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Interview: Shailender Kumar, Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, NetSuite – JAPAC

This interview was originally published in AGI’s Nov-Dec 2022 Newsletter Edition on the theme of Digital Agriculture. To download the full newsletter, click here.

Geospatial cloud computing is still in its infancy in India. Where is the gap? If bridged, how could this boost digitization across sectors? 

Some of the main geospatial cloud computing challenges are:

  • Lack of integration of spatial data into business processes: GIS systems are usually dedicated, specialized systems that are disconnected from business systems and these applications can’t use the full value of geospatial information.
  • Interoperability: when there is more than one GIS or mapping component at play, there arise concerns about data privacy and data residency.
  • Heterogeneous data: integration analysis becomes difficult as different kinds of data are held in different files or separate data stores and each needs a specialised skill set.
  • Scalability: this becomes important to effectively process every growing amount of geospatial data for commercial applications requiring location information such as sensor data, GPS streaming data and 3D data.
  • Application level integration: due to missing integration between mapping systems and business systems, organisations cannot leverage centralised location information across decision support systems.

Cloud in geospatial can support digitisation in many ways such as increasing the user base impact of spatial data, reducing time and costs associated with managing and displaying GIS data, fostering and strengthening multi-agency collaboration and partnerships, and enhancing their interactions with the public. Also, transportation agencies stand to benefit the way they conduct business, in terms of efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness.

Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has been titled “the ideal platform for running heterogeneous workloads”. What does this mean for the user? 

OCI supports all workloads. It is a comprehensive platform of public cloud services that enable customers to build and run a wide range of applications in a scalable, secure, highly available and high-performance environment. By revolutionizing core engineering and systems designed for cloud computing, OCI enables organisations to not only solve problems they have with existing clouds but also modernize their infrastructure.

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OCI services and platform caters to a wide range of requirements of heterogeneous applications, thereby enabling the organization to run their legacy and modern applications on OCI. Another salient advantage of OCI is its superior economics. Oracle offers uniform pricing for OCI across all its global locations – an industry first.

Agriculture is probably one of the hardest hit by supply chain issues, including lack of traceability, slower transactions, and so on. How is Oracle changing the landscape to resilient, automated supply chains? 

The global economy is facing a massive challenge and in today’s interconnected world, disruptions are happening at a fast pace across businesses and across sectors. Supply chains are no exception. If they fail, companies risk losing millions.

Recent events have highlighted just how interdependent we all really all, like never before. Companies need to understand how to be resilient, manage risk and respond to sudden and sharp changes in their global supply chain landscape.

“Mainstreaming digital technologies into the agriculture value chain needs the participation of multiple stakeholders.”

As we embrace the new normal, many companies will want to evaluate alternate sourcing plans and some may be forced to produce essential products domestically instead of relying on riskier offshore producers. Organisations will likely look to become less lean and build more flexibility into their supply chains. They will need to securely support remote workers, for instance, and learn to engage with customers in new, often virtual ways.

Oracle Cloud solutions can help companies accelerate their journey to recovery and be prepared to monitor, analyse and react to new disruptions. It is possible that global supply chains and consumer behaviour may be changed forever and we can equip companies and tools to detect these lasting trends and plan supply chains accordingly.

Despite a new era of business development and innovation for the Geospatial industry, digital infrastructure management, and scalability challenges remain very real, especially for startups and small enterprises. What is the most viable way forward for them?

One perk of being a startup that uses Oracle is the opportunity to integrate with Oracle Cloud solutions, across its entire applications and technology portfolio. When a startup builds on top of its own cloud solution, that integration complements Oracle’s cloud offering, enhancing capabilities for global customers while providing the startup scale and exposure. Startups use OCI to build cloud-native, scalable, high-performing and highly available applications using every modern language framework and cloud service they expect from a leading cloud platform.

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OCI supports a broad range of application infrastructures including bare metal, VM, containers or functions, with many different runtimes and managed data persistence options. A scalable system provides elasticity, the ability to automatically add and remove resources to more closely match demand at any given point in time.

How can users leverage OCI for Precision Farming? Keeping in mind the high costs involved in Precision Farming practices, does OCI provides a cost-effective solution?

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is built for enterprises seeking higher performance, consistently lower costs, and easier cloud migration for their existing on-premises applications. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is consistently less expensive than other hyperscalers for a wide range of popular cloud workloads for several reasons.

First, our private network connectivity charges are 74% less. Second, Oracle delivers >3X better price-performance for computing compared to other hyperscalers, for general-purpose compute instances. Third, for HPC workloads, Oracle provides similar performance but is 44% less expensive and provides local SSDs, twice the RAM, RDMA networking, and a performance SLA. Fourth, for block storage, Oracle offers as much as 20X the IOPS of other hyperscalers, for less than half the cost.

The benefits of new technologies are yet to reach the farmers.”

DigiFarm, a technology platform developed by a 15th-generation farmer in Norway, aims to optimize crop production. They run a cloud-native precision agriculture platform on OCI, helping farmers and other agribusinesses determine seeded field acre boundaries. Precision agriculture and other farming tech are critical to producing enough food to support the world’s growing population.

According to the Institute on the Environment, crop production needs to increase between 60% and 100% to feed the extra billion people who might live on the planet by 2050. To tackle the field boundary piece of this puzzle, DigiFarm’s platform uses neural network models to automatically detect field boundaries using high-resolution satellite data. DigiFarm has been able to save 30% to 40% running Oracle Bare Metal GPUs on OCI compared to other vendors’ solutions – this represents US$ 10000 to US$ 12000 every month. So far, they have helped 14000 producers in 30 countries delineate their seeded field acre boundaries with 92% accuracy.

 

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