In less than a decade, smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way people consume media, communicate and access information at home, on the go and in the workplace. Agribusinesses have increasingly welcomed mobile technology in precision agriculture and other producer-focused applications; for example, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Monsanto and John Deere, have recently rolled out or upgraded their mobile applications.
In time, applications producing real-time data for grain elevators, feed mills and their customers will hit the streets — and your customer's will have the expectation that you will be ready to deliver their information, tailored to their needs — but will your company be ready once this becomes the norm rather than the exception?
Before your company considers implementing a mobile application, it needs to define it's strategy.
"You need to understand what your customer actually needs, understand the need and the timeframe in which it is to be delivered in order to provide better insight into a simple solution," says Eyvind Mondragon, applications engineer, Repete Corporation.
The development of a mobile application starts with baby steps. “Mobile is about enabling real-time access to key information and the ability to make important decisions instantly,” explains Duey Yliniemi, vice president of product strategy and development at Feed Management Systems. “To make this process seamless for the user, the technology must be capable of integrating data from multiple sources and systems and delivering that information in a user-friendly format so that it’s easy to understand and act on.”
According to Yliniemi, here are three key things to consider when exploring a mobile application for your business:
1) Is it simple?
The mobile solution should be compatible with existing software.
2) Is it secure?
Given the sensetive data a mobile application accesses, a secure platform is paramount.
3) Does it provide visibility into the operation?
Managers in the field can better manage critical control points and resolve issues with real-time data.
One growth area for mobile applications is within the realm of regulatory compliance.
“The typical feed mill guy won’t address this until they have to because they are focused on making feed so pay attention to the legislative trends and how they can be applied,” says Ernie Bollinger, president of WEM Automation. If you’re looking for guidance as it relates to regulatory concerns, consider reaching out to industry resources such as the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) or other industry-specific organizations.
Bollinger also suggestions decision makers who are curious about these new technologies attend trade shows; research best practices implemented by other organizations; and contact their vendors partners to see if they’re knowledgeable about these advancements and follow legislation.
Technology, regulations and agribusiness trends are constantly changing, it's in your companies interest to stay ahead of the curve by being innovative and keeping informed.