Finding the relationship between technological innovation, economic efficiency and practical applicability has been an issue since the beginnings of precision agriculture. There are a number of technologically advanced methods that do not meet their expectations in practice. On the other hand, farmers have a real demand for technological development in a number of areas. Efficiency and usability is derived from local conditions and type of crops and varies from country to country.
Objective and Significance
The goal of the User-Technological Index of Precision Agriculture ( UTIPA ) is to provide users, contractors and researchers with knowledge on the use of modern technologies in agriculture. Primarily, it is based on a point assessment of selected technologies (methods) of precision agriculture from the point of view of technological sophistication and usability for agricultural practice. It evaluates the principles of a given technology and not specific products and manufacturers.
Principle of the Evaluation
The best level of technological advancement / sophistication of evaluated precision agriculture methods is achieved when they have verified functionality and operational reliability, user interface for use in agricultural practice and are mass / serial produced, ideally by several manufacturers. The worst level in this regard is when technologies are based only on theoretical foundations.
The highest level of usefulness for the practice of the evaluated methods is when farmers already have experience with its advantages in terms of economic efficiency, quality and quantity of production, organization and control of the production process, welfare, etc., as well as when the evaluated method has potential for solving operational shortcomings of the currently used technologies, therefore fulfilling innovation needs in a given manufacturing area. The worst level is when there is uncertainty of usability and potential benefits are not likely to significantly improve the production process.
UTIPA.INFO is a comprehensive system for an international community of people related to precision agriculture, accessible to anyone who respects the rules of use. It works on the principle "what type of data I provide, I will have access to". It allows long-term monitoring of development and trends of precision agriculture. It is important for presenting the potential of precision agriculture, development planning, and especially for finding the relationship between technological innovation and usability in practice.
The evaluation is based on the individual knowledge and experience of the respondents. The Index is calculated on the basis of allocated points in order to compare individual technologies, groups of respondents, countries, changes in time, etc., but also to compare one’s own rating with those of other respondents. The system offers several options for data visualisations:
- Comparison of technologies
- Unfamiliarity of technologies
- Evaluation variance
- Comparison of evaluations
The visualization of the acquired values offers a number of new perspectives and findings, for example, to simply compare and divide the rated technologies into four core groups:
- Vision – this is an intent, a search for a technological solution and a way of using it
- Potential – a perfect technological solution, but a problem with efficiency and usability in practice
- Need – need for practice, problem with technological development
- Practice – final stage, perfect technological solution, economic efficiency and high usability in practice
Methodics of calculating the Index was published in Agris Online, Papers in
Economics and Informatics - issue 1/2017.
User-Technological Index of Precision Agriculture
Jarolímek, J., Stočes, M., Masner, J., Vaněk, J., Šimek, P., Pavlík, J. and Rajtr, J. (2017) “User-Technological Index of Precision Agriculture", Agris on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 69 - 75. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2017.090106.
UTIPA.INFO is open to everyone interested in cooperation, any comments and suggestions for further development of the community or site, and especially all those who want to take an active part in it, are welcome. The accuracy of the calculation of the index and the quality of the outputs is logically determined by the quantity and diversity of the respondents / users. It is in the interest of every user to involve as many other stakeholders as possible. Fulfilling all planned goals is not, of course, a matter of days or weeks, but rather a never-ending process...
Operating a system under the auspices of the academic environment is a prerequisite for impartiality and an outlook not burdened by "professional blindness".