Farm to tablet: A technology that serves agri-business
Advances in technology such as fast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), big data tools and the Internet of Things provide today’s farmers with the ability to improve crop yields and profit margins like never before.
While the newest smart farming technologies are still out of reach for many, agri-business owners everywhere are going digital. Consider the tablet, a tool with the versatility to provide assistance in any aspect of farming. It's small enough to carry in the fields and large enough that farmers can easily enter or find information.
For some farmers, the tablet serves as a command centre where they use a dashboard to view and manage data aggregated by sensors in the field, collect information on markets and weather, and plan every aspect of their operation. With apps such as FarmCommand or Trimble, farmers can manage everything from crop and fertilizer decisions to equipment and staff.
Farm Journal recently conducted a survey of 1800 farmers about how they use technology, and 44% of them use tablets. The survey also asked them to list which apps they use. While two apps offering a range of services, Growers Edge and FarmLogs, made the top ten, the majority of the more popular ones provided more specialized functions. Choices included news apps, weed identification apps, weather apps and TractorHouse, an app for buying and selling farm equipment.
Specialized agri apps
There is an app for almost any farming application or crop you can think of. There's Wheat Pests that focuses solely on wheat pests. Then there's Canola Calc, which helps farmers calculate planting rates for canola. For the cattle farmer, there are apps like Livestocked, Canadian Cattlemen, Angus Mobile, or Calf Book, which keeps track of calving.
Even without specialized agricultural apps, tablets have a lot to offer today's farmer. Financial tools help the busy agronomist keep track of funds, and time managements tools can keep their schedule on track. And farmers can record field observations, scan and store documents and use file management apps to keep everything organized.
Tablets provide easy access to the cloud, which is where farming software is moving. With the cloud, software providers can offer more complex data management and the ability to share information. Add infrastructure like FTTP, and farmers can share information across their operation allowing field managers to benefit from their colleague’s data in near real time.
A tablet provides instant access to social tools that can make life in the field easier. A private Facebook group provides local farming associations or groups of like-minded farmers with no formal organization a place to discuss their operations.
With a fast fibre connection, farmers can use their tablet to record and share video. This could be helpful for distance diagnosis of livestock when there’s no vet nearby, or to show other farmers a new pest that’s shown up on a crop. Video on social channels can also be a powerful marketing tool. And watching video tutorials is a great way to learn new techniques and skills.
Shopping for a farmer-friendly tablet
When it comes to choosing a tablet, it’s all about the operating system, and fortunately, the majority of apps are available for any of the three main operating systems: IoS (apple), Android and Windows. Your best bet is to go with the operating system you’re most comfortable with. It may seem unwise to carry a tablet around with you in the field, but with the protection of a shock-absorbent, water-resistant case, your device should be safe. You can also invest in a rugged tablet that is designed to withstand harsh conditions.
Whether you want a tablet that functions as a command centre that helps you run every aspect of your operation, or you only want to take advantage of select technology tools, make sure you get the most out of your tablet by accelerating all of your data transfers with FTTP Internet.
For more information on our fibre connectivity solutions, contact your Axia salesperson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-773-3348.