Cotton Industry Coopetition

One aspect of The Seam’s initiative to bring blockchain technology to the commodities market that has surprised many people is the collaborative involvement of businesses that compete with one another. Participants in the cotton blockchain initiative include the biggest players in the market: Calcot, Cargill, ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation Ltd., EWR, Inc., Louis Dreyfus Company, Olam International and others.

In the case of blockchain for commodities, this cooperation is easy to explain: The only way these markets can make the transition to a decentralized environment – and make it a true transformation of the industry – is to do it together. Everyone stands to benefit, even though they compete with each other.

There’s a word for cooperation among competitors: coopetition. The principles of coopetition in business arise directly from game theory, which is a scientific approach to making rational, strategic decisions within competitive situations.

In business, there is often a clear benefit to competitors when they form a strategic alliance to accomplish a goal that will be advantageous to all parties. For instance, creating a new market or new industry standards will benefit everyone who is positioned to sell to or within that market.

A recent example is cloud computing, which needed to overcome security concerns in order to build the market it has today and that continues to grow. The major players in the sector worked together to improve technology to the point at which it gained wide acceptance and the competitors could go back to competing.

Similarly, companies in the telecom industry leverage each other to gain access to new markets or to expand services, while software and hardware developers work with their competition to establish systems or standards that all can then build upon.

Forbes has noted that blockchain technology itself has bred vigorous coopetition in a variety of directions. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Cisco are working together on enterprise blockchain technologies, while others are pursuing interoperability among blockchains and cross-organizational transaction and smart contract functionality.

The lesson of coopetition and game theory is that winning in business is not a zero-sum game. The winner can’t take all – and often wouldn’t want to – so there is no reason to compete as if your competitors are mortal enemies. If you doubt the wisdom of that, consider that the United States Postal Service uses FedEx and UPS to carry some of its shipments, and that those two private carriers also use USPS to deliver some of their shipments. You could say that coopetition puts a strategic business spin on an old adage: If you can’t beat ‘em, maybe you should join ‘em, at least some of the time.

Building Critical Mass through Blockchain Technology

The Greater Memphis IT Council held its second quarter thought leadership luncheon today, and our Chairman and CEO Mark Pryor served as a member of the panel. The event was moderated by Ben Amaba, Chief Technology Officer for Blockchain at IBM, and other panelists included Dale Chrystie, VP, Strategic Planning at FedEx Freight; Jim King, CEO & Founder at CoreRights; and Joel Tracy, CIO at IMC Companies.

Check out a few of the takeaways below.

Mark Pryor: Agriculture is a big deal. If you eat and wear clothes, you are affected by it. While it might be a complex industry, it impacts all of us. The industry as a whole is asking for traceability and transparency. There are not a lot of standards in the industry, and that causes slowness. We’re trying to create efficiencies – in addition to traceability and transparency – and blockchain will help us do that.

It’s like the telephone game. The end message is never how it started, and that can be funny. In business, though, it’s not so funny.

Jim King: The focus is centered around the supply chain, and trust is something we’re all working toward.

Mark Pryor: We’re working to provide provable information for business owners to make sound decisions, so they have trust in the transactions they’re making. It’s network-centric trust.

Dale Chrystie: The concept of trust has seemingly been a leap of faith. From this point forward, that trust is verified. There is data. That leads us to smart contracts. It’s no longer a leap of faith. It is objective trust.

Joel Tracy: There should be a public standard. We don’t want a bunch of “private” standards that don’t cross over. There might be slightly different standards for a few private organizations – for example, the Department of Defense – and those will need a high level security.

Mark Pryor: There is similarity between what happened in the early days of the internet. People went to the open, public, decentralized network. There is still a place for both the internet and intranets, but the focus is on connection and collaboration.

Dale Chrystie: There are tremendous benefits with blockchain technology. There is a ton of waste in our processes. We hope the single version of truth will help. It’s all in how we connect things.

Jim King: In order to create awareness and encourage continued education, we need to start with the business and economic model in which businesses operate. Then, we need to determine how this will apply to our business.

How can we create critical mass?

Joel Tracy: New technology is being developed every day, and adoption is happening rapidly. Blockchain will be adopted faster than the internet.

Mark Pryor: Education is so important. We’re all here today to learn more about blockchain; everyone is interested in how this works. Education is critical to generating critical mass. And if we want to ensure broad adoption, that will require everyone working together toward one mission – a concept known as coopetition.

Memphis IT council

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-Up (April 13, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Bank of America Envisions Blockchain As Internal Ledger

According to a patent application released this week, Bank of America is looking to adapt blockchain, allowing for the bank to securely record and authenticate personal and business data.

Read more here, via CoinDesk.

Brandon Batten uses Drone to Zero in On Crop Problems and Answers

Tobacco farmer and drone operator Brandon Batten uses drones to develop fertility plans and conduct stand counts for his small grain crops. He’s not the only one in the industry moving in this direction, as farmers begin to adapt drones to calibrate management decisions.

Read more here, via Southeast Farm Press.

Precision Farming: Leaders in the Field

Farmers are going to have to adapt to a wide range of technologies if they want to boost productivity. As several are already using drones and digital GPS markers to monitor crops, farmers are seeing an increase in yields.

Read more here, via the Engineer.

Technology Helping East Africa Unlock Agriculture Potential

In Ethiopia, technology is being used to improve the agriculture sector, by aerial images from satellites, soil sensors and weather forecasts helping to ease the management of crop growth.

Read more here, via East African Business Week.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (March 23, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Top 5 Robotic Systems to Watch in Agriculture

With the agricultural sector adapting to technology on the farm, states like California and Arizona have looked into the use of robots to help with produce and specialty crops that require intensive hand-labor.

Read more here, via Precision Ag.

5 Ways Blockchain Technology Will Change the Way We Do Business

From accounting, to even advertising and marketing, innovative companies begin to rethink their digital age strategies by the adoption of blockchain technology.

Read more here, via Entrepreneur.

Montana Ag: Precision Agriculture is Changing Farming

In Montana, farmers are using the latest precision agriculture technology, helping to make farming more efficient and profitable, with tractors that offer auto steer.

Read more here, via KRTV.

How Will Blockchain Technology Help Developing Countries 

With blockchain’s ability to provide transparency, security and accountability, the technology could help developing countries address their challenges through an admissible budget.

Read more here, via Inc 42.

Blockchain for Blockbusters: From Movies to VR Distribution Platforms, Media Is Embracing Decentralization

As more companies begin to adopt blockchain, there’s one industry looking into it that might surprise you: Hollywood.

Read more here, via Variety.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (March 9, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Retailer Carrefour Using Blockchain to Improve Checks on Food Products 

Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, ensures that they meet general safety and ethics standards by using blockchain to track where products come from.

Read more here, via Reuters.

AgFunder: $2.6 Billion Invested in Ag Tech in 2017

2017 was a record year for agrifood tech investing, with a 29 percent venture investment increase in year-over-year funding for agrifood technologies.

Read more here, via Ag Professional.

Eight Ways Blockchain Will Impact the World Beyond Cryptocurrency

From banking and payments to cybersecurity, blockchain will allow us to exchange money faster and more securely, as well as make sure all data is verified.

Read more here, via Forbes.

Bio-Gene Serves Up Next Generation of Novel, Environmentally Friendly Insecticides

Agtech company Bio-Gene Technology is working to provide a range of products that will offer a safer way of effective insecticides on crops for future generations.

Read more here, via Small Caps.

3 Dow Stocks You Had No Idea Were Testing Blockchain Technology

As more U.S. multinational companies welcome the adoption of blockchain, there are several that are in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Find out what Dow stocks are testing blockchain here, via The Motley Fool.

Shark Tank Eyes Hottest Agriculture Technology

AgLaunch focuses on connecting early-stage agtech companies with farmers by presenting them with new ideas on farming technology that covers all facets of agriculture.

Read more here, via AgWeb.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (March 2, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Agricultural Technological Innovation

Currently, one in every seven working Texans has an agriculture-related job. Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is currently looking into new ways to use technology at the farm level in production of the food we eat, in hopes of creating sustainable agricultural growth and providing safe and affordable food through the food system in Texas.

Read more here, via The Battalion.  

Can the Digital Revolution Transform Agriculture?

Thanks to digital solutions, farmers can connect to financial tools and markets around the world, as well as exchange services and money.

Read more here, via The Brookings Institution.

6 Industries that are Using Blockchain to Drive Business Value Right Now

Companies are incorporating blockchain into their everyday business operations, with 16 percent purchasing blockchain enabled tools, and another 22 percent developing tools using blockchain.

Read more here, via TechRepublic.

Here’s How Agriculture Plans to Overhaul its Tech

The Agriculture Department will soon go through a tech renovation, by consolidating 39 data centers into two facilities, as well as focus on introducing artificial intelligence tools to agency call centers for automatic online processes.

Read all about it here, via NextGov.


In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (February 23, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Montana Ag: Precision Agriculture is Changing Farming 

Precision agriculture technology helps to make farming more efficient and profitable, an adoption happening soon within the business of farmers.

Read more about it here, via KPAX.

Forget Bitcoin. It’s All About the Blockchain

You may have heard the word bitcoin lately, but it’s time to get familiar with the word blockchain technology, a public distributed ledger managed by a peer-to-peer network of computers.

Read more about this advancing technology here, via Forbes.

USDA to Rename Client Technology Services Under IT Modernization Drive

The USDA is working on a federal information technology modernization, after shifting their focus on enterprise end-user services under U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, leading to a rebrand of the agency’s Client Technology Services as the Customer Experience Center.

Read more here, via Federal News Radio.

Growing More Ag Entrepreneurs

Did you know that earlier exposure to entrepreneurship in Iowa schools can create new opportunities for advances in agricultural technology? Increasing sources of venture capital in Iowa are helping to bolster the state’s climate for ag startups.

Read more here, via Wallaces Farmer.

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Blockchain

Blockchain is a ledger that keeps track of transactions. Now, a handful of companies are figuring out how to benefit from this new technology, in more ways than just keeping track of cryptocurrency transactions.

Read more here,  via Yahoo Finance