More farmers are using the cloud these days. The cloud refers to a connection of multiple computers connected through a network provided by a server. It does not exist physically, but is what we use to check email online, browse the Internet with smartphones, and now, transfer data from the combine or tractor to the office.
An example is Ag Leader's AgFiniti, a cloud-based server which will be available in early 2014. With a Wi-Fi connection, AgFiniti allows producers to send data from the field to the cloud with a few touches of the display. Growers can then download it to the computer, rather than using a USB drive to transfer it.
Justin Ogle, GIS operations manager at Prime Meridian near Nevada, Missouri, a pilot user for AgFiniti, says the cloud makes it easier to back up the raw data. With USB drives, the raw data was lost if the drive was lost, and an issue has been getting the data from the combine to the office. "Getting the growers to have the USB drive in the display at all times was a challenge," he says. "When they get done at midnight, the last thing they think about is bringing the USB in and uploading the data."
Advancements in precision ag
As technology has progressed, Mike Olson, Ag Leader North America sales manager says precision data systems have become more user-friendly and more available. AgFiniti is no exception – if the operator can access Wi-Fi and operate the display screen, they can use the AgFiniti server. "We're trying to keep it as simple as possible," Olson says. "You don't have to be tech-savvy to reap the benefits of precision agriculture."
The same data-conscious growers who will likely be using AgFiniti will also benefit from Remote Viewing, which Ag Leader announced in early November. "With Remote Viewing, from the office an owner can pull up one of their displays operating in the field and view what is going on in real time. This will also be helpful in technical support situations where a service provider, or Ag Leader's Technical Support Team, can dial into the display from the office and provide immediate technical service without having to drive to the field. This should enable faster response times allowing the operator increased efficiency," Olson says. "Once you get a wireless connection, the opportunities are infinite."
For more information on AgFiniti, read the November Kansas Farmer.