the plantation land. They automate the tree counting process or inventory management of the land. OFO’s in-house team has developed AI that enables 99.7 percent accuracy for tree counting activity.  

This enables better planning and management efforts to be undertaken.  

“One client had over 9,000 acres of land and assumed it had over 280,000 trees. But when we monitored the location and ran our tree counting algorithm, we discovered that the total amount of trees was below 220,000, 60,000 trees lesser,” Majid says.  

This meant that the client had been buying fertiliser and pesticides for excess amount. The remaining surplus represents inefficient buying and unnecessary cost.  

After commissioning OFO’s system, plantation management and planning became more transparent, effective and cost-efficient as the system enables for more areas of cost savings to be found for plantation manager operations.  

On the side of regulations, Majid says technology in the field has progressed much faster than the regulatory framework can adapt. Fortunately, however, the NTIS serves as the Government’s attempts to promotes new ideas and technology.  

This, Majid says, is orchestrated though multi-agency efforts to identify, evaluate and revise certain regulatory framework to enable the implementation of the said innovation technology.  

“All together, we believe that NTIS will spearhead needed regulatory revision to become conducive to such change through the multi-agency platform,” he concludes.  

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