Using complimentary intellectual property to improve traceability

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Collaboration is a key component of moving Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredient sector forward. From sharing ideas, to working together to bring research and products to fruition, companies across the sector understand the value of combining forces.

It’s the reason why the team at Provision Analytics not only agreed, but was eager to work with Verge Ag, Skymatics and Coutts Agro on a data platform intended to improve traceability and on-farm logistics. Doing so, however, meant bringing together more than just ideas—the teams also had to find a way to make their separate streams of intellectual property work together.

“Blending public, partner and private data is key to differentiating the analytical products from Provision,” Provision Analytics’ Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Davies said. “By integrating with Verge and Skymatics, we’re able to enhance our partner data capture with critical farm information that doesn’t come through regular use of our private product.”

This blending of data and intellectual property has been beneficial, but not always easy. Davies explained that the early portion of the group’s partnership focused on gathering the right data, with the appropriate flows. Once that was secured, they were able to turn their attention elsewhere, including on securing employees skilled in machine learning and artificial intelligence technology.

Throughout this collaborative process, the Provision Analytics team has been able to share data related to their intellectual property while keeping the intellectual property itself a trade secret.

“We are building a proprietary data model with algorithms that study the attributes and volatility of commodities using a combination of public, partner and private data,” Davies said. “A particular focus is on calculating the carbon footprint and water usage of Canadian goods, so as to differentiate their value in the global market. Our data model will graduate into predictive recall and insurance risk scoring.”

While balancing collaboration and protecting each company’s intellectual property has at times been a challenge, Davies said his team wouldn’t hesitate to undertake the process again. They consider the benefits for the sector to be worth the challenge, while the collaboration helps decrease the risk each company takes on.

“There is tremendous potential in the value of analytical products as farms digitize their data capture,” Davies said. “Our work with Protein Industries Canada helps protect the day-to-day business in this leading-edge work, covering execution costs while we build the engine for future returns. We would certainly take this route again.”