Telematics offers a range of benefits to farmers, ranchers and agribusiness managers. The telematics toolset for agriculture is rapidly growing and evolving. It offers new value, efficiency, risk mitigation and ultimately, increased revenue opportunities.
Telematics and its value
Telematics is a network of data-collecting sensors and devices. They monitor vehicle and machinery operation and operator performance. This helps business managers optimize man and machine. It contributes to safe, profitable operations. Data generated by telematics can be applied to informed decisions in key areas:
- Efficiency. Improve efficiency by tracking the location and performance of vehicles and equipment. This data can be used to optimize routes, plan maintenance and identify areas where productivity can be improved.
- Cost. Reduce operating costs by tracking data points like fuel usage in real-time. This helps owners stay ahead of maintenance needs and expenses.
- Safety. Track the location and speed of vehicles and equipment. This information can be used to identify and mitigate potential hazards.
- Clarity. In the event of an accident, telematics can provide data to help clarify events and more smoothly resolve insurance claims. This can save operators time and protect their reputations.
“Telematics provides farmers new safety measures and efficiencies. This is rising in importance during a time of increased regulations and workforce shortages,” said Razor Tracking partner Eric Mauch. “Telematics allows them to monitor their operations from their office, vehicle or wherever they need to be. It’s like having a digital twin of an entire farm operation.”
More than just an extra set of eyes
Too often, people think about just the safety aspects but the commercial trucking industry has validated many production benefits of telematics. It provides customers a view of operator behavior that contributes to safe operation. It also helps them stay on top of maintenance issues. Both contribute to improved revenue prospects in the long run. Telematics can also help with the regulatory compliance required in managing a fleet of trucks or other equipment.
There’s also a sustainability component to telematics. It has capabilities like route optimization and maintenance planning. This enables farmers, ranchers and agribusiness customers to demonstrate they’ve cut their use of fuel and other machinery inputs. This data helps validate environmental stewardship, a growing potential revenue source for many operations.
Designing your telematics strategy
Despite this range of benefits of farm telematics, there are barriers to adoption and reluctance among operators. Some drivers and operators see telematics as “Big Brother,” a way for managers to overly monitor their behavior. And there are concerns about installing and maintaining the equipment, as well as the cost to do so. Finally, data security and privacy are big concerns as data continues to grow within farm operations at various levels.
“It is up to the farmer or agribusiness manager who sees and utilizes telematics data. We provide options and are committed to never taking that data elsewhere,” Eric said. “We are committed to keeping every customer’s data secure and private so it’s only used in the intended ways.”
A carefully designed telematics strategy should account for operator reluctance with education and awareness. Then connect the telematics tools your customers integrate into their operations to specific financial benefits. As telematics advances, so do the tools that contribute to it. This makes it important for farmers, ranchers and agribusiness managers to always evolve their well-planned telematics strategies over time.