US: Farmers now have the option to remotely collect and manage information from their field equipment by using telematics technology as many companies are now incorporating it in their products, observes Rich Mattern, Information specialist, North Dakota State University.
Telematics can make possible for agricultural consultants to troubleshoot problems remotely and offer guidance to resolve technical issues without interrupting fieldwork or making trips to the field. It also has the potential to increase equipment operating efficiencies.
“Telematics is a technology that captures data from farm equipment operating in a field and transfers the data to the Internet in real time,” said John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist.
Trimble’s Connected Farm uses Farm Works software to manage data transferred to and from the farm equipment. Trimble uses either cellular or wireless technology to transfer the data. Cellular use requires a cell phone service plan with annual subscription fees and is limited only by signal coverage.
Raven Industries has a telematics service called Slingshot. It works with major cell phone networks and delivers real-time kinematic global positioning system correction signals, data transfer, Internet connection and real-time Raven technical support in the field. Slingshot allows users to track a vehicle’s location and transfers data from field to office and vice versa. Users also can access their data from any computer connected to the Internet.
John Deere’s JD Link Ultimate telematics service includes road map and driving directions, machine utilisation information and remote equipment diagnostics. John Deere offers both cellular and satellite communications services for a fee.
AGCO’s AgCommand Advanced telematics service monitors machine location, engine and transmission status, hydraulic operations, combine operation information and other data. The data is stored in a computer on the equipment but periodically transfers the data to a website. The user can view the information on a computer connected to the Internet or on a cell phone.
“So far, telematics is used primarily to track a vehicle’s location,” Nowatzki says. “However, its increasing sophistication is making it possible to use it for other applications. With the increased use of computer electronics in tractors and other farm equipment, the remote diagnostics and direct technical assistance from the manufacturers’ technical personnel is increasingly attractive to farm equipment operators.”