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The Internet of Things Aids of Food Production

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By Peter Clarke, JD on March 20, 2018 6:57 AM

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), what might come to mind are "things" like the automatic regulation of settings in the home and routine ordering of household products when supplies are low. But IoT applications are more diverse than that and can be of greater societal importance, for example, when seeking to increase food production for our heavily populated planet.

In a recent article in TheAtlantic.com, a company is profiled called Sid Wainer & Son. Wainer has sold speciality foods using heirloom tomatoes, green eggplants and fig-infused balsamic vinegar in the New England area for more than a century. But more recently, the Wainer farm has gone high-tech.

Indeed, it has installed digital sensors in its wells to determine the rapidity of water level restoration after days without rain. In addition, Wainer has placed sensors in its fields and greenhouses to assess humidity, temperature, and light. The data yielded from these sensors is reviewed by Wainer to assist in determining where and how to plant next.

Fields close to wells that refill fast, for example, are preferred picks for water-demanding plants like strawberries and tomatoes. And, as another example, greenhouse sensors assist in deciding the best temperature to keep plants vital during cold winters.

These types of IoT devices are capable of generating tremendous amounts of data. And such data can be streamed to the cloud -- where it potentially can be analyzed, shared and considered when implementing wider decisions. In fact, TheAtlantic.com article states that IoT sensors and big data are starting to supplant the Farmers' Almanac as the most valued information resource for modern agriculture.

As we move into the future, let's hope that the IoT provides these types of broad-scale and valuable benefits.

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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