In an effort to free farmers from vendor-controlled data, Purdue University has launched ISOBlue, an open-source project that aims to provide farmers, via smartphone, with easy access to agricultural data gathered by the industry-standard ISOBUS port located on tractors, harvesters and other equipment including applicators.
FarmLogs, the company that has created user-friendly farm management software and mobile apps to help farmers plan, manage and analyze their farms’ operations, is contributing by making a financial commitment and acting as a mentor on the project.
“Farmers deserve easier access to their data, and we want to tear down the barriers that the industry has put in place,” said Jesse Vollmar, CEO and co-founder of FarmLogs. “We are creating an almost magical experience, where the data simply shows up in real time as the work is being done in the field. Most importantly, the technology that the team at Purdue is building is open-source, so farmers and their partners are no longer at the mercy of the big hardware manufacturers.”
Currently, farmers, agronomists and consultants cannot easily access the useful data that is being generated by farming equipment because of the proprietary data collection systems put in place by agricultural equipment manufacturers. Modern farming equipment generally communicates via a standard ISOBUS network to a proprietary monitor in the tractor or harvester.
ISOBlue’s function is to free data by using a small, low-cost (sub $300) device that forwards the information directly from ISOBUS to the smartphone via Bluetooth. From there, the farmers can easily access the data in real time on their smartphones or elsewhere in the cloud.
Unlike other expensive telematics solutions from vendors such as John Deere and Trimble, ISOBlue uses the existing data connection already on the farmer’s smartphone, saving the cost of a dedicated connection. In addition, the device does not require expensive hardware. Ultimately, ISOBlue will provide farmers with cheaper and easier access to their data, which can be used to increase production and cost savings.
ISOBlue is being exhibited at conferences in coming months.