Technology has permeated almost every aspect of life with the promise of making your days better and easier. Can’t find your keys? Not sure if you locked the back door or shut off the coffeemaker before you left the house? These days, the Internet of Things puts the answers in the palm of your hand. Literally.
If you have a smart phone, you can simplify your daily tasks from your home to your business. Finding your keys, locking and unlocking your doors, turning off your kitchen appliances, and many other routine habits can all be done from software apps on your smartphone.
How is this possible? Through the Internet of Things – IoT.
So What is the Internet of Things?
Everyday physical objects connect to the Internet via sensors, electronics, software, and actuators that are embedded in or attached to these objects. These IoT products, or “things,” give us better control over our environments, connect us to systems we use in daily life, and provide insights into how we consume resources, among other things. These items are no longer solely related to the user, they can now identify themselves to other devices, connect to surrounding objects, and access and deliver information to various databases.
By 2020, experts in technology trends predict that there will be 20.4 billion connected devices – that’s four devices per person living on the planet. If you’re resisting moving in the direction of smart farming, you may want to start rethinking that.
Why is It Important to Understand the IoT?
The answer is simple one. It’s the only way to fully grasp the direction the world is moving, and what this future will mean for you. The IoT concept has many “old school” thinkers on edge. While there is good reason to proceed thoughtfully with rapidly expanding technologies (like putting data security measures in place), pushing back won’t slow technology’s forward progression.
This means no matter how you personally feel about the tech invasion, it’s here to stay. You’ll need to adapt, learn, and grow alongside it for your farm operation to thrive in the future. But this does not have to be done in impulsive or excessive ways. You can start small, try things out one at a time, and find a comfortable balance that seamlessly integrates technology into your habits, ideals, and goals.
Tri-States Grain Conditioning has grain temperature monitoring devices and systems with a variety of capabilities at various price points. Pick the one that’s right for you, or get more information here.
Meeting the World’s Growing Demands with Smart Farming
Agribusiness may be one of the last industries to embrace new technological developments, but in more recent years that’s changed. Now farming is seeing all sorts of new technologies aimed their way. And with a global population headed to surpass 9.6 billion by the year 2050, tech in the agriculture industry has never been more imperative. Increased demand will be inevitable, because food grains make up between 67 and 80% of the world’s food supply.
Non-farmers may think, “You just need to plant more crops. Problem solved.” But farmers know better. They know arable land cannot be expanded any further, and is, in fact, shrinking. The only way to meet the coming demand is by increasing productivity on available farm acreage, and perfecting the art of storing grain.
This is where the Internet of Things comes into play. Smart irrigation systems, for example, use soil moisture sensors that detect change in the moisture level of soil. The system uses the IoT to automate irrigation, which helps the farmer manage water resources and save money. Farmers are also using the IoT in agriculture for GPS spraying, variable rate fertilizing, precision planting, and grain condition monitoring.
Grain Storage and the Internet of Things
Advanced grain monitoring systems like those available from Tri-States Grain Conditioning rely on the IoT. They connect sensors to software that helps farmers monitor grain health, often without being present at bin sites. The most advanced versions of these systems can monitor grain temperatures remotely, manage fans, and even prevent grain theft. With every system, you obtain real-time readings that alert you to any problems, so you can correct them swiftly.
Sometimes these systems are perceived as too expensive. This is one reason some farmers scoff in the face of tech. It can seem like every new advancement means a big investment. While the upfront costs are not minimal, the return on investment for the systems far outweighs the initial price point.
Looking to the long-term is how you’ll realize the value of these systems. It’s okay to be skeptical and want to see the benefits before you commit to the biggest purchases. But doing nothing can’t be the answer either, you need a way to bridge the gap.
The Internet of Things Bridging the Gap
One of the ways this can be done with grain storage is by opting for portable grain monitoring systems first. There are three different styles you can choose from, each with different capabilities, but all of which are affordable. And while they are not all as comprehensive as the more advanced GrainTrac system, they are far superior to manual methods farmers have historically relied on.
With the Bin Temp 612 or 1821 portable grain temperature monitoring device, you can get instant and accurate temperatures. The 612 can monitor up to 12 temperature readings per cable, and the 1812 up to 21 per cable. The DTL PLUS Grain Temperature Monitor also allows you to store and print out grain temperatures. It works with any Windows computer system with a CD-ROM.
The fastest portable grain temperature monitoring system is SafeScan Digital Scanner. With this system, you can program it to take up to 7 temperatures and save them for later viewing. Not only does SafeScan software provide you with data viewing, but it also analyzes, graphs, reports, and archives data. You can get an at-a-glance analysis with clear, colorful graphics.
GrainTRAC Remote Grain Management
When you’re ready for the Cadillac of remote grain temperature monitoring, you can upgrade your system to GrainTRAC. It makes it possible for you to monitor your grain’s health from anywhere in the world that has Internet. It has several other features like grain theft monitoring and bin fan management.
The future is here and it’s time to ease on down the road with the Internet of Things.