FARMING: NEVER AGAIN WITHOUT AI

An agriculture 4.0, more and more advanced and attentive to sustainability. This is one of the missions of the Digital Innovation Hub for Agriculture and Food Production – DIH Agrifood, a digital cluster connected to agriculture that is based in Murska Sobota, Slovenia, and that for the last six months has included among its members Video Systems of Codroipo (Udine), active in the field of vision and artificial intelligence and in quality and process control.
“In this cluster – explains Alessandro Liani, CEO and R&D technical director of the Friuli-based company – they have begun to map all the European realities that produce digital technology for the world of agriculture. A large geolocalized database has been created so that the agricultural sector and related research can interact and fully understand the potential that exists in Europe. The cluster is becoming a sort of European reference for the digitalization of the agricultural and food world. The advantages that can derive from the digitalization of production processes in the agricultural sector lie, according to Liani, “above all in the possibility of collecting data that can be used for future analysis. This means the possibility of setting up predictive systems that allow, over time, to improve the production process. Moreover, the digitalization of processes, besides optimizing them, leads to a reduction in process costs. We have already experienced this in the industrial manufacturing sector and in the same way this will also impact the agricultural sector, perhaps with even more important repercussions given that processes have even higher margins for improvement”. Moreover, a better management of natural resources is foreseen, i.e. a better use of the land and a saving of water: “predictive treatments, possible through data analysis, will allow to improve production processes, replacing the programmed ones.” Video Systems brings to the cluster its experience gained over the years: “For years – underlines Liani – we have been developing some technologies that can be used in the agri-food sector. In 2007, for example, we developed systems for the automatic search of white asparagus on, in collaboration with a farm in the Prata di Pordenone area, which led to the creation of a robot that runs between the rows, recognizes the white asparagus and automatically extracts it. In this case, we only dealt with the part related to artificial vision, while the robotic and mechanical part of the rover was developed by another company”. Over the years there have been further developments: “from 2014 to 2018 we have been involved – always Liani – in projects in the field of aquaculture, in particular with regard to the selection of fry, through a system, made by us in its entirety, through which the fry end up on a ribbon, are photographed on both sides for the recognition of the caliber and to trace those that may have morphological malformations, in order to eliminate the non-compliant fry from the production cycle before its maturation. The idea is to make a selection as soon as possible in order to have a production that has an impact on energy and resources as limited as possible. I want to underline – remarks Liani – that we have reached a product selection capacity of over 95%, a very good percentage”. But which are the users and therefore the potential customers? Certainly the immediate users, i.e. large agricultural companies and those linked to aquaculture and fish farming. But not only: “we are trying to intercept the manufacturers of machines in the agro-alimentary sector.

VLADIMIR PUTIN IN FVG ON VACATION?

Could Vladimir Putin be interested in spending a vacation in Friuli Venezia Giulia? Carlo Dall’Ava (in the pic by Anna Airone), who is Russian honorary consul in Udine, confirms:’Certainly yes. I will do it through the Russian diplomats in Italy. He loves water torrents very much, and practicing in them the different possible sports, as well as he likes forests. Fvg could be very suitable for him”. Putin was born in 1952, and he is president of Russian Federation since 2012. Carlo Dall’Ava is Russian honorary consul in Udine since 2013. Val Resia has been called ‘the small Russian country of Italy’, because of the linguistic link between Resian and Russian.

Pandemic. The customs that arose during and after the pandemic, with the associated lockdowns, created a new ‘luxury’. But what is luxury? Many say that it is, in a nutshell, the time we have available. The time we have left to live. The raging death by Covid has perhaps made us more appreciative of our time and how best to spend it. Time that must be of quality. Carlo Dall’Ava, a well-known entrepreneur linked to the production of the well-known prosciutto in San Daniele del Friuli (Ud), confirms how and how much, in this historical moment, Friuli Venezia Giulia can be better and even more appreciated. How? And above all, why more now, than before? Because it is still a ‘wild’ region and in many ways, not yet explored, as it could be. Few inhabitants on a particularly extensive territory between sea, mountains and hills.

Today, more than ever, luxury is represented by enjoying one’s time in unique environments, little frequented. Services are lacking in some places. Even if things are improving. Then there is everything that can fulfill this prevailing desire to enjoy one’s own vacation time, in the beauty of nature, eating well, and far from mass attendance. A new sobriety of living the time of leisure, the so-called free time. The concept of free time is perhaps an obsolete one. All time, even working time, should be under the banner of quality and freedom.

CYBERSECURITY: INFOSTAR (IT) ‘IS ONE OF OUR GOALS’. ROUND TABLE WITH SIAGRI

Cybersecurity, between technology and ongoing training of people in the company to avoid fatal errors on computer systems; Cloud as a secure solution for the management and storage of their data; efficient and effective services, because companies have no other concern but to focus on their core business. And then a now incontrovertible assumption: the pandemic, if there was any need, has made clear the inescapability of digitization. Better if it is carried out with the support of subjects that have a history in the area, are permanently present and, by constantly innovating, have proven to be credible and reliable.

These were the central themes developed during the meeting between entrepreneurs that was attended by Roberto Siagri, Cristian Feregotto and Luca Noacco, partners and administrators of Infostar, based in Tarcento (Ud), which since 1999 has specialized in the supply and integration of IT solutions for the benefit of businesses.

And it was this mission, the advantage for businesses, that drove the discussion on the digital future. “Cybersecurity is a fundamental issue for every company, whether large or small,” Siagri stressed, “and it’s certainly not worth saying, ‘It doesn’t happen to me or no one comes in here’. It is necessary to be fully aware that those who do not protect their connection system are like turning on a beacon in the Net. It is easy to deduce that – continued Siagri – it becomes an excellent target for ill-intentioned people. Who usually make themselves noticed when they have already done a lot of damage, for example extracting already everything they were interested in. Only then, it happens more and more often, they block everything asking maybe the ransom and sealing an already very important damage”.

Technological systems, however, are not enough on their own to guarantee security. “In most cases, it is human error or superficiality that opens the door to hackers,” Siagri continued. “It follows that a widespread culture of consistently safe behavior in the company is essential.

In order to build effective responses for corporate security, it is necessary to have an overall view of the problem, from the analysis of the state of the art, to the application of technology and training, to the periodic control of the system. An approach that, if it guarantees the user company to have a single interlocutor specialized on several fronts, allows the proposing company to grow in a systemic way, at the service of the territory. This is exactly the path Infostar is pursuing, highlighted Feregotto and Noacco, whose plans for 2021 include, among other things, the acquisition of new figures to continue to expand the know-how to be made available to the productive fabric of Friuli Venezia Giulia. This is in addition to the many services designed to ensure, for example, business continuity – such as Argo supervisor and Assistant service – or those developed in the pandemic period to train technicians and end users, thanks to the Level UP academy, with respect to innovative platforms and software solutions to support remote work.

Infostar’s growth is based on competences: “Enterprises have an increasing need for digitalization and, usually – considered Siagri, looking at his entrepreneurial life – we turn to the subjects that have been able to conquer and preserve our trust. Yes, trust is undoubtedly an added value”.

With an eye on “the future and the unprecedented, Infostar remains open to sifting and developing ideas and collaborations that can give a competitive advantage to the companies of Friuli Venezia Giulia,” – concluded Feregotto and Noacco.

Technological systems, however, are not enough on their own to guarantee security. “In most cases, it is human error or superficiality that opens the door to hackers,” continued Siagri, “It follows that a widespread culture of consistently safe behavior in the company is essential.

In order to build effective responses for corporate security, it is necessary to have an overall view of the problem, from the analysis of the state of the art, to the application of technology and training, to the periodic control of the system. An approach that, if it guarantees the user company to have a single interlocutor specialized on several fronts, allows the proposing company to grow in a systemic way, at the service of the territory. This is exactly the path Infostar is pursuing, highlighted Feregotto and Noacco, whose plans for 2021 include, among other things, the acquisition of new figures to continue to expand the know-how to be made available to the productive fabric of Friuli Venezia Giulia. This is in addition to the many services designed to ensure, for example, business continuity – such as Argo supervisor and Assistant service – or those developed in the pandemic period to train technicians and end users, thanks to the Level UP academy, with the aim of improving the quality of the service.

Grappa IG, supply chain project in FVG. TOSOLINI BRAND

Grappa, the Friulian IG grappa, the European brand that defines, designates, presents and labels certain “spirit” drinks, which thanks to a project between seven winemakers from the Karst region and the Camel distillery, leader of the project, which includes the historic distillation brand Bepi Tosolini, is now also a little bit Giulian. Certainly it is even more so than Friuli Venezia Giulia. “A supply chain project started by the tenacious winegrowers of the Carso – illustrated Lisa Tosolini marketing director of the distillery of the same name – which we joined with pleasure because it gave us the opportunity to enhance the product and to be able to include the wording “grappa friulana” on the label”. A perfect meiosis between vintners and producer, all from the territory. “Two distant realities, Friuli and Venezia Giulia, with its Karst – explained Tosolini – that even if morphologically they may appear distant, have found a meeting point in a product part of the regional tradition. It’s a case of saying that “union is strength”. We have, in a certain way – Lisa Tosolini goes on (in the pic, by Anna Airone) – created a sort of bridge that has allowed us to arrive together at the goal that has led to the valorization of autochthonous vines and to the birth of the Friulian Grappa supply chain that is part of our history and our traditions”.
We are talking about a supply chain project, precisely the one related to Grappa Friulana IG, created to improve the production techniques of agricultural products, aimed at reducing the environmental impact during production and processing, with the aim of obtaining high quality products, handcrafted, with zero environmental impact, and 100 percent made in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Among the participants of this project, besides Bepi Tosolini, there are the karst viticulturists, Kante, Skerk, Zidarich, Parovel, Lupinc, Milic and Skerlj, famous names of karstic enology thanks to some autochthonous vines they turned into stars of quality enology, such as Vitovska. Winemakers who, after the vinification process – this is the fundamental step – according to the project, give 80% of the pomace to the leader of the project which takes care of the distillation process as well as the sale of the finished product.
A grappa produced, therefore, with regional pomace, in particular from Karst, to underline the regional nature of the product.
Among the objectives of the project there are the increase of the competitiveness of the aggregated companies on regional, national and international markets, the improvement of viticultural techniques, sustainable viticultural cultivation techniques, the study, development and implementation of innovative solutions related to the production of wine products and related processed products and common projects and investments related to the environmental improvement of production processes and the quality of wine productions and related processed products.
“The project – as informed by Claudio Cescutti, consultant and coordinator of the project – started in 2018 and will end in October this year, was born thanks to the synergy between the winemakers of the Karst and the distillery Bepi Tosolini.
With a supply chain call on PSR-FVG, 9 subjects were financed, namely the 7 winemakers, Camel and the KRAS-CARSO-CAMEL network, which is the owner of the promo-marketing project. As of today, all the agricultural projects and the distillery project have been closed, while the network’s project for promo-marketing remains open. The total cost of the project is 2 million 568 thousand euros against funding of 1 million 330 thousand”.