An opportunity for a technology based service iteration.
My team and I chose a company in Camperdown, Australia called Pocket City Farms. Pocket City Farms is taking Sydney’s neglected spaces in effort to make good of that unused space by growing fresh organic produce for the city’s residents.
What do they do?
PCF offers services such as hands on workshops, events, Little Farmers program, which teaches children farming and cooking, yoga classes overlooking the farms and a plethora
Who is Pocket City Farms?
“Pocket City Farms (PCF) is taking to Sydney’s neglected spaces, from spare plots to rooftops, in an effort to make good of that unused space – by growing fresh organic produce for the city’s residents! Our farm is a productive hub the local community can gather to learn about all things farming and food growing, buy locally-grown, chemical-free produce, participate in our composting program, and take part in many workshops and events. Importantly, the farm is a place to visit, enjoy productive green space in the city, sink your feet in the soil, and learn all about where exactly our food comes from and how it’s grown!”
Pocket City Farm’s branding is modern, minimalist, and elegant. The branding is aimed to counter the general stigma that agriculture is dirty hard labor. The main value proposition is personal growth; the offerings have a common theme of becoming closer to nature, and understanding self through understanding the bigger picture - such as community, the food systems, and nature.
Drivers of Change
While researching NAICS Sector 11: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, the team discovered that agriculture is a 395 billion dollar sector. Although, agriculture profits continue to rise, there are a plethora of problems that are arising as well. Population growth is creating a waterfall effect of problems. Due to the population growth rising, the demand for food is increasing, which increases the use of pesticides to eliminate the increase of food and animal diseases. These seemingly abysmal, there are many opportunities for improvements. The agriculture sector is slowly adjusting to the technology advancements. There are few farms diving into technology enhancements and within the next few years, hopefully most farms will surrender to the technology advancements. All research on agriculture is based off of the United States market.
Although PCF is Australian, the research on the American market is appropriate because America is a more dense and wealthier country.
According to greensgrow.org, Urban farming is growing or producing food in a city or densely populated town or municipality. This can take place from anything like a rooftop to abandoned spaces to repurposed land. Urban farming became an outcome of the population growing and urban cities becoming denser. The need for deforestation and conventional farming becoming increasingly harder as the land begins to disappear. It’s often confused with community gardening, homesteading or subsistence farming the food. Its purpose is primarily to be moved (through some form of commerce) directly from the grower to the user.
The team wanted to deepen their knowledge of the drivers of change within urban farming to have a better grasp of what the future will hold. The team was able to understand the process of mass marketed produce.
Through extensive research, it became clear that urban farming will need to be the primary focus on agriculture. According to permaculturevoices.com and treehugger.com, 250 million people live in or around urban areas, and if urban farming grew, this would help cities become self-reliant and increase jobs. Some things that drive this kind of work, according to the Youth Food Movement in Sydney, are the transparency, inclusiveness, empowerment, accountability and the authenticity.
“It’s better to have a lot of little farms in homes than in big community gardens as it’s making homes self-reliant,”
(President of Community Group Permaculture Sydney West)
Internet of Things (IoT)
According to Forbes, the IoT is a concept of connecting any device with an on-off switch to the Internet or each other. It’s the idea of collecting a mass amount of data through devices. The devices can range from a socket to a wearable device to a drill of an oil rig. Gartner (an analyst firm) and AIG, ten years ago there were about 500 million devices connected to the Internet. Today, that number has grown to between 10 and 20 billion. By 2020, there will likely be 40 to 50 billion.
“The aim of the agriculture sector is to optimize processes and uses of resources and efficient use of existing arable land. The Internet of Things can enable all that. It can increase production, but it can also increase the level of quality of agriculture.”
(Co-author of a report called “Towards Smart Farming, Agriculture Embracing the IoT Vision.”)
Pocket City Farms 2.0 is the new and improved Pocket City Farms! They are adopting sensors, scale scale, a digital billboard and an app. These would be used by the general public and administration. Alongside of their love for sustainability, they want to build a community through transparency.
Increase cost efficiency with the help of the soil sensors. They will be able to measure and collect more data which will help us become more aware and a more sustainable company.
Better user retention. PCF would be able to do this by providing customers more activities and interaction channels.
Being able to physically grow and expand around the city and country. This will be possible by being more in tune with our skills by our technology and offerings.
Internet of Things
One of Pocket City Farms’ biggest shortcomings is the lack of accessibility to information and degree of participation due to the limited amount of publicly accessible information. Adaptation of various sensor technologies that can show data regarding the farm’s activities can significantly enhance customers’ awareness of the farm’s operations, and also streamline the delivery and reception of various service offerings.
The Smart Scale is a harvest basket with a scale at the bottom, and a user interface to specify which crops are being put in the basket. The basket automates documentation of harvest and agricultural production with relative reliability. This automation of record-keeping will expedite the organization’s adoption of Internet of Things, and improve their accessibility by informing prospective customers what produce will be available for sale during each farm stall sale.
Sensors are a small part of the Internet of Things. The sensors that PCF will implement are connected to a high-system that will help grow high-performance and high-quality crops. The sensors will improve crop farming which helps farmers produce more and therefore feed more. The primary focus is to use the sensors to match the plants to different soils and weather conditions and having more data on each crop. Using this information will improve the farmer’s ability and knowledge to tend to the produce. The information is inputted into the IoT, and the output is synthesized data. This data will then be displayed within the digital billboard and the digital application.
A digital billboard is an electronic interface used to project data across an organization. Pocket City Farms will place one or two around Sydney on select buildings and locations that will display data in real time. Some things that it will display (but are not limited to) are many volunteers, the amounts of gardens owned, the amount of produce being tended to, how many people PCF has served, the produce in season and the impact they have on the community. This will benefit the community in a couple of ways; it will help grow a trust between the user and the company because it will make PCF more transparent and honest with their goals and work. It will also bring brand awareness and advertising.
Pocket City Farms will have their digital application that users will be able to download at their leisure for no charge. There are many benefits for a company to have an app. PCF will benefit from it for communication reasons, event planning, live data, user interaction tracking and an Augmented Reality feature (AR). Instead of having to go to their website, users will be able to contact PCF through the app and be able to see future events and opportunities and sign up for them right then and there. App users will also be able to see the data that would be on the digital billboard directly in the app, create a profile, become a member, keep track of their past events and participation and also participate in their loyalty point system. The point system rewards those who participate! When one participates the more points, they get which will result in discounts for merchandise or discounts at the Acre Eatery. The AR feature is for the users to be able to learn about any fruit that Pocket City Farms offer. The users will have the option of scanning the fruit and learning about its upbringing, safety, and tips! This will improve their knowledge and hopefully how they approach each crop when its comes to cooking and handling. Our team did research on AR, and we are basing this off of our research on the
Google Lens. .
Key Performance Indicators
Levels of Visibility
Administration. The head farmers have every KPI available at their fingertips. This includes production, administration, marketing and finance.
Volunteers. Volunteers will be able to see more KPIs than the public but less than the head farmers. This is because Pocket City Farms wants to create a personal relationship with those who are helping us give back to the community.
Public. The public will be able to see certain KPI’s on a digital billboard. This will bring brand awareness, transparency, and a sense of community.
The head farmers will all have tablets and computers that show every single KPI. This includes private KPIs in addition to what the volunteers and the public can see. The reason that the head farmers have private information is that there is some data that is private to the business and should only be shared at a corporate level.These KPIs include the following: inventory items and levels, the number of fruits in the database, number of event-goers, the number of kits purchased, customer interactions, volunteer return rate, volunteer chapters, some app downloads, some people using the app VS. The website, app usage, the lifetime of the app, new customer engagement, number of users using the AR function, cash flow, scaled growth charts, balanced trends timeline and sales figures.
The digital billboard is a physical billboard that will be put around the city and will include some KPIs about Pocket City Farms that will hopefully catch the public’s eye. The reason we are showing KPIs to the public is to stay transparent, stay true to ourselves, build a community and to raise brand awareness. The KPIs that are being shown on this are the following: production of produce, the total number of plants, available produce for the main garden, Camperdown Commons, how many badges have been earned, social media ratings, Facebook mentions, Instagram tags and news media coverage.
The Volunteers will have access to a dashboard on their phones that includes some private KPIs in addition to what the public is can see. Pocket City Farms wants to build trust and relationships with their volunteers and allowing them a dashboard. In addition to the public KPIs, the dashboard will include the following: plants per square feet, soil moisture, soil fertility and water usage.
The KPIs measure Pocket City Farms 2.0’s agriculture, main offerings, and new technology implementations. We are confident that with these dashboards, all stakeholders can become much more receptive, trusting and proactive with the organization.