Reports from VIV Europe 2018

‘Smart data is data that is biologically relevant, and data that can be actionable’

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Big data is all about the volume and veracity of data but smart data considers whether the data is useful or not for a particular stage in the value chain, says Dr Tomas Norton, based at the Division of Animal and Human Health Engineering, KU Leuven in Belgium.

“You can throw a lot of data into the cloud but what is this point in doing that? Smart data is about working on the fact that most data is only useful at the point it is generated.”

Norton, who undertakes research into Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), was speaking at a World Veterinary Poultry Association (WVPA) seminar at VIV Europe 2018 last month on how big or smart data and PLF can contribute to poultry production.

He presented on a number of technology projects that his research group has carried out with the aim of removing all the noise from the data, and creating real value for stakeholders in the animal production chain:

“For example, in the welfare monitoring of chickens, based on video analysis where you might have 25-27 frames per second, if you extract the key indicators of movement, activity and distribution, then you can start to use that information - three different values - to make decisions.”

Smart data is data that is biologically relevant, and data that can be actionable, he said.

The impact of smart data on the feed aspect was also a focus of his presentation.

A project carried out by his research team a few years back was aimed at measuring the feed intake of a broiler by applying a sensor to the tray of a feeder to then correlate the pecking on that tray as the feed is being taken in to the amount of feed that is actually ingested.

He said the value for the feed manufacturer in the kind of data that was generated is being able to get a measure on the feed uptake by the animals, and then being able to change the components of the feed if required, and then see how the animal responds to that reformulation.

An increasing number of feed companies, but also genetic and animal health companies, are getting involved in European funded Internet of Things (IoT) and smart data projects, he said.

“They see that now you can [attain something with PLF and smart data] that previously was only achievable in the lab, where the scientists did all the measurements, they did all the hand weighing, etc.”

Now, using IoT or smart data backed technology, they can see how their feed performs actually within a farm system, considering all the impacts on a farm on a daily basis: “It is real-time, real data, genuine data.”


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