Smart Farming World (SMARF) - Manufacturer-independent network of machines in crop farming through service-platforms

Funding: Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi)
Duration: March 2016 - February 2019 (36 Months)
Funding: 2.329.035 Euro (DFKI: 608.395 Euro)

The objective of the research project SMARF is to create a manufacturer-independent and thus fully compatible network of machines in crop farming through service-platforms. Based on intelligent, technical systems and platforms which are interconnected across company and manufacturer borders and with the help of data aggregation and data analysis it becomes possible to provide the farmer with context-sensitive Smart-Services. The results will help increase the productivity in crop farming while at the same time help reduce the use of resources (seeds, fertilizer, energy).

Smart Farming


Today’s economy is increasingly shaped by the digitalization of all products and processes. This development requires a growing service orientation. In the Smart Service World services are provided more frequently “as-a-service“. Consequently, material goods as well as physical and digital services alike have been merging more and more. This change needs to be taken into consideration for the development of future service systems. The full potential of Smart Services and Smart Grids has not yet been achieved in Germany. The scope of application in the agricultural sector is especially broad. Manufacturers of agricultural technology as well as agricultural service companies have to serve many different types of customers from sideline farmers up to agriculture holdings. Lots of independent steps have to be integrated throughout the entire process from seedbed preparation up to sowing, caring, harvesting, transportation, storage and selling. This cooperation between companies can be optimized by ICT, thus, helping people in their decision-making. The diversity of farmers’ machinery parks complicates the interconnection and the interoperability of the machines further. On the other hand, the current agricultural machinery and its available products are already characterized by a high degree of connectivity. They are an ideal starting point to promote the development of a completely interconnected agriculture. In order to optimize the use of resources (seeds, fertilizers, working hours and travel times, among others) and the harvest, today’s vehicles already serve as data suppliers (e.g. on soil quality, harvest quality) and data receivers (e.g. on working organization, parameterization of working processes). The manufacturer-independent network of machines and their integration in the Internet of Things represents a major challenge for the industry because of the diversity of the farmers’ machinery parks.


The manufacturer-independent or rather machine-independent interconnection between impact and machine as well as between the machines and the impacts themselves and the integration of external data sources, such as weather forecasts and topological dates, through a software defined platform has several goals: the dynamic exchange of data as well as a further automatized process which will eventually lead to complete autonomous operations, will improve the productivity of the agricultural companies and increase the resilience of the entire process with regard to to the desired output in quality and quantity. The main objectives of the SMARF research project are:

  • Technological: The provision of a reliable, standardized communication- and IT-infrastructure which makes the manufacturer-independent interconnection of machines, of IT-infrastructures, processes and participants in the processes possible. New interaction models and a greater autonomy will contribute to more efficiency and flexibility in order to establish a base for a universal quality management.
  • Organizational: The creation of a standard basis of information (based on a software-defined platform and service-platform) and the integration of all relevant players into the network of adding value.
  • Human: The real-time provision of machine-independent and context-sensitive information about impacts, machinery, the whole fleet, all impacts and processes provides a basis on which the farmer is able to make solid decisions.

The objective of the SMARF research project is to demonstrate the potentials of an interconnected agriculture, which is supported by a service-platform. They will be made tangible through the demonstrative realization of different implementations (such as miscellaneous applications).


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Project lead: Wolfgang Maaß