Food is the center of seemingly everything we do. It’s a cultural nexus—when we celebrate religious things, food is at the middle of it. When we talk about the greatest environmental damage that we do, food is at the center of it. When we talk about our health, food is the most important thing. Even vacations are frequently planned or at the very least, remembered mostly by the meals we consume.

By creating standards about how we describe the attributes of food—how and where it was grown, cooked, or processed, to how it can or should be consumed—can result in digitizing food. The Internet of Food enables agriculture and food to be more traceable, transparent and trustworthy, and more importantly, empowering all of us with more precise and personalized food, diet, and health choices.

From precision agriculture to precision health, we can start to build and connect the knowledge bases that, once in place, will permit us to apply all kinds of machine learning and artificial intelligence to food, agriculture, and health. From predicting optimal crops to plant, and most appropriate cultivation techniques, to suggesting foods for consumers that increase health and delight while meeting their personal ethical and religious standards.

Part of the issue right now is that, as in many other businesses, there are people building their own silos. With flavor alone, there are folks who have built a wine wheel, a chocolate wheel, a coffee wheel and a beer wheel to describe flavor profiles that exist. There is no need for more wheels. The wheels that exist should be connected to an information superhighway for food.

The ultimate goal for the Internet of Food is to turn discussions into operational technical standards that are incorporated in the Internet – the technical infrastructure that underpins all digital activities – thus making food digital on a global scale. A common technical infrastructure that takes into account the specific properties of food will facilitate openness and innovation and help to feed the planet in a healthy and sustainable way.

With more and more objects becoming connected, data becomes available, processes can be transformed and people can get access to the information they need to make informed decisions. The connected world has far-reaching promise beyond food value chains and into manufacturing, logistics and chemical worlds.

Do you know where your food is grown and sourced? Bringing the Internet of Food to life makes our lives healthier and our choices easier. This new digital revolution merges technology, sustainability and well-being into great food.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.