The value of precision technology today — and where it’s moving — is in the ecosystem and compatibility. Onboard technologies to enable a vehicle are just one part of the process. Having solutions where we can bolt these older pieces of equipment and newer pieces of equipment together, allow that person to connect their farm with the digital world.
For me, the aftermarket precision companies are the leading innovators of precision technology. Companies like Trimble can move much faster and develop technologies that don’t necessarily impact the vehicle per se — but they do enable the vehicle to transform from a piece of farm machinery to an intelligent farm application vehicle. The components we put on a vehicle benefit the grower.
They enable the grower to utilize a variety of machinery brands, vehicle types and machinery of all ages, and experience the same results. When you look at equipment compatibility, as far as older equipment vs. newer equipment, that’s really secondary to what the precision ag technologies can bring the user as far as user experience and return on investment. If a user of precision technologies wants to capture efficiencies and automate vehicle processes, they can do that with a 10-year-old piece of equipment as well as a new piece of equipment.
The ecosystem or process is really where a grower should investigate and understand what the manufacturer’s ecosystem provides them. We know today that that equipment is becoming more and more integrated with native displays in the tractor for machine functionality. But the precision agriculture ecosystem should be able to tap into those particular brands, extract those digital elements and stick it into that grower’s experience. A good ecosystem will enable your customer to do that.
For example, at Trimble we have data gateways with a host of the major manufacturers around the world when it comes to farm machinery. So, they can pick those digital elements up and arm the grower with that particular information to help them gain operational efficiencies.
Growers really need to understand their local precision farming dealer or other technology reseller and build a relationship with organizations that enable collaboration. That can help them deploy the technology and implement it. Then, as that grower wants to collaborate with his trusted advisor, such as an agronomist or his chemical person, they can collaborate in a digital world to gain operational efficiencies on the farm.
So, look for partners that can help you do that, and streamline those processes for you. It’s highly important that as the dealer you have the right skillsets on staff to help your customers do that. One of the fundamental things behind precision technologies is continuing to grow the skillsets within the dealership.