Telematics. It's the latest buzzword in the ag industry, and it has farmers rethinking how they manage their fleets of machinery.
With the recent availability of AFS Connect Manager and AFS Connect Executive, Case IH dealers are enabling producers to better track their equipment on a number of levels. These packages can be retrofit to Case IH equipment and competitors' machines.
“More importantly, Case IH will back up the AFS technology with the expertise and local support our customers have told us they need to put advanced technologies to work in their operations,” says Trevor Mecham, Case IH Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) marketing manager.
With so many dollars invested in equipment and technology, service after the sale is a critical piece of the puzzle. Dealerships struggle to find qualified technicians to service this ever-growing area of precision ag technology.
“AFS Connect has tremendous potential to improve producers' abilities to manage their equipment and to find new opportunities to improve return on investment,” Mecham says. “Our product specialists and dealers are committed to working alongside our customers to help them achieve that potential.”
To complete the circle of wireless communication between equipment and the office, AFS Connect combines GPS and cellular technology with a Case IH AFS Pro 600 or Pro 700 display in real time.
This means the system provides immediate information to help in fleet management, performance analysis, and remote file management. It will also support two-way messaging.
AFS Connect Manager features fleet management capabilities, localization of machines, a working status overview, alerts, and security features.
“Fleet management accurately pinpoints the location of a given machine,” says Mecham. “Alerts and security include geo-fencing and curfew management, both of which can guard against theft. Geo-fencing ensures that a machine stays within certain coordinates, and curfew management sends an alert if a machine is started after working hours.”
AFS Connect Executive includes all the components of AFS Connect Manager plus the following additional key features:
• File transfer. Yield data and other valuable information can be extracted as it happens and can be transferred to AFS software for quicker decision-making.
• Two-way messaging. Through telematics, machines can be selected to receive information. Messages can appear on each machine's display instantly and machine operators, in turn, can respond.
• Virtual display. The monitor in each machine can be seen from a remote location (such as an office), with information being updated every 15 minutes. The system shows coverage area, machine hours, fuel use, and an array of other inputs. The computer view can be customized to display information to make it as efficient and effective as possible for the operation.
“These exclusive AFS Connect features – in combination with support from the local dealer and Case IH field team – allow owners to save time and improve overall efficiency by focusing on top-level management,” says Mecham.