Software companies are always trying to figure out how they can better provide information to a specific group of people, and the agribusiness industry is no exception. The challenge for agribusiness, though, lies in the robust data that is collected and how developers can access this data to develop new applications for farmers and agriculture commodities.
aWhere is a Big Data company that specializes in weather and agronomic information for farmers, commercial growers, commodity traders and policy makers. Ever since aWhere partnered with the API-management platform Apigee, it has been providing an API layer on top of its data to customers and software companies to better understand the agribusiness industry and the challenges that exist today.
“We are faced with a challenge of how to increase production globally to feed our population,” said Stewart Collis, cofounder and CTO of aWhere, “while at the same time, growers and food producers are being faced with climate change impacts and weather variability.”
aWhere is one step back from a farmer or farm consultant, said Collis. The company’s three main areas or markets include agribusiness, so they work with other software companies who provide services or apps for growers, crop consultants, and agronomists in the field.
(Related: Hadoop show puts new management tools on display)
aWhere also works with commercial research groups or information providers, who use agribusiness data to help farmers in places like Africa or Southeast Asia.
The last area that aWhere works in is financial services, tapping into commodities analysis and global views of where the season is progressing in a particular year and how the market might react to any changes.
The data that aWhere provides include weather data and models to support types of applications looking for information on—for example, when to spray for a particular pest. aWhere can then run a model on its platform and provide a prediction or risk indicator to an application, then to the farmer or crop consultant for action.
“Providing that recommendation to a farmer is really important to increase yield and increase livelihood that they can get a quality harvest,” said Collis.
aWhere has been using the Apigee Edge platform to allow more access to more than a billion data points, globally. Using the APIs, aWhere has unlocked more value from its data, which can be turned into actionable insights to help farmers.
Until working with Apigee, Collis said aWhere didn’t have a good way of making that data available to its partners or to its customers. Now, not only does aWhere have the API layer in Apigee Edge, but it also has a Developer Community Portal, where other software companies and technology companies can easily access the data, he said.
Apigee Edge serves as a “gateway” to accessing this data, said aWhere program manager Jeof Oyster. He said that it allows aWhere to rapidly deploy their data and integrations without having to “reinvent the wheel.”
He also said that aWhere has launched a Developer Community Portal as part of the Apigee offering, and developers can start working with APIs without having to go through a long process. The developer portal also has everything a developer would need to get started like documentation, quickstart guides, sample code, and libraries.
Collis said he continues to see a growing community of young developers who want access to data so they can go out and create better applications. These developers, along with other startups and software companies, could be the key to getting helpful agriculture-focused information to farmers and those in the agribusiness industry, he said.
“There’s a lot of data being collected, but how do we pull it together and impact production or yields?” said Collis. “It’s a challenge we are all trying to solve at the moment.”