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How to overcome key barriers to telematics adoption on the farm

June 16, 2023

Telematics systems have a range of value propositions for farm and ranch customers. That’s especially true for those who operate large fleets of trucks and machinery on and off the road.

Farm telematics collects data that enables fleet managers, farmers and ranchers to make informed decisions and operate safely and efficiently. Telematics is similar to other familiar farm data-gathering technology like yield monitors and GPS, but adopting telematics isn’t always easy. Understand the concerns your farm customers may have and how to overcome them with the tips and information below.

Top telematics barriers to adoption

Efficiency, cost savings, risk mitigation, safety and productivity are some of the benefits of farm and ranch telematics. But there can be barriers to adding it to a farm fleet, even seasonal-use vehicles like trucks hauling grain during harvest. Addressing barriers like these with everyone on a farm or ranch helps with customer adoption.

  • Cost. Introducing telematics into a farm or ranch fleet is an investment. There’s the initial cost of hardware and installation as well as ongoing data usage and maintenance costs. Cost is often a major variable in finding the right system for a farm or ranch. Clearly showing the ways telematics can save money over time can help overcome this barrier. Plus, you can offer discounted Razor telematics and asset tracking solutions to make the cost more manageable for Nationwide policyholders.
  • Complexity. Telematics is essentially a way to collect basic data points. But the hardware and data it generates can be complex for some customers. Overcome this barrier by making sure they’re trained on how telematics systems work and how to troubleshoot any issues. Our Risk Management team is experienced with fleet telematics and can help your customers get started.
  • Privacy. As with other data tools in agriculture, keeping telematics data private is a major concern. One way to overcome this barrier is working with a provider who demonstrates attention to data privacy and security.
  • Change. Adopting telematics requires change. And that’s not always easy for everyone on a farm or ranch. Resistance to change is best overcome by generally educating everyone on an operation about telematics. This should include its benefits and why it is being added.

Overcoming the ‘Big Brother’ barrier

Some drivers or farm machinery operators may feel the monitoring provided by telematics systems amounts to surveillance. Some may fear this will lead to control of their behavior behind the wheel. The idea of such monitoring even may be construed as a way to punish drivers for minor issues or infractions during operation.

Telematics does enable operator monitoring. But that doesn’t mean it’s being used only for the enforcement of rules and regulations. It can also reward safe operator behavior. Some fleet managers use telematics systems to create friendly competition among operators based on their performance. This type of gamification and resulting improvements are possible with the data telematics provides fleet managers.

Your farm and ranch customers can also overcome the “Big Brother” barrier by discussing why they’re using telematics, including expectations for operators. Fleet managers should answer any operator questions and ensure everyone is on the same page as it relates to telematics expectations. Transparency goes a long way when it comes to adopting new tools like telematics.