Two FABIans, Prof. Bernard Slippers and Dr Nicky Creux, teamed up with two engineers, Prof. Wynand Steyn (Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering 4.0) and Prof. Sunil Maharaj (Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and IT) to present a talk at the 2021 IEEE 4th 5G World Forum. The talk was titled ‘Opportunities and challenges for digitization of agriculture in South Africa’.

The talk was a combination of four parts – an introduced by Prof. Slippers that provided an overview of opportunities and challenges to digitization in agriculture in Africa from a number of reports on the topic over recent years. Prof. Steyn then spoke about Engineering for Agriculture, covering work on sensors (including their Smart Avo project), robotics and UAV in this field. Dr Creux reflected on her work on the plant phenotyping and its importance to the future of agriculture, including their work with the ARC Fieldscan Phenospex. Prof. Slippers closed the talk with reflection on the potential for Precision Pest Management, Genetic Engineering and the development of digital data systems that support these developments. He also included information on 5G developments in Africa from Prof. Maharaj. This combination of talks from very different fields was a first for all involved.

IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is the world's largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology, with a global community of more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries.

The presentation was part of a session themed ‘5G ecosystem towards smarter and sustainable agriculture: opportunities and challenges’. The objective of this vertical track of the IEEE 5G WF, was to provide a platform for communications and collaboration between industry, government and research communities on the state-of-the-art in the role of 5G technology in enabling smart sustainable agriculture across Canada and internationally. The objective is to provide a clear picture of where we are today, where we are heading with the future of humankind and how 5G can serve as an accelerator in making sustainable agriculture a common reality across the globe.


Watch a recording of the presentation by clicking here.