Farming meets technology in new Fraunhofer app
Smartphones have become an omnipresent part of our day-to-day lives. Apple alone offers 500,000 apps in its online store, and last week German research foundation Fraunhofer announced a new app that will make work easier in an unlikely setting: on the farm.
Enlarge image Smartphone application (© picture-alliance / M.i.S.-Sportp) Operating a modern farm is no longer the stuff of Little House on the Prairie. In the last 100 years, as farming has become more industrialized, it has become big business. The upshot: organizing workers, plantings, and harvests has become more complex than ever before.
The Fraunhofer researchers who developed this new app hope to help ease the coordination of numerous agricultural workers and machines.
"In the future, smartphones will become more and more popular in the field, making work easier for farmers and agricultural subcontractors alike," a Fraunhofer press release stated about the app.
"They will enter their work instructions on their computer or mobile tablet, and the harvest assistants will receive these updates on an app especially designed for the purpose on their smartphones. The benefits: The instructions can be adjusted to the situation at hand at any time. Employees can also use the app to document their work better than before, showing with just a few 'touches,' for instance, when they began working on which tasks in which fields, and indicating where and why there were any delays."
Researchers partnered with John Deere on the project, but found the biggest challenge to be creating an app that was both effective and user-friendly.
"To do this, we involved end users in the process at an early stage - farmers, agricultural subcontractors and workers. They tested the app at various times; this helped us tailor it to their requirements," said Ralph Carbon, head of "Business Goes Mobile."
The app will be presented at CeBIT 2012, which will be held from March 6 to 10 in Hanover, Germany. The group will simultaneously present an application designed to help business travellers keep track of their working hours and expenses while on the road.