In 2015 Microsoft launched their first agriculture-specific product, FarmBeats, to help bring together various data points from farming operations and store them in their cloud, which is called Azure. Chief Scientist of Azure Global Ranveer Chandra says Microsoft’s focus is not in being an agtech provider, but in building the necessary infrastructure for other companies to operate.
Chandra… “So Microsoft, one of the things that we're doing for multiple industries is we are enabling the digital transformation of these industries by building the cloud platform that enables that digital transformation. And for agriculture, it's the same. We are building this cloud platform that can bring together data from different data streams. Like for example, for agriculture, from satellite partners, from weather partners, from sensor partners, tractor partners, drone partners, we bring all of that to this platform in the cloud. And then being able the agtech companies to build their solutions on top.”
Some might be concerned that with a company like Microsoft operating this digital infrastructure behind the scenes, are they gaining access to the data? Chandra’s answer to that is a resounding “no”.
Chandra… “So we don't have visibility into the data. It's a contract between the agtech company or the data provider and the grower. We don't have any visibility into that data.”
Microsoft Azure FarmBeats enables many of the agtech providers you might be familiar with.