It's the challenge: getting food enough for 9 billion people, from less land and water, and in a hotter climate. The World Bank is excited about the potential of a Tasmanian trial, dubbed the Sense-T project, to help farmers boost productivity by installing a network of solar-powered, wireless sensors providing real-time, open data on micro-climate variables like temperature, humidity and soil moisture.

Information from the Australian-made sensors -- typically, some 35 above-ground and 15 below-ground sensors will suffice to cover 130 hectares -- will be analysed using big data technology pioneered by Sydney-based SIRCA, originally the Securities Institute Research Centre of Asia-Pacific.