Quick one: more satellites…

This press release from Case/IH says that Case is following Deere’s lead in enabling direct-to-satellite communications on their equipment, but using Intelsat as their satellite provider instead of Deere’s choice of SpaceX.

I’ll make two highly controversial predictions:

  • This will be very beneficial to a small number of users, and the companies will claim a great success all around, but won’t be useful to the vast majority of farmers; and
  • Agco and Globalstar (the last remaining major incumbent ag equipment supplier and the last incumbent satellite provider) will announce a similar deal soon. (that’s a little snarky, I admit, but… honestly, it would not surprise me.)

I mention this just to re-emphasize the points I made earlier about this and, tangentially, to show how far the incumbent suppliers will go to avoid using open-standards technology that they can’t control. Using a “dedicated” upload link, be it cellular or satellite, allows them to control where the data from your equipment goes and what happens to it. Using an open system like Ayrstone’s AyrMesh WiFi may not give you all the good choices you’d like, but it at least gives you the option to cut off access by using your router to block the data stream. I’d really like to see more open-standard AgTech equipment to give growers and their trusted partners more control over the data from the farm, and I’m hoping that’s a trend that takes hold in the industry.

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