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AgriSync Brings Farmers, Service Advisers Together With Free Remote Support
Imagine this. You're spraying a burndown herbicide and suddenly an alarm in your machine sounds. It's probably a simple fix, but you're baffled. An in-field service call is not only costly but also time-consuming. And you need to get the field finished up as soon as possible. Or, perhaps you're walking a soybean field and see lodged plants in the midst of a perfectly healthy stand. You suspect soybean stem borer, but just aren't sure.
A new smartphone application called AgriSync can help on both accounts.
AgriSync is a mobile-based support tool that connects farmers with advisers remotely. It serves as a single point of access to all of a farmer's advisers, whether agronomy- or machinery-related. Producers and advisers communicate in real-time video, providing a more robust service experience than a phone call. Yet a service experience with AgriSync is timelier and less expensive than an in-person service call.
"The goal is to reduce downtime and maximize return on investment," says Casey Niemann, one of the founders of the Des Moines-based AgriSync. Niemann grew up on a farm in northeast Kansas that his father and uncle still operate.
"On our family farm, there is a lot of access to technology. It is overwhelming," he says. "There are farmers who see the possibilities that come with technology, and they get frustrated trying to make it all work together."
AgriSync is an intermediary between farmer and adviser. Free to farmers through iTunes or Google Play, it is a simple application platform focused solely on remote support. Farmers may request help from any participating service adviser; the advisers pay a subscription fee to belong to AgriSync.
How it works
A farmer can request help through the app from one of his advisers. That launches a ticket, and the adviser can call immediately or send a text to set up an appointment. Through the AgriSync app, the farmer and adviser can open up a video dialogue. Because the adviser can see exactly what the farmer sees, issues are resolved quickly. When the problem is solved, the farmer rates the quality of the call, providing feedback to the adviser.
Advisers can track all the tickets and feedback from a mobile app or team portal, which enables him or her to collaborate with peer advisers from the dealership or ag retailer.
"Every time a service provider goes to a farm it costs them money, but the problem may not even be a toolbox issue," Niemann adds. Oftentimes they might just reset a monitor, or adjust a few settings. An in-person service call costs time, money, and is frustrating. AgriSync seeks to cut costs and time for both farmer and adviser.
Saves time, saves money
"AgriSync is a great tool to help us help our clients," says Mark Johnson, field agronomist at Iowa State University. "When someone covers eight to 10 counties like we do, this could be a substantial savings of time and expense."
Farmers could use Facetime on an iPhone, or the Android equivalent, but that requires ensuring both parties use a similar device. Plus, there is no ticketing platform to ensure a solution was found. In one app, AgriSync allows farmers to have one-touch access to multiple advisers, even if they are from different companies.
After several months of testing, AgriSync launched production in December. The list of companies signing on to provide support is growing, and includes several ag retailers, equipment dealers, and precision ag specialists. Farmers can invite their local advisers to a free trial of the service through the app.
AgriSync was a finalist in the American Farm Bureau Federation's Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge earlier this month. It earned $15,000 in startup funds by making the final four.
For more, log onto AgriSync.com.
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