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How IoT is transforming the agriculture industry

Telstra Vantage™

Posted on September 21, 2017

3 min read

Exporting fresh produce over 7,000 kilometres from Australia to China is not an easy task. At Peloris I’m in the business of connecting Australian producers to the rapidly expanding Asian markets for imported premium food categories. One of our biggest export items is fresh milk to China.

Three years ago, it was impossible for us to export milk products to China. It could take more than two weeks for a shipment of milk just to pass through Chinese quarantine, which we all know exceeds the milk shelf life. Fast forward to today, we are now responsible for around 40 per cent of all fresh milk exports into China worldwide. This weekend we’re celebrating a pretty exciting milestone – with our two millionth litre of fresh milk arriving in China. We know it will arrive on time and at the right temperature, as always.

How did we make the export of fresh milk commercially viable? With a lot of persistence and the helping hand of the Internet of Things technology.

A few years ago we were seeing the great impact that drones and robots were having on the agriculture industry. We took notice and started to think about the logical extension of this ‘internet of things’ technology to the supply chain as well.

Technology has helped open up new markets for exporting fresh food. We did this in partnership with Telstra and M2M Connectivity, who helped us tailor Sendum technology to create a solution that ensures the integrity and traceability of the fresh milk. It means we can access data in real time to assure the quality of the milk by monitoring the temperature all the way from the farm to when it arrives in China. This visibility and transparency allows us to see the products at all stages of the supply chain, helping to improve overall efficiency. From my hometown of Woolgooga, NSW, I can monitor exports across the world.

Thanks to this technology we have been endorsed by China Inspection and Quarantine Bureau for rapid border clearance for China food imports. Where it used to take two to three weeks to clear shipments, we can now achieve this in just 36 hours.

The Internet of Things technology has also provided the ability for our partners, in our case food producers, exporters, and Chinese quarantine officials, to monitor temperature and conditions of any perishable goods shipped in, including location  – all in real time.

One of the great things about this technology is that it also provides the consumers who buy the milk with the same information, so they can have confidence in the integrity and quality of the food they are purchasing. This enhanced consumer confidence in the product leads to increased demand which is good for Australian producers.

Technology has created new possibilities for Peloris. We’re already developing channels to market for other short shelf life products into China and new markets across Asia. We have already established an office in Malaysia, which has potential to be a hub for us to start a supply chain for foods such as dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables and chilled seafood from Australia into the ASEAN region including Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. With technology and the right partners, Peloris has been able to improve the performance of the food export cold chain, helping us reach and grow new markets for Australian produce.

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