What is the “internet of food”? According to Cisco’s (NASDAQ:CSCO) Nicola Villa, interviewed by Fast Company, it will a whole network of sensors, systems, and devices that ensure food stays safe and fresh at all stages of the supply chain.
In a May post on Cisco’s blog, Villa wrote about a partnership between Cisco and THNK, an Amsterdam-based “school of creative leadership” and incubator. At THNK, Cisco is collaborating with British supermarket chain Tesco (NASDAQ:TESO) to conceptualize solutions that apply an Internet of Things mindset to the process of food distribution. Blogging about the origin of the partnership with THNK, Villa wrote:
“We got down to the serious business of ‘hacking’ some key global issues, together with our friends at THNK. One of those has evolved into a Cisco/THNK partnership challenge, in which we will share Cisco’s expertise on the Internet of Everything (IoE) to solve some global problems around food safety and food distribution.”
THNK’s website reports that representatives of Cisco, Tesco, and other participants in THNK’s Class 5 working on the internet of food challenge are considering how to improve the safety and transparency of the ways that food is produced, delivered, and consumed. THNK writes:
“The growing role of sensor-enabled infrastructure touches everything from farming, to manufacture to shopping. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is poised at the nexus of how sensors, data, people, and processes interact and can ultimately transform the way food fits into our future. And there are numerous as-yet unexplored questions around how cloud computing, for example, or big data and analytics may change the way the whole value chain functions.
“We have asked our participants to consider these elements as well as global strain on food production, efficiency in the system, safety from the farm to the table, the impact of climate change on yield, the GMO debate, market forces around more premium organic or local food, and how the sharing economy is impacting food.”