Artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart data are major themes at next year's MobileTECH 2018 in Rotorua.

It is one of New Zealand's largest agritech events and will see technology leaders from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors gather in the city in late March.

The pace of change within the primary sector is continuing to be driven by advances in new digital technologies. While New Zealand has been a world leader in traditional farming systems, it is critical for the sector to maintain and grow productivity through the smart adoption of these new innovations.

"MobileTECH 2018 will continue to be a platform for change and showcase where the industry is headed," said Ken Wilson, MobileTECH's programme manager.

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"The 2018 programme will feature over 35 speakers covering disruptive topics like the integration of machine learning in health and safety systems, blockchain for secure agricultural transactions and key learnings from the successful rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT) to farms throughout New Zealand."

Thundermaps uses machine learning algorithms and big data to redefine health and safety in rural locations. OSPRI now use Thundermaps to protect their contractors working on farms. The system tracks millions of data points to ensure, via a mobile app, that the contractor receives relevant real-time hazard warnings no matter how remote the location. Both companies will present at MobileTECH.

Blockchain is set to become the future for payment and supply-chain systems. Australian-based company, AgriDigital, will be on-hand to discuss what this means for the primary industry. AgriDigital delivered the world's first live settlement of a physical commodity using blockchain technology. The pilot project saw the sale and successful delivery of 23 metric tonnes of wheat to a beef farm in NSW using the blockchain system.

The Internet of Things has moved from being an exciting upcoming technology to one that is delivering real benefits to early adopters throughout the industry. A number of speakers, including network provider Spark Ventures, agritech company ReGen and King Country farmer Lachlan Chapman, will focus on the real-world application of IoTs.

"The MobileTECH 2018 programme will open with the big technology trends and discuss how we can improve investment and collaboration within the agritech community," said Wilson.

"Day two gets hands-on, highlighting practical case studies on the adoption and use of these innovations by primary sector businesses up and down the country."

MobileTECH 2018 is on March 27-28. Further details can be found at www.mobiletech.events.