"Fresh" News From Microsoft



At the recent round of Microsoft Conference announcements, two things were significant for the Fresh Produce Sector.


Firstly, Microsoft are launching their BLOCKCHAIN initiative. Whilst initially focused on the Financial Sector, it will be the same technology that will eventually be taken into Food and Fresh Food, so this should be flagged as significant for Fresh.

Others will ‘play’ too. In the USA Walmart kicked ‘IBM’s Food Trust’ solution centre stage as they instructed their ‘leafy greens’ suppliers to adopt it forthwith, causing quite a stir. But Microsoft (and others like Amazon) have solutions in development (as do many other players), so having a choice of technology to drive BLOCKCHAIN will not be an issue going forward.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Secondly, Microsoft’s continued commitment to, and investment in, Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is perhaps the most impactful tool in Microsoft’s armoury, and will transform the way ERP systems work in the future.

Currently planning systems take demand from orders-on-hand and forecast orders. But imagine a future where you could take into account the weather, or potential demand from the market, or possible cataclysmic events? With Microsoft and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform these scenarios are rapidly becoming realities. You CAN already take account of the weather when planning, you CAN already listen into the internet to judge the level of interest in your products, and with ‘AI’ you will very soon be able to factor in that Hurricane Zeberdee is about to wipe out the Peruvian avocado harvest; enabling you to prepare a plan to source from elsewhere.

‘AI’ really is the ‘new oil’. It will sweep across our sector like a wave and the changes will be immediate and long-standing. Remember how quickly mobile phones went from ‘what are they?’ to ‘everybody has one!’. Remember how quickly the internet changed our lives going from ‘what is it?’ to ‘I can’t live without it’ in an incredibly short time. Well watch out for AI… it is already here! I hope your Fresh ERP platform is able to adapt and react!

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