Smart farmers #smartrural

We are looking at the continuous challenge presented by people with opposing points of view regarding farming, especially of animals.

We do not see much counter arguements or at lease there are but they are not always positive. Pity.

We think that perhaps there might be a plan?

Water- farmers have the resources to target water storage and ground water protection. How many farmers can say that 100% of their home water and farm washing water is rainwater?

Energy- This is really a subset of the Carbon and climate change issue. Again with solar , wind and geo therm solutions- how many farmers say they are 100% renewable? If the big corpos like Apple etc want to say it for their data centres then surely it is a positive for farmers to be able to say it too?

Transport/Vehicles- again here we have sities making huge efforts regarding public transport, biking, e-scooters and the like.  We have a hydrogen train in Germany and hydrogen ships being built. Are our friends in the farming community getting ready for hydrogen tractors , combines and the like?  Is there information from advisory bodies on this? Is it possible that farmers can generate their own hydrogen from amonia in animal waste?

Packaging- single plastics are the big culprit here, but are there alternatives to the plastics used on farm? Similarily with waste. Could farmers take back any waste they sell? Most sell without any packaging, so this is an easy step.

How about working to develop farms that are carbon and energy neutral, that release as much water to groundwater as they use, that use machinery that has zero emissions, that recylce all the packaging they use.

The problem of methane production and livestock production will be solved by bio chemists or at least reduced considerably. Or indeed new technologies may assist in finding solutions, in the meantime we hope and wish to work to assist in the drive to make #smartrural .

It would be great to read more about these initiatives. Any readers with information we would love to hear from you. @jsmartrural

Rural Transport

There are a few items to be considered here in the context of emissions and climate change. If we start with the assumption that internal combustion engines are bad then we need to figure out what is going to replace them and what is good.

So far we see cities adopting electic bikes and more recently electric scooters. The electric car is here too with many variants fo hybrid. However where are we going with tractors, trucks, lorries, buses and trains?

All these are really vital to the s=rural community and we need a #smartrural solution.

In UK there are now hydrogen buses, in China they are electric. In Scotland they are building hydrogen ships. In Japan they will have 35 hydrogen fuelling points to cover the entire country,  (which seems like very few but it puts everyone within 10 minutes of a point). In Germany hydrogen trains are up and running.

In Sweden they are putting recharging tracks into the roads so that electric powered lorries and trucks can recharge on the move.

So it looks like hydrogen and electricity (batteries) are the future for heavy transport.

The tractors and trucks of the future are going to have to change away for diesel. Are we ready ? Can we afford it? What will happen to the old engines?





There is a great tradition of telling stories in rural communities. These can be true, invented, exaggarated, funny, serious. The joy is the assembly of people who feel they are part of a community and the act of telling binds them to a place and to an event and to the teller.
Often there are disagreements, different points of view. but that is normal and part of learning, growing, and being human. It is part of beig a community.
In #smartrural we see storytelling as multifaceted. It is ideal if it can take place in a physical space where everyone in the community can attend. However, and no surprise here, that is not always possible. So we will use smart tech to get people to attend remotely, to participate and to encourage a physical attendance the next time.
The teller can ofter be available bu tthe audience may not. A simple bit of tech can assist in setting storytelling events up when there is a gathering. This can happen for a community event or for a simple reason like a change in weather or a wedding or indeed a funeral. These are times when comunity come together and using tech, storytelling can become a part of these occassions.

#smartrural has the advantage that it does not have to be advanced calendar driven with all the hopes that people can attend. It can respond to the prescence of people and just kick into action to set up the event.

NASA report

So here is a link that makes the case for what is increasing the amount of methane in the air. We have been reading here in #smartrural about cows and other ruminants creating all these greenhouse gasses.

This research indicates that rice paddies and increased hydrocarbon burning have exactly added the amount of increase that was measured. It is nice when sums add up.

Love other opinions or ideas on this but as a top down view (get it, Nasa, satellites etc) it looks pretty robust!

So maybe rural communities can continue to play a role in food production/ #smartrural


CES 2019

Here we worry that there is not enough representation at CES. It is an area where we find our competitors are presenting their new products. We need to encourage some agricultural bodies to take a stand and show off the good things that are happening in the countryside. From building strong sustainable communities to using new technology for food production to providing safe homs with great education and health opportunities.

There is so much happening in the cities of the world, so much Investment, so much new technology being deployed the countryside might become forgotten. the best brains seem to be concentrating on providing new smarter platforms for the cities. We need to get some of these brains to help the country build on its strength and be able to be sustainable into the future.

Internet purpose

While working away reading of 5G, the future of work and smart cities, Ihappened on this infographic. It is a good one but Imust spend some time and figure out how many people are using the internet each minute.

The amazing thing to me is that most of the time is on communication and social networks. Yet as a race we seem to be more isolated than every

Some other aspects I found and will write about soon

  • the number of people living alone has never been so high and is growing rapidly
  • over 30% of people working in USA would rather live somewhere else and most would like to move from city setting to rural or suburban town setting
  • a few rural communities have rebuilt themselves by adopting a common purpose and going for it with as much energy as they could
  • the role of the countryside and its strength in its community will be needed as cities continue to grow.
    An interesting graphic on internet usage. 5g and future of work will continue to see this evolve.

    so thanks for reading. More to follow! #smartrural

Helpful things post 5 g

These are a few little tasks that can take some frustration out of our lives. They are all practical and hopefully without costs.
I hope that when 5g comes to pass we can use it to find our keys. So many times we wonder, where did I put my keys..So a small RFID or sensor plus a couple of beacons should allow us to find them rapidly in our homes. It may seem trivial and not as grandiose as other ideas but it could help a lot of people.
Another one is- did Iturnoff the gas, water, lock the door, turn on the alarm, put the cat out. Again if we are leaving home in a rush thenthese thoughts pop into our mind. Because we do it constantly we more than likely did what do we do now- turn around and go back to check. Then we are late and annoyed and indeed traffic may have got worse. When we have 5 g and our things are connected it should be easy to have a leaving house routine where doors are locked, gas turned off, water turned off etc. A few solenoids, a small software programme and then connectivity to it from car or smart phone or even telling a device that you are leaving home.
The same when returning, especially if it is dark and cold. At present we have tolog into an App, turn on lights, kettle etc. How cumbersome and unpleasant is that. Again a simple software script, a voice sensor and a call to connected device should allow a check list or routine set up to be started and ready for you.
Just some simple ideas of what might be useful to mere mortals!

Health in #smartrural

The remoteness of some towns and villages make it difficult to maintain a medical service. But this is nothing new. As these towns and villages developed there was not always a medical service. A local person, sometimes a midwife, sometimes a Vet was called in to assist with lifes medical emergencies.

We don’t ahve to go back to that however. There are so many new ways for care to be delivered in the community. We now have skin patches that can measure 5 or 6 different key indicators in the body and report them in real time if they are off target. We have fit watches. We have many passive and active devices in the home to enable us to see if our elderly citizens are up and about.

The networking effect of #smartrural will build a community were neighbours know what is going on with their neighbours. The connectivity of IoT will assist the well in aiding the not so well.

In some places there are regular clinics where the Dr and his team come in with equipment etc and attend to a village. Items like vaccinations, checkups, new prescriptions, can be tracked using #smartrural and the team can arrive informed and ready to provide services.

With 5 G connectivity will come much better serviecs, and yes they may be remote, but, a service that is effective and remote is better than a local non effective one.



Sports and #smartrural

Another scenario that happens in country towns and villages. The local school and sports clubs work for many years with the children bringing them to the joys of team and individual sports, discovering the skills and abilities in each one. These are tough voluntary roles for members of the communities but ones that bring great joy.
We know that as the call of the city for education and opportunites gets louder as the young man or woman reaches that stage of their life, their love of sport may fall by the wayside. They may simply not be familiar with the new clubs where they set up their home, they may be busyin other
areas. How great it could be if the sports could continue into the future and they could still keep their identity with old teammates. A virtual team is becoming more and more real. A team where training and practice could continue virtually with regular physical meet ups to hone the skills.
Bike riders can now cycle practically any challenge in the world on a stationary bike using imagery and electronics. Surgeons can operate on patients at a distance of thousands of kms.
Even better education and work are changing. OVer 40% of employers realise that remote working is here. Education is constantly becoming virtual with more and more on line courses. Home schooling is a growing business that with proper support and connectivity can allow people to remain in their communities for longer.
As our cities grow and grow they become more and more unpleasant on many levels. Every effort to build #smartrural can help to minimise this and provide real life and community in the countryside.

Smart Commerce

During our recent trip around  France we encountered many villages that were, how can we say this, perhaps retreating is the best word. Basically they were less and less people living there and the ones that were are finding their way into the third age of life and beyond.

One of the downsides is the closure of shops and the retreat of commerce from bricks and mortars to machines and vans.

Many villages had the baquette machine as in the picture. Now this is fine and very modern but expensive to install and maintain. We met many ladies like the one in the picture. They are long long term residents of the villages and remember it lively and full of activity. Theywould be happy and proud to take in the bread and sell it on to their neighbours.

With the minimum of technology the neighbours could order the bread and these neighbours could take it in and give it out again. No machines, a chance for a chat, to see if a neighbour is well, a small, small effort at community. If they were away or not able to do it then it could easily pass to another in the community for a few days or weeks.

We can do better than automating bread sales and installing a machine, surely. Business is not all about machines.  A small bit of communcation and an elderly, responsible and talented person has a new purpose, a business has a new outlet and a community has a chance to talk to each other.  The business has no worries about maintenance, insurance, quality, health issues from rodent attack, etc etc etc.

The customers are better served and are able to get to know they can get what they want locally.

This applies to so many things, local post, medicine drop offs, fresh produce. A little bit of #smartrural would go a long way. A little bit of technology and  connectivity. It takes a bit of passion.