Our July issue featured the catalyst for new technologies in industries like Agriculture and Farming. External pressures like changes in climate and population growth are forcing these industries to adapt and think of new ways to tackle these current and future problem-sets. Golf, like Agriculture and Farming, has also experienced a push by external pressures—seemingly more this season than others in recent memory.

As mentioned in our July article, May 2019 was recorded as the second wettest month on record. Fast forward 3-months, we now know that July was the hottest month on record since record keeping was established. According to an article published in Time by Tara Law:

“July 2019 was the hottest July and the hottest month on record globally since temperature records began in a year of many record-breaking temperatures as heat waves hit many parts of the world. This trend of high temperatures and heatwaves looks set to continue, with more extreme heat set to hit parts of the U.S. and the U.K. this week, making for a warm August.”

I visited many FAIRWAYiQ customers over the summer and simply using the ‘eye-test’ felt that July/August may have been record breaking months. It certainly hasn’t made for an easy season for Superintendents.

The realization that industries like Agriculture, Farming, and Golf—which are affected by environmental elements more severely than most industries—are being impacted at record environmental changes is continuing the impetus for adaptation and growth. Farming and Agriculture are getting that push from IBM’s Watson.

In an article published by Successful Farming, Mark Gildersleeve, vice president and head of business solutions, Watson Media and Weather, states the problems identified with precision farming. He states, “By nature, agriculture is a very fragmented and siloed business, which has prevented precision agriculture from advancing as fast as it could have over the past two decades. We haven’t made it simple enough for a grower because we’re not connecting the dots to give him better insights.”

Among the three primary reasons to tackle the problem of helping growers “connect the dots to give [them] better insights”, Mark’s first reason seemed most relevant to what Superintendents (and potentially a vast number of golf courses across the US) are facing as well. The answer: “Razor-thin margins. ‘Growers are at razor-thin margins right now,’ he says. ‘They need a little bit more of a financial cushion underneath them. We believe we can help give them some financial cushion, which in turn helps improve their profitability.’”

IBM’s commitment to this industry bred a new application for Watson known as the Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture. The intent being to use AI, Machine Learning, IoT, and Cloud Computing to help growers narrow the gaps between what they know and what they can’t see—therein lies the insights. It is intended to give them insight into their operations that they would otherwise be unable to unearth with the resources they currently have.

In September, we’ll dive into how Watson is connecting these dots and what Golf can take away from this technological adaptation.