From the mining sector to the military, augmented and virtual reality, known as mixed reality, is being used in a range of settings that have the potential to be applied to Australian agriculture from on-farm, through processing and in retail.
Exploring current and potential uses of mixed reality will be the focus of the inaugural Australian Ag Immersive Technology Conference 2019 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre from 10-11 July 2019.
The event is being staged by all 15 Australian Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) – with the full two-day program being released.
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) General Manager – MDC, Research, Development and Innovation, Sean Starling, said the event is designed to not only provide insights from end-users in other industries already using the technology, but also for solution providers to find out how they can potentially help agriculture.
“We want the technology providers and the end-users in the room together so they can immerse themselves in how this technology works in other industries, and identify potential uses for it right across the Australian agriculture supply chain,” Mr Starling said.
“This will help us ascertain if RDCs need to invest in support for these technologies and if so, what areas should they focus on.
“After the conference, solution providers will have the opportunity to access different components of the agricultural supply chains, so they can see firsthand the potential uses for the technology.
“We want Australian agriculture to be aware of what this technology is and what people are doing with it today, so we’re not missing out.
“From an application perspective, this technology is relatively new and the solution providers will only further develop the technology where end-user demand is clear.”
The full program of more than 30 conference speakers has been released, and includes Rio Tinto, IBM, Accenture, KPMG, Microsoft, DXC technology and SAAB Australia, just to name a few.
“Rio Tinto will be presenting on how they’re using mixed reality to manage mines and mining equipment remotely,” Mr Starling said.
“That kind of technology could have the potential to be applied in agriculture where people have remote properties or several farms that need to be monitored, using autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles.
“SAAB Australia has been working with the military to take data viewing from the computer screen to the field, and creating immersive reality glasses so things can be seen in three-dimension.
“Applying that technology to agriculture could allow producers to put themselves in a different location, out in a paddock with employees or colleagues, and allow them to communicate and interact on a completely different level.
“Immersive technology doesn’t have to be a pair of glasses on your head, it can be an app on your phone, and we’re already seeing apps being developed in this space.
“We don’t know if these potential deployment ideas are achievable today, or are still five years or 10 years away. However, we need to stay ahead of the curve and understand what the opportunities are, how far away are they, and what the RDCs have to do to realise them.”
The conference is being presented by RDCs including AgriFutures Australia, Australian Eggs, Australian Pork, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research & Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, Fisheries Research and Development, Forest & Wood Products Australia, Grains Research & Development Corporation, Hort Innovation, Sugar Research Australia, Wine Australia, Australian Meat Processor Corporation, LiveCorp and MLA.
Tickets to the conference are $100 and registration is essential.