MobileTECH 2017 starts this Wednesday 22 March

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

We are looking forward to hosting 300+ industry representatives at MobileTECH 2017 this week. A lot is planned. Over 40 presentations, discussion panels, demos and TECH Talks.

Our mission has always been to create a platform for change for people across New Zealand’s primary industries. A place where technology developers, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and the next generation can meet, learn, discuss and showcase the latest technologies impacting on industry operations.

For further details and to register, go to

See you in Rotorua!

New tech will help assure NZ food stories [Media Post]

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

The use of new technologies to assist New Zealand’s value chain connections will be a focus at a primary industries tech conference next week

The 5th annual MobileTECH conference was taking place in Rotorua, focusing on new technologies and innovations designed and developed for New Zealand’s agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries.

A broad range of issues would be discussed including the latest disruptions affecting the sector, including robotics and automation and data and supply chain innovations.

One issue that would be considered was the use of technology to help verify claims around NZ’s food supply chain integrity.

Rezare Systems director Andrew Cooke would be addressing technology’s role in telling a NZ primary industries story.

“It is important to tell this story but the story needs to be backed up with data and information so the story you are telling consumers is real.”

Cooke said there were opportunities to do this with new information technology tools, new sensors to actually collect the data, crunch the data and use it as supporting material.

“I’m not of the mind that the data tells the story but the worst things that have happened when people have told stories about their products are when they’ve been found not to be true.

“You can put systems in place and technology in place to make sure that is not going to happen.”

Elsewhere, the Internet of Things would be a focus, with MobileTECH programme manager Ken Wilson labelling it a game-changer for the industry.

A report from American-based BI Intelligence predicted IoT device installations throughout the agricultural sector would increase from 30 million units in 2015 to more than 75m in 2020.

On the average farm, the data points collected per day would also increase from 190,000 in 2014 to 4.1m in 2050.

Wilson said the Internet of Things had evolved from the relatively simple RFID tagging and data tracking of cattle. IoT was now the backbone of a centralised system tracking and analysing data from multiple sources right across the farm.

Spark was now working with more than 100 farmers to install Internet of Things systems into their operations.

MobileTECH 2017 would be running on March 22 and 23.

[First appeared on AgriHQ]

Are you making authentic supply chain promises? (Guest Post)

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

If you’re in the food business (whether that’s retail, food service, processing, farming, or supply), consumers are asking questions about your supply chain.

Of course, they may not be asking you directly, and they may not be asking your retail or food service partner, but they are asking: on social media, on recommendation sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, even over drinks at their local.

Are you providing the information they need to be confident about the quality and safety of your product? Do you have a substantiated story around provenance, animal welfare and the environment?

Safeguards such as DNA testing lasagne are “bottom of the cliff” activities, an attempt to rebuild broken trust and arguably too limited and late in the supply chain.

Future product preference and even acceptance relies upon a supply chain that can show ethical practices: in how environmental impacts are managed, natural biodiversity is encouraged, animal welfare is maintained, anti-microbial resistance is avoided, and workers and communities are treated.

Activist groups and the power of social media means that our response to these demands must be much more solid than a promise or a declaration form. We must have the systems and measures to back up our words – and to demonstrate as much to auditors and our supply-chain partners.

For those of us at the confluence of technology and agriculture, this means we must do more than just record activities and calculate gross margins. We must step up with tools that capture rich data in support of farming activities, and which actively encourage good decisions that improve both profitability and sustainability.

All this needs to be done with minimal additional effort by farmers and their staff, and aligned to real-world processes on farm.

I’ll be speaking at MobileTech 2017, the annual summit for technology innovations in the primary sector, reflecting on these challenges. I’ll summarise some of the work Rezare Systems is doing in this space, and suggest ways the industry could apply technology to the opportunity.

This article was first published at

MobileTECH highlighted on a number of NZ radio shows

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

MobileTECH 2017 has been covered recently by a number of radio shows.

Radio NZ interviewed MobileTECH’s programme manager, Ken Wilson, on the Morning Rural News Show last month. This interview highlighted the upcoming MobileTECH 2017 conference and just how far technology has come to change farming and impact the wider primary industries.  Show hosts loved the idea of an event for ‘geek farmers’ – while that tagline may not necessarily cover the range of people coming to MobileTECH, I’m sure that there will be more than a couple geek farmers attending.

While it’s only a short interview, click here to listen (starts 2:58 minutes into the audio).

Longtime MobileTECH delegate and freelance writer, Cameron Officer, was interviewed on NBR Radio (National Business Review). The big highlight of this interview was on Dave Verma’s autonomous vehicles dinner presentation at MobileTECH 2017. You can listen to the interview below.

Key Programme Features

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

Over 40 Speakers on Disruptive Innovation

This is one of our strongest programmes. The line-up is full of award winning technologies, innovative new platforms and exciting applications. Over 40 industry experts will be be speaking. Click here to view the updated programme.

Meet the Early Adopters Panel

We will hear from a passionate cross-section of early adopters and their views on the integration of technology. The panel includes; Tony Walters from Aka Aka Dairy Farm, Canterbury Farmer and Federated Farmers National Board Member, Chris Allen and Lachlan Mckay, the National Orchard Manager for T&G Pipfruit. Kevin Cooney, Head of Agri Capital at ASB will facilitate the discussion.

Meet the Future Leaders Panel

This panel was one of the major highlights at MobileTECH last year. Some of the brightest young farmers and horticulturalists will be discussing their views on technology and how they see it powering their businesses into the future. The panellists for 2017 are; Chelsea Millar, NZ Young Farmers National Board Member and Owner of Grass Roots Media, Alastair Neville, a Reporoa Farmer & former Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final convener  and Andrew Hutchinson, the 2016 Young Horticulturalist of the Year. The facilitator is John Ascroft, the Chief Innovation Officer for Jade Software.

TECH Talks

There will be up to 15 lightning talks on the best innovations and services available in NZ for the primary sector. This fast paced session format is designed to give technology companies 5 mins each to pitch their new innovations to the market.

Conference Dinner Presentation

MobileTECH industry dinners are a chance for delegates to relax and network. We like to give our guests a after-dinner speaker that gives an exciting look at upcoming technologies that will have a big impact on how we live our lives. The presentation this year is titled “Disruptive innovation – driverless vehicles are closer than you think”. Dave Verma, the Director of Australasian Driverless Vehicle Initiatives at HMI Technologies, will show us how advanced the research is and just how close we are to the real world roll-out of driverless vehicles.

What Now?

Make sure to register early to avoid missing out.

Media Release: Young leaders have a voice at primary sector technology event

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

One of the key features of the MobileTECH event run for New Zealand’s primary industries last year was a Meet the Future Leaders Panel. “This included some of the brightest young people working currently within the sector” says MobileTECH Programme Manager, Ken Wilson. Those attending the event heard of their vision of how technology was going to play a major role in shaping their businesses over the next 10 years.

The panel will once again be a major part of MobileTECH this year.

“Technology is rapidly becoming a critical part of how businesses are run in the primary sector. It’s also an essential factor in growing, retaining and attracting the best young leaders within the industry”, said, Ken Wilson. “The young leaders panel is an opportunity to hear from the young innovators and early adopters of this new technology and how they see if being employed now in the future,” he said.

We are pleased to announce that the MobileTECH 2017 young leaders session will include Alastair Neville, Chelsea Millar and Andrew Hutchinson.

Alastair Neville is a 3rd generation dairy farmer from Reporoa. He is a young farmer passionate about NZ Agriculture and the opportunities new technologies bring to the farm. Alastair also believes in giving back to the community and has been heavily involved in running a number of Young Farmer of the Year competitions.

Chelsea Millar is a passionate young leader who is on the national board of NZ Young Farmers and operates her own business called Grass Roots Media NZ. She is a 2015 Kellogg Rural Leadership graduate, Women of Influence finalist for the Business Enterprise and Rural categories, and was recently named in the Top 10 finalists for the University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year.

Andrew Hutchinson won the 2016 Young Horticulturalist of the Year. It was a gruelling two-day challenge that tested the skills needed by modern horticulturalists, including working with innovation and leadership. Andrew is based in Pukekohe and is the technical support advisor for potatoes at AS Wilcox & Sons.

“Each panellist brings a completely new dynamic to MobileTECH. We and the industry are really looking forward to hearing their views on technology and the role that this plays in building the industry’s next generation”, said Mr Wilson.

This panel is one of the many exciting presentations at MobileTECH 2017. Further information on the MobileTECH 2017 programme, which runs in Rotorua on 22-23 March 2017, can be found on the event website,

Autonomous vehicles expertise added to MobileTECH 2017

Brent ApthorpMobileTECH

MobileTECH 2017 runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 22-23 March. MobileTECH is the only event of its type in this region that brings together leading technology developers, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators from across the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors under one roof.

Now in its 5th year, MobileTECH has firmly established itself as the major cross-sector technology event focusing on agriculture, horticulture and forestry industries. Already over 200 have signed up to the March event.

The organisers, Connex: Event Innovators are delighted to announce this week the after-dinner presentation for the conference. The focus is autonomous or driverless vehicles and the likely impact that this new and emerging technology is going to have on the primary sector – and society. In last week’s issue of Friday Offcuts, we covered the announcement of the first trial of an autonomous electric shuttle at Christchurch International Airport. The lead technology company involved in this NZ trial is HMI Technologies.

Dave has both hard technical and strong relationship management acumen arising from a background in deployment of disruptive transportation technology, systems design, procurement, and delivery combined with high level stakeholder management skills. He also holds an Executive MBA from Hult International Business School.

Registrations to the tech event, MobileTECH 2017, can still be made on the event website,

Media Release: Major primary industry tech event returning this March

Ken WilsonMediaRelease, MobileTECH

In just under two months, Rotorua will again be playing host to nearly 300 industry representatives from throughout the primary industries sector. MobileTECH 2017 is a major industry conference focusing on new technologies and innovations designed and developed for New Zealand’s agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries.

This event has been running for five years. The technology has in this time advanced significantly.

“The focus though of the conversation amongst leading tech developers, service suppliers and users has changed”
says Ken Wilson, Programme Manager with Connex; Event Innovators.

“We are no longer talking about early trials or the potential integration of innovations like advanced remote sensors, UAVs, wireless networks or cloud computing into day to day operations.

Instead we now have financial and operational data being shared by some of the early adopters of these technologies”.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a great example. It’s evolved from the relatively simple RFID tagging and data tracking of cattle” says Mr Wilson. “IoT is now the backbone of a centralised system tracking and analysing data from multiple sources right across the farm. Spark is now working with over 100 farmers to install the Internet of Things systems into their operations”.

KotahiNet is another building a New Zealand-wide wireless network for the rural sector. One of their earlier projects involved the installation of sensors in a Wairarapa olive grove. Real-time data and analytics assists the owners better map growth rates, set spraying schedules and respond to critical events as they happen.

The Internet of Things is a game-changer.

A recent report from American-based BI Intelligence, predicts that IoT device installations throughout the agricultural sector will increase from 30 million units in 2015 to over 75 million in 2020. On the average farm, the data points collected per day will also increase from 190,000 in 2014 to 4.1 million in 2050.

We are certainly getting better at collecting data. The major challenge now is what to do with it. More connected devices and less human interaction will drive machine learning and automated systems.

New Zealand has had a good start. We already have a number of world-class companies, like Rezare, Agrimap, FarmIQ and Figured, who provide innovative data management software and tools for the rural sector. The Ministry of Primary Industries also sees the value in data. They have set up the Farm Data Code of Practice to help safeguard farmers’ data and ensure that data can more easily move between the different systems.

“The Internet of Things and the use of collected data are just some of the big talking points at MobileTECH 2017 this coming March,” says Ken Wilson.

“Never before has the technology and IT sector been so critical to the future success of New Zealand’s primary industries,” said Mr Wilson. “This year we will, once again, have up to 300 industry and technology leaders discuss the issues impacting the future profitably of the primary sector.”

MobileTECH 2017 will be running on 22-23 March 2017 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The full programme and further details can be found on the event website,

The extended early-bird ending tomorrow (Friday 27 Jan 2017)

Ken WilsonMobileTECH

There has been a lot of buzz about the upcoming MobileTECH 2017. Close to 200 industry representatives have already registered to attend. It’s shaping up as another large turnout for the industry.

Special early-bird pricing on registrations are still available until this Friday, 27 January 2017. If you have already registered, today would be a good time to spread the word about this event to your colleagues and business partners.

If keen on you or your staff attending this years mobile technology event for primary industries, best look at registering today. The full programme and further details can be viewed on the website,