In this article

  • In collaboration with Purdue University, HPE is blending research, innovations and disruptive technologies to produce food, fuel and fiber more effectively than ever before
  • HPE and the World Economic Forum announced Tech Impact 2030, an initiative focused on bringing together technology, industry and government to power meaningful change by the year 2030
CTO Mark Potter explores our first Tech Impact 2030 challenge — to help solve world hunger by 2030

An African proverb states: If you want to go fast; go alone. If you want to go far; go together. But to help solve the most critical challenges facing mankind today, fast and far are both required. One of those challenges is ensuring a sustainable global food supply.

Nearly 800 million people are chronically undernourished and 2 billion are micronutrient deficient, while the number of smaller farms, globally, is on the decline because profitability is so difficult. In short order, these problems will significantly worsen as the United Nations (UN) forecasts the world’s population will grow to 8.5 billion by 2030 and The World Economic Forum (the Forum) predicts a population of 9.8 billion by 2050, requiring 70 percent more food than is consumed today.

That’s why HPE and the Forum today announced Tech Impact 2030, a first-of-its-kind open collaboration focused on bringing together technology, industry and government to power meaningful change by the year 2030. And the issues surrounding food and agriculture will be our first of several key challenges we seek to overcome through our open partnership.

HPE and the Forum are like-minded in the belief that by applying emerging technologies we can positively address the agricultural productivity crisis. Indeed, the Forum has asserted that improving food production and consumption will hasten the achievement of each of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform the world.

Agricultural technology (ag-tech) can drive new opportunities throughout the value chain by impacting yield, productivity and sustainability through precision agriculture, smart farming, food security and traceability, and such advanced food research techniques as the use of animal wearables and phenotyping.

One example of how HPE is already addressing this challenge is through our longstanding collaboration with Purdue University, one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions in agriculture. Together, we’re blending research, innovations and disruptive technologies to produce food, fuel and fiber more effectively than ever before. This revolutionary approach — building an intelligent farm through digital agriculture — is very likely the future of farming.

By leveraging massive amounts of data collected from connected platforms and devices and processing it at the edge, where it’s being generated, we can provide fast insights that can inform quicker decisions for farmers. For instance, at Purdue’s 1,400-acre research farm, the digital infrastructure enables researchers to use devices, like IoT sensors, Edgeline edge computing systems, drones and mobile devices to generate and process enormous amounts of farming data – up to 113 terabytes a week. That’s equivalent to more than 113,000 feature-length movies per month.

Fortunately, we’re not alone in these endeavors. Numerous corporations, NGOs, universities and other entities are also keen on activating ag-tech’s promise in new, innovative and — most importantly — impactful ways. These new technologies will improve yield, productivity and sustainability across the entire ecosystem.

Our vision is to harness the interest and broaden the work already being done with existing customers in the agricultural industry, as these companies take steps to both improve their businesses and the world’s hungry and impoverished citizens.

Through Tech Impact 2030, HPE and the Forum will join with a host of other participants around the world — customers, partners, employees and other organizations — to “hack” these global problems and set actionable goals to keep us on track to meet our 2030 objective — and turn possibilities into realities. We plan to set clear goals, progress ideas and align resources, thus significantly accelerating our ability to solve key societal problems and create real benefits for people.

The belief that technology can empower real change is one we’ve always had at HPE, harkening back to our earliest days. In 1960, Dave Packard, our co-founder, said that “People get together as an institution so they are able to accomplish something collectively which they could not accomplish separately. They are able to do something worthwhile — make a contribution to society.”

He was speaking of the beginning of our company, but his words apply to the beginning of Tech Impact 2030, too. I’m sure he would agree with me that, together, HPE, WEF and others can go far — and fast — to help solve these serious issues.