Fonterra Finds Great Value in Microsoft IoT Ecosystem Engagement


[MUSIC].>>It’s very interesting to
be involved in this IoT bit, and it gives us the opportunity
to look at other people. Not necessarily confining ourselves
to food and beverage services, with manufacturers, but look
at what other people are doing out there with the same
technologies as we have. When we got to even talk
to other industries, such as mining in Australia, what we find is that the problems that they have are very similar to the problems we have, they just use different terms for it. As for our team being here, our team is really going
to get a lot out of this because they’re going
to get exposed, again, to the other side of the IoT journey, other people who are using
it for non-processing uses. I’m hoping that people will
take away an understanding of the complexity of our processing. The sheer numbers involved in terms was of how much
product we go through, the complexity of our solution, and how we’re pushing ourselves to engage with new technologies
in order to provide benefits, including most importantly, food
safety select into our business. I think people who aren’t here might just take the
opportunity to see how we did that, how we tackle their problems, and how we really went out after solutions that weren’t
obvious to us at the time. Mostly the networking has
been the best benefit for me personally, and also, again, seeing how other people have problems that look very similar
to ours, but again, the technology and the
terminology changes, and it reaffirms that we’ve really, I think, taken a really good decision to head down this path with
the operational historian. So I would describe our
relationship as collaboration. I think in true seats, when we began this
around 18 months ago, we didn’t really
understand Microsoft, and in all fairness, they didn’t
really understand our issues. It takes a long time, and you have to invest that time and effort and to talk
into your partners, and getting them to understand
the problems you have. We have spent significant amounts of time with Microsoft
over last 18 months, theorizing with them on
building a new product. So we’re enjoying
two aspects of that. One is that we get to collaborate, two is we get a product
that we can use, knowing full well that Microsoft will commercialize them
with other people, and that’s okay because we’ve got to influence the direction
of that product development, and have a really big
say in the timelines. The importance of security
for us cannot be overstated. People often say to us, being that they usually
come into our environment, do you guys take
security too seriously? We can’t do the things
we can normally do. It’s surprising how many
people come from overseas, and say those comments to us. When I’m overseas, I’m
allowed to do this, and I can access this data, etc, whereas we have to tie it down. Now, the reason we are
very concerned with that security aspect of that is not just the impact of us losing
some servers or some data, or losing some control of that data, but about the impact to New Zealand if we were
unable to process milk. That’s significant when you
consider that 10 days ago, we were picking up 18 million
liters a of muck day. We have to process the
milk within 24 hours. If we can’t process it, we’ve got nowhere to put it. So our plants operations is
incredibly important to us. Cybersecurity is just
one aspect of that. I think the way that the Azure
particularly is helping us transform our industry
is that it gives us the ability to store
massive amounts of data, but not only that, we’ve actually had the opportunity
to learn from other people, Microsoft especially,
about how they develop their products, the DevOps systems. They continue with development, they continue with some integration
systems, how they work. We’re taking those
and putting them into the perspective of an
operational company, an engineering company, and really see the benefit of how those ways of working have helped us. So it’s not just a software seat, but a way of working that’s
really showing us value. So our vision for IoT technology is to make the data that we
already have accessible. It has value in the hands of process engineers and operators around the country who are
looking into problems, and we need them to be able to get to that data and make use of it. So on-site at the plant. At the end of the day,
we’re a food company. So the ability for us to prevent quality issues in our products
before they leave the plant, and well before they
reach our customer, is a significant commercial
advantage to us. If we ship containers to China, for example, we have
to bring them back, and that’s not a good
place for us to be, and then our reputation suffers. So this monetization of
the process, later on, we’ll start using it
in more and more ways, and we’ll take advantage
of the Azure systems then. Over the next 3-5 years, our view would be that
we are going to see more and more IoT devices
coming onto the market, but they’re going to be increasingly complex and provide far more data, and value to our business
than they do currently. I think that will be
one of the key drivers, the ability to collect
data, analyze it, without having significant investment
and on-site infrastructure, and all of the costs that
you incur when you do that, when you have database experts, infrastructure managers, infrastructure costs,
licensing, patching, etc. So I think that’s where
we’ll see it starting to to be [inaudible]. [MUSIC]

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