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Orchestration and Connectivity at the Edge with Ben Young | Utilizing Tech 05×18

Computing and sensors have been deployed at the edge for decades, and this is certainly true in the agriculture sector. This episode of Utilizing Edge features Edge Field Day delegates Ben Young and Alastair Cooke discussing with Stephen Foskett the evolution of connectivity and orchestration at the edge. Governmental policies can have a huge impact on the deployment of technology, from connectivity to environmental regulations, as has the emergence of inexpensive sensors, batteries, and processors thanks to the mobile phone industry, along with solar power. Cloud-inspired automation and orchestration is another key enabler of technology in agriculture and at the edge, with zero-touch provisioning, management, and central maintenance. Containerized applications, caching, and cloud-derived control planes are very popular at the edge, though not exactly the same way as in the cloud.

Insights from the Agricultural Edge

Edge computing’s utility has been particularly prominent in overcoming the significant challenge of connectivity within rural, agricultural settings. This discussion highlights the technologies to track fertilizer loads accurately, which have been instrumental in the adoption of AgrTech, fueled by the New Zealand government’s initiatives to enhance broadband access.

Moreover, strict environmental regulations necessitate the precise recording and reporting of fertilizer usage. In addition to its logistics and connectivity solutions, edge computing also greatly aids this aspect of the agricultural industry. In comparison, the U.S. sector has faced resistance in the adoption of such technology and lags behind in the implementation despite the evident potential for yield increase.

The discussions underscore the rising proliferation of sensors on farms, which monitor vital conditions for data analysis. As companies continuously move towards automation of deployment, edge computing becomes increasingly critical for effective management and data utilization, underscoring the sector’s shift towards ‘disposable units of compute’ and application-specific focus. The discussion highlights that even though all edge sites do not mirror each other, the array of use cases necessitates the support of diverse devices, further emphasizing the importance of robust and versatile orchestration tools.

Podcast Information

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About the author

Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is an active participant in the world of enterprise information technology, currently focusing on enterprise storage, server virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. He organizes the popular Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services. A long-time voice in the storage industry, Stephen has authored numerous articles for industry publications, and is a popular presenter at industry events. He can be found online at,, and on Twitter at @SFoskett.

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