With increasing reliance on technology on today’s modern farms, getting all the various devices to talk to each other can be a headache. However, one firm thinks it has a solution.
Whether it is a combine’s yield data, a sprayer’s application map, analysis software, or an agronomist’s data, in an age of increasing reliance on technology, the need for connectivity and communication between devices has never been greater.
Unfortunately, not all pieces of technology want to talk to each other, especially if they are made by different manufacturers.
To combat this, German firm DKE is currently developing a cross-manufacturer data hub. In English, this means a place where a multitude of data can be sent, translated, and then forwarded on to an appropriate destination.
For example, a dairy farmer wants to send yield data from the dairy to their farm office software, while simultaneously wanting to send it to their nutritionist. To this end, the new data hub receives the data from the dairy on behalf of the farmer, checks the conformity of the data, then translates the data as far as necessary into another format which is compatible with specified addressees, i.e. farm office software. Once the data has been dealt with via the office software, the hub can then be used again to transfer it to another destination such as a feed plan to be used with a diet feeder.
Data can also be sent in two directions between points, and not just from point A to point B. The sender of the data can specify where the data can be sent and who can see it.
Launch of the new hub is expected in 2017. For farmers and contractors, the use of the data hub is free of charge, with data transport financed by the contributions made by manufacturers of agricultural technology, app developers and other service providers.
According to DKE, the consortium behind the data hub currently consists of manufacturers of agricultural technology, who have come to the mutual realisation that ‘digital farming’ only works if a non-discriminatory data exchange is possible.
As of March 2016, founding members included Agco, Amazone, Grimme, Horsch, Krone, Kuhn, Lemken, Pottinger, Rauch and Same Deutz-Fahr.
Throughout the whole food chain, DKE says the new data hub will enable both farmers and contractors to optimise their agricultural production processes with regard to efficiency, energy, work organisation and the use of operating supplies.
All data activities correspond to current protection directives, says DKE, and are compliant with respective state laws. As for a customer’s data, DKE collects data from the machines or apps and subsequently delivers the encoded data to one or several recipients. Data is only briefly stored during transport.
Rather than the need for multiple communication routes between technologies, Data Hub provides a neutral platform to streamline the sharing of data.