Help poverty? There's an app for that

Imagine if an SMS could save a Third-World farmer from starvation or big data stored in the cloud helped sell their crop on international markets for the best price.

Technology is enabling such utopian dreams in parts of the world where many people don’t even have internet access.

University of Tasmania sensor research division Sense-T and Sydney financial services data broker Sirca have attracted World Bank interest for a collaboration to bring such relief to farmers around the globe.

Sense-T founding director Ros Harvey says they are building a unique data ecosystem that app developers, non-governmental organisations, governments and others can innovate on.

‘‘It’s not just the [sensor] data, it’s how you combine that with the smarts of user-friendly apps to help people make better decisions,’’ Harvey says.

In an early win, a Tasmanian oyster farmer saved up to $150,000 a day in lost productivity, she says. Oysters and their pools were tagged with sensors, updating the farmer on shellfish health and alerting to the build-up of toxins.

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