Farm performance can digital technology transform farm marketing

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layman's point of view, a lot of what
you're talking about was monitoring at the
moment, is their capacity for it to be a two-way thing. So you could, for example,
monitor stock in a paddock, and then say, OK, it's time
for them to move and open a gate remotely, or are
we kind of not there yet? TOM RAYNER: Yeah. So the short answer is yes,
it will be a two-way platform, but the technology
has been designed to have many, many terminals
talking to one satellite, not one satellite talking
to many, many terminals. So firmware upgrades over
the year will be possible. So if you need to
update something, you won't have to go
around and plug-in your USB into every
single water tank around Australia, which is good. The complications around having
one device opening a gate is a little bit
more problematic. But I mean, look. It'll happen. It's just not going to
be in the first rollout of our commercial product. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ:
And do you think– you're talking about this
being small data at the moment.

Obviously, as time goes
on, people will probably want to see bigger data. I know using my
mobile phone, I used to think having a gig
a month was heaps. Now, I burn through it in a day. Is that going to change
as well, do you think? TOM RAYNER: Look, the
foundation of our technology has specifically been designed
for small amounts of data to make it as cheap as possible. Now, it's classic
horses for courses. So different
communications platforms. And we're not the only ag IoT
communication platform that will be applicable out there. There are plenty of others. And it's a horses for
courses situation. The analogy that I
use is that you can– for small IoT transmissions
using existing satellite technology is a little
bit like riding a pushbike down a freeway. Now, you can do it
really well, but you're paying for the associated
infrastructure overheads and so it becomes
very expensive. What we've done is
actually build a bike lane to ride a bike down. In fact, we've actually
made a bike lane and we can drive hundreds of
thousands of bikes down it.

That works really well
until you try and drive a truck down the bike lane. So it's a horses for
courses situation. And we know where we've
focused and where we add value. And that's in the small
data transmission. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: OK. Any questions from the audience? Put your hand up very high
so I can see it, if anybody does have a question. While you're continuing to
think, a question for Hayley. You're talking,
Hayley, about that idea of going carbon neutral. And you kind of touched on
this, but to expand on it a little bit. Do you feel like
the demand from that is coming from your customers? Do you feel like it's coming
from you as a company? HAYLEY PURBRICK: I think it
will come from our customers eventually. I think as Tanya was saying,
cost is still the number 1 driver of purchasing behaviour. I think it's going to become
an expectation that everybody does it point blank. If companies aren't
doing it, then they're just not going to be
competitive, full stop. But from our perspective,
it's certainly something that our international
customers are driving, not something that our
Australian customers are driving.

I think in Australia,
we take for granted that we live in a country
with beautiful, clean air and an abundance– well, it doesn't always feel
like an abundance of resources when you're out on the
land, but we really do have a very
clean economy here. And for countries such as
Asia, where it's so obvious to them the pollution that is
happening in their backyard. It is a demand from
those countries. But certainly, not from
an Australian perspective. We're not doing it for them. We're doing it more for our own
business, financial stability, and longevity. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: And so on
that, what level of questioning do you have from your customers? If you say we're
environmentally sustainable, do they just accept that? Or do they say, hang on. How? HAYLEY PURBRICK: Look,
people relate to the projects that you're doing. So when we talk
about [INAUDIBLE] and we talk about the
different endangered species in our wetlands, when we talk
about heat-reflective paint and solar panels,
people can relate to the physical projects. They certainly can't
relate to carbon.

I think there's a general
lack of understanding of what the greenhouse
effect is, just on the whole across all levels. So certainly, if we tackled
them from a carbon-neutral perspective, our
customers sort of look at us blankly, do not
understand what that means. But when we start to talk about
go for a walk in the wetlands, have a look at the
natural environment, reconnect with nature,
that is certainly a message that connects. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: Beautiful. Now, I do have more questions,
but I don't want to be a hog. Anyone have any questions? Any curiosities? Oh, I saw someone
scratching their eye. That was almost a question. You know that
horrible feeling when you think if you're
at an auction and you might accidentally
put your head– like scratch and they'll count it as a bid? I almost got you. Not quite. That's OK. I've got a few more questions. We'll keep going. You were talking too,
Hayley, about that idea of trying to use data to
get a better idea of what your customers want.

Are you at the point where
you can use data or analyse information that's available
to you to try and pick trends? Because obviously, the
wine-making industry can be quite trend-driven. You know, just in the
past couple of years, they've seen this,
all of a sudden, Prosecco and Rose are cool. How long was that going to last? Are you at the point where you
can try to pick those trends, or is that still too hard to do? HAYLEY PURBRICK: Look, it
depends on your business model. For us, as a
150-year-old business, we're not particularly
interested in trends. So the trend might happen
and it might pass us by. We can play in the trend if
we'd like by purchasing grapes external to our property.

So we've got some
flexibility there. We can certainly
see that customers are trending towards those
alternative varietals, which they weren't doing 20 years ago. But for us as a
business, it doesn't– we're not regrafting
our vines over to, say, produce Pinot
Grigio, for example. So still, the core
varietals that we're growing are still popular
in the marketplace.

So Shiraz, Cabernet, Sauvignon,
Sauvignon Blanc, unfortunately, and Chardonnay is still there. We're big growers in Marsanne. But yeah, you can
definitely see the trends. We've got a lot of analytics
available on customer behaviour, because a lot of
wineries do own that end-to-end channel. So you have a
strong relationship with your customers and
what they're buying. And you're looking
at that all the time. But as I said, it's
more about enticing them to buy your brand. So many people in Australia,
wineries, produce Shiraz. What makes your Shiraz more
attractive to your neighbours? And that is a bigger
challenge for us than understanding
consumer preferences. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: Thank you. We've got a question at
the front, I believe.

AUDIENCE: I'm interested in
how digital technology will transform the way we
market Austrlian products. So I guess I'd be interested
like to tackle that one? Tanya, maybe? TANYA BARDEN: Yeah, look. That very much links into the
whole kind of debate that's been going around
for several years around Australian
brand and provenance, and how do you get the premium? And people look at
the branding that's being done in New Zealand and
see that it's very effective. Whereas in Australia, we
seem to divert to infighting between states and companies. So I think absolutely, there's
a need for some common voice, some common underpinning. But it's beyond just the
branding and the marketing to, how do you actually
validate then, origin and authenticity and provenance
and all those sorts of things? I know certainly, it's
increasingly sought after. There was some
issues in our sector recently where China imposing
some import restrictions on heavily-processed
food needing to be able to validate
the safety of that, even though it's
very, very low risk. And I think it gets
back to that point of because for our
export markets, safety is such a high factor.

And safety goes to not
only whether or not there are toxins, pathogens,
et cetera, in the product, but also just around
origin and authenticity. And can I trust that
that packet of biscuits, let alone that piece
of steak, is actually from the true source? So I guess in answer to your
question, is there a need? Is there a willingness for
some sort of collaboration? I think there is. And I think that's a space
where I think some of the CRCs are starting to look into. But it's also a huge
competitive advantage for the companies
that can crack it. And that's where I think
it becomes difficult because you do have some
individual companies that are pursuing their own
traceability systems. So I think it's a
combination of both. I think some industry-wide
approaches would be worth it. But also, I think
companies will continue to do some of their own. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ:
I would imagine too, one of the
challenges with that would be if you're
looking to do it in a cooperative way, a lot
of that big data is probably pretty valuable to
some of those companies and they might not want
to share it super-freely? TANYA BARDEN: Yeah.

one of the challenges is there's multiple
accreditations worldwide. Just thinking of the carbon
accreditation itself. So one of the main challenges
for us as an organisation is we use [INAUDIBLE] Solutions
for our carbon accreditation. They're a New Zealand
and Australian government initiative. They cover the three standards. But Australia is working
away on their own brand Australia Carbon Accreditation,
which we are above and beyond that level of
accreditation, but we'd have to pay twice to be
able to participate in both. So I almost see the
biggest challenge for us working together
in being able to build this brand Australia Clean
and Green is, how do you work from a global
perspective and build it back so that we actually have
common accreditations globally? And we're not just sticking to
Australia has an accreditation, New Zealand has
an accreditation, China has an accreditation. That's certainly been one of
the biggest limitations for us as a brand. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: Any
further questions? Yes. AUDIENCE: This is
probably a question for– is that OK? Is that on? Yep. Question for Tanya. I'm just interested in what
the Australian Food and Grocery Council is doing to
distinguish between the way that tech can transform digital
marketing claims versus health claims.

So there is a difference
between the two. And I'm just wondering if there
is any differentiation that you're seeing your organisation
or member organisations making in this respect? TANYA BARDEN: Oh,
you've got me there. Yeah, look. Sorry, I'm not in a capacity
to be able to answer that one. Sorry. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ:
A question that may be in a vaguely similar vein. We've been talking a lot
about the idea of big data and a lot more interaction
with consumers. And primarily,
we've been talking about that being a positive
thing, making life easier. Is there a risk around
misinformation when it comes to particularly social media? We see quite often people
talking about whether or not a product has palm sugar in it.

Whether or not it's
Halal-certified. Is that a challenge
that's been brought on by some of this technology? TANYA BARDEN: Oh, look. I think it's a challenge
that's always there in any marketing
for any products. And that's why we have
legislation around misleading and deceptive claims. That ultimately, any
company has to be accountable for the
claims that they make. Whether they're
health-related or other. And [INAUDIBLE]
from the [INAUDIBLE] will often make that point
and take a few test cases to the courts to just reassure
that even though you're moving to sort of new
forms of marketing, it doesn't absolve
companies from that. I think as long as product
is ever being traded, they'll always be some
companies that push the bounds. But I think increasingly,
you start to see standards around some of these things,
and certifications and so on, so that companies can
provide a bit more assurance. And so things like palm oil. How do you know
something's palm oil-free? Or how do you know
if something's meeting certain criteria? Well, that's where you get
the independent certification schemes pop up,
which allow companies to be able to validate and
authenticate the claims that they make.

The challenge with that is that
it adds a whole extra layer of cost then because, to
a point Hayley raised, you've then got auditing
against all these certification schemes. So you might have a product that
has fair trade certification. It might have palm
oil certification. It might have a forest
product certification, and so on and so on. And when they're all
audited separately, it becomes expensive. But it is all part of how
you validate your claim and how you provide that trust
and transparency to consumers. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: And I suppose
the other challenge, too, which in a large way is beyond the
control of manufacturers, is when you'll have someone on,
for example, a Facebook page.

A company is promoting a
product and they'll say, not buying this
because of palm oil, even though it doesn't
have palm oil in it. And that therein is
another challenge to it. How do you go about trying to
combat that side of things? TANYA BARDEN: Yeah, look. And social media has, in
the area of sustainability, been a loud voice for groups
to be able to get traction with some of these issues. Not dismissing that. I mean, it plays a
really important role in raising the
profile of what are important issues that industry
has needed to deal with. But it does get concerning
when sometimes industry and companies have
to be held to account under the law for
claims that they make, but individuals not necessarily
held to the same standard, and can cause quite
a bit of damage to brands and to companies
by making false claims.

pexels photo 6476808

the OBC pages is a joy. It's one of the best
parts of the job. Anybody else have any questions
that they would like to ask? Yes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] HAYLEY PURBRICK: I'm
happy to answer that, or at least pass comment on it. I went to a ADMA
conference last Friday, which is the Australian
Department of Marketing and Advertising, and they
raised this exact issue, is digital skills in
businesses completely lacking? When we look at our own
business internally, the number 1 issue
that our employees continue to raise
over and over again is, I need more digital skills. I'm not up to speed with this. And one of the biggest
challenges we have is this is the first time in
society that we're going to have five generations
working within a business. I'm not talking about
generational ownership. I'm just talking about
multiple generations who have varying skill sets. Some who have skills for
the future and others who have skills that
were very relevant to that traditional method of
selling and being in business.

Something that we're
looking at internally to combat this is, how do we
utilise peer-to-peer learning internally to build
those digital skills internal within the business
and just train our staff up to get those skills? I also think that unless
businesses acknowledge and accept that
creativity is going to be a huge part of
their employees' mindset, and being able to
progress and allow them to actually explore
their curiosity and grow, those businesses
are going to suffer. So our education
system is predominantly based on rote learning
and there's not a lot of creativity space in there.

So as organisations,
we need to think about, how are we going to build
creativity in our staff? How are we going to bring
digital skills into our teams? I think we can do this, but
there is so much work to do internal within organisations
to bring people up to speed so that they're
ready for the future. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: [INAUDIBLE] TANYA BARDEN: Yeah. I think one of the things
we see in our industry is that as companies
increasingly are facing cost pressures and
needing to automate factories, then that requires
a whole new skill set to then be able to run
those new sorts of technologies. And that's often
quite a challenge.

We find that skill
set's not often here. I know it's an area
that we just addressed in our pre-budget
submission that there is a need for some government
assistance around transitioning people to the new sorts of
skills needed for the future. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ:
Hayley, if I could ask you to maybe take a bit of
a broader view on this question. I know it's hard to
speak for an industry, but I guess the other
side of that question too, is the desire to want to
take on these new skills.

Because there will be
a natural arc of people that are really interested
in this stuff and think there's opportunity here. And other people who just see it
is an extra task and something that they don't want to do. HAYLEY PURBRICK: I think
it's all about mindset. If you don't have
a mindset to learn, you're going to get left behind. I don't think that's
particularly anything new. If people are working in an
organisation that's moving ahead and looking to
bring in those skills, I would imagine individuals who
don't have a mindset for change will step out of
those organisations. Yeah, I don't see it as
being anything different. I don't think it's generational. I don't think older
people/younger people have greater capacity to learn. I think it's all in the way that
you approach your day to day. And if you've got a
mindset for change, then you will absolutely
thrive in this environment. TOM RAYNER: Think I'll
add to that, Nikolai. In our business,
we deal with a lot of OEMs, a lot of equipment
manufacturers and ag tech companies, that are
actually coming up with these solutions
for farmers.

And when they focus on providing
a solution rather than just tech. Tech might be part
of the solution. But when they
provide the solution, Australian farmers are actually
quite good at adopting it if it's actually
easy to implement. I mean, I think,
Peter, you raised the auto steer technology. Australia had the best auto
steer technology adoption rates of any of the developed
economies in the world, bar none, according to
a case in John Deere if you speak to them. They weren't buying
satellite technology. They were saving money because
they weren't overlapping so many times when they were
driving the tractors around. Same thing with that simple use
case of the water tank monitor. The farmer doesn't
care if it's a carrier pigeon that delivers the data. They just want to know that
their cows have got some water. So there's adoption
of technology and there's adoption
of solutions. And I think the
really good OEMs are the people that are focusing
on making the solution really simple. More iPhone rather than
green screen computers, so that farmers can
adopt this technology.

Because we want them
being good farmers, not being tech experts. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: And Peter
from the analysis that you've undertaken– you touched
on this already– but it surprised me a little
bit that nothing new was the biggest limitation
for vegetable growers. Surely, there's an opportunity
there for companies to come up with the new. PETER GOODAY: Yeah. I mean, that takes a bit
of unpacking, I think, which we haven't done yet. So nothing new
could mean there are things there that
either cost too much or don't really solve a problem. But certainly, there is a big
difference across the vegetable industry in terms of– like I showed with
the dairy farms– what the small players
are doing versus what the big players are doing.

It's the biggest spread
in terms of capacity to utilise new technologies. The results also show
that vegetable farms are the ones with the lowest– the highest proportion
of people that didn't have a computer who
are in the vegetable industry. And I mean, that's
to do, obviously, with where they come
from and the demographics of that industry. So there's a lot of unpacking
of the results to do, but it seems like there's a
fair bit of work there for us. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: Excellent. That's good. Follow on that idea of
developing the product, I suppose, or the
solution to Tom. Do you think an app for each
type of thing you can do is the way that is best for
people to deal with things? Are they going to have
to have multiple apps? You're drawing perhaps
a slightly odd parallel if you're trying to do home
automation at the moment, it's kind of hard. You've got to have Google. You've got to have Apple. You've got to have a bit
of everybody and 15 apps to control it.

Myriota perspective, we don't care as long as they're
using our chip to connect. So you're talking about
interoperability, which is a major issue in the industry. How does my grain tractor
talk to my red one, which talks to my yellow sprayer? It's a massive industry,
not just in agriculture, but in IoT in
general that we see. There are solution
providers that that is their entire business. They actually take data
streams and different inputs from various sensors
and locations and put it into a
workable interface so that you have got
one dashboard for it.

So I think that the market
will actually come up with a solution for that. I mean, you find now that the
major tractor manufacturers are making their data open source. Because they tried to
pick the winner and they wanted the winner to be them. And then, they soon
realised that if, actually, they went down a platform that
was closed to other people to extract that data
or use their data, then they just weren't
going to sell any machinery. So I think that the market's
taking care of that. And the people
that get it right, the people that make that
interface user-friendly and uses technology to solve
the problem rather than just technology for
technology's sake, I think will do really well. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: I'll avoid
the VHS versus Beta debate happening all over. TOM RAYNER: Well, correct. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: Yeah. Any other further questions
from the audience? One up the back here. AUDIENCE: Thank you. Gary Gao from [INAUDIBLE]. Tom, just one for you. Last year in this
very room, we heard from a farmer who
had put up a tower and had a network and
four farms around.

I can't remember how many,
but were all using it. Is that market still growing,
or are you guys just– TOM RAYNER: Yeah, look. I think I remember
the presentation. That was definitely the
broadband side of things. So I remember he
said it was great because he can watch Netflix. So we are a 24-byte small
packet of data service. So it's completely
the other end. So we're a narrowband service. That's a broadband service. And I don't want to get
too involved in that other than to say, yes, it is
continuing because people are complaining that they're not
getting broadband in the bush. So we get that coming across
our desk all the time.

But the important
distinction there is the people who sometimes
think that connectivity means I have to have
[? NVM ?] to every single part of the farm. And you don't
necessarily if you only need small amounts of data. So you don't need to be
able to watch Netflix at every single water point on
a property up near [INAUDIBLE].. Or you can. But obviously, the jackaroos
won't get much done. But you actually
only need to know how much water is in the tank. And so you only need– we're talking tiny
amounts of data. So I guess back to my
point before that there's horses for courses.

So I do think you're going to
need broadband connectivity at the homestead for most
of these applications because you actually need
to look at your phone. And you actually need
to interpret the data and you need to do
some data analytics in making management decisions. But you also need the
narrowband connectivity for these IoT-type
applications to really expand the profitability
of your businesses. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: You
should very quickly do the maths on
how long it would take to download a
Hollywood blockbuster at 24 bytes of packet. It might take a
while, I'd reckon. TOM RAYNER: It's not a lonely
jackaroos solution now, I promise you. NIKOLAI BEILHARZ: Did I see
another question back here? AUDIENCE: Hi. This might be a question for
Peter based on your survey. Just having a look at the
farmers and the industries of who had access to what
internet and et cetera, et cetera, do you think there's
any risk of a digital divide or anything occurring,
both either happening now or in the future given the
rollout of the [? NVM? ?] PETER GOODAY: Yeah.

I suppose there's
obviously a risk that– well, we know that what's
going to be available in cities is going to keep expanding. And it will be things that we
didn't realise are available now will be available
in five years' time. The solutions exist to
provide that everywhere. It's just that they cost a lot. So there's a discussion
to be had about how those solutions are provided. So there's a lot of
money being spent at the moment on fixed
wireless and satellite. And also, the mobile
black spot programme. But it's still an open
question about how that's going to progress as the
technology itself progresses. And I have access to
things in the city that people elsewhere are going
to want access to as well.

And while it's technically
feasible to provide that, it costs quite a bit. And it's not clear that we're
at a spot yet where we can say, well, this is going
to be provided by the private
sector or individuals and government is going to
invest in this area here. So I think that's what
needs to become clearer. [APPLAUSE] .

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