Today, the dynamics of agriculture are changing. There is movement from traditional farming methods to smart farming. And Microsoft’s recent initiative is to help Indian farmers take advantage of this technology to grow more with the help of machine learning and data analytics.
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Software Giant, Microsoft has collaborated with International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Andhra Pradesh government, to develop a new mobile application for farmers.
This new mobile application will advise the Indian farmers on the best time to sow crops taking into consideration the weather conditions, soil and other indicators important for having a good crop. Along with this, the mobile app will also act as a personalized village advisory dashboard for the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The idea behind developing the Sowing App and providing Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard is to provide powerful cloud-based predictive analytics so that farmer feel empowered with information and insights that are required to take farming decisions. This app will help farmers to reduce crop failures and increase yield. This will lead to better income opportunity for the farmers.
The Sowing app has been made very user friendly by using graphics and giving it a colorful look so it can be more interactive and useful for farmers to understand. This application and service makes use of Cortana Intelligence Suite, Machine learning, Data Analytics & Power BI. This apps will use weather forecasting models provided by US- based aWhere Inc.
A pilot for this app has been recently launched. Under this pilot, farmers will be provided with information about the sowing date through SMS in their native language Telugu. Data Collection for this app involved collecting data manually by ICRISAT from farms in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. This data has been uploaded to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud and by applying powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tools, the app and dashboard will be able to provide important information about the soil condition, fertilizer recommendations, and weather forecast for 7 days.
Also the app and dashboard are loaded with in-depth data about rainfall of over the last 45 years and 10 years of groundnut sowing progress data for Kurnool district of AP. All this information and insights will help the farmers take correct and informative decisions to reduce their crop failures and improve yield.
Microsoft is using Machine Learning and analytics for other projects too. These include developing a machine learning based model which can be used to analyze and predict drop-outs so that preventive actions can be taken to boost education system. Also Microsoft is building a predictive model which will help to predict regression rates for eye operations, enabling doctors to identify the procedures needed to prevent and treat visual impairments.