UNCG Research

Ahead of his time

Kshetri studies how the most advanced technologies can transform the least developed countries

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 by Savannah Hutko.

Redacted from the Bryan Business Report

Almost 20 years have passed since management professor Nir Kshetri made a career-altering discovery in a small village in Nepal. An assistant professor at Kathmandu University, he’d been working as a trainer for various projects sponsored by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the German Technical Cooperation, and the Nepal Agricultural Development Bank. The goal was to help Nepalese farmers modernize the way they go about farming and selling their commodities.

“It was obvious that farmers’ lives could be significantly improved by helping them adopt inexpensive technologies and manage in a better way,” Nir says. His work set the stage for the research he would conduct well into the future: studying how the most advanced technology could transform the least developed countries.

Over the next 20 years, Nir became an expert in advancing technologies long before the larger population even heard of them: cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data—and one of the newest technologies of our time, the Internet of Things, which gives everyday objects network connectivity.

“With the Internet of Things, we can put sensors in cows, in soil, in streetlights,” says Nir. “We can design a sensor to do whatever we need it to do. Coffee growers in Vietnam, for example, are using sensors in root irrigation systems so that they can give exactly the right amount of water and nutrition. This greatly increases productivity. The sensors let farmers know how to improve their crops in whatever way they need to be improved.”

And now, they are affordable for everyone—a game changer, especially for countries with little to no resources.

Shedding light on the possibilities

Currently, Nir is writing a report on the many possible applications of the Internet of Things. He hopes it will be his swan song. “The same technologies that can help big, multinational companies manage in a better way can also help less developed countries. There are so many possibilities to solve problems from pollution to healthcare issues to farming challenges.”

… Read the full story, “Ahead of his Time”, in the Bryan Business Report of March 2017