Whenever I go to a farm show the question I get asked is "what's the most interesting thing you've seen?" or "what's the hottest new product." And those are tough questions to answer. Of course, after two days at the National Farm Machinery Show and 43 new products you'll be seeing in the near future; I saw plenty.
But one thing that's starting to gel is the use of cellular technology for everything from precision farming to equipment management. It's possible in several states now to use a cellular-based device for the correction signal for better GPS performance. These are called by a lot of names, and if you're curious talk with your precision tech dealer.
Their basic infrastructure relies on the cell towers that have popped up around the country in the past decade. That data network allows you to pass more than a correction signal around.
For 2010 you're going to see a lot of talk about moving data from tractor to office, from office to combine (and back again) in ways that are a lot more convenient than moving a data card back and forth. In addition, at least one new technology is using the Internet as a backbone paired with this technology. That means your data is safely stored on a secure server far from your farm and safe from disaster.
In the next few weeks we'll explore these technologies in more detail, with information about how different companies are using rugged cell modems to move data to equipment. It's technology I've followed for awhile and it will have a significant impact on how you can manage.
The key is that properly deployed these technologies can make you more efficient, help boost productivity and offer other benefits too. The challenge will be determining how best to deploy the technologies in your operation.