Technology has made communication simpler over the years. Alexander Graham Bell likely would have never imagined the telephone would evolve from a system of lines ran by an operator to a cellular based system connecting people across continents. Now the next movement of communication improvements looks to wearable technologies.
These wearable technologies include a plethora of devices, but the most interesting for farmers maybe smart glasses.
“For agricultural professionals that need to work hands-on in multiple environments a device like an emerging smart glasses or the wearable category are going to be 100% useful in agriculture globally,” says Bruce Rasa, CEO and founder of TekWear, LLC.
Rasa’s company has been focused on creating a patent pending dashboard system for smart glasses and other wearable technologies specifically for agriculture.
Smart glasses allow operators to work hands-free while doing another task.
“Whether that was inspecting an animal or machinery, it allows them to stay engaged in the task they were working on without stopping to interrupt their work to record their information,” Rasa says.
Many producers and agriculture professionals spend hours writing down or typing out what they’ve done the past day. Smart glasses would help eliminate time spent in the office doing sometimes trivial tasks.
Rasa believes smart glasses will be more of a specialty tool in agriculture that is more vertical in use. “It is not a horizontal Swiss army knife for everybody. It is also itself not a smart phone, it is not a universal tool that everyone would use.”
While the use of smart glasses may be limited there is potential for helping those producers in remote areas or during times when agriculture professionals are in high demand like planting or harvest.
For instance, a farmer could be working on a piece of machinery while talking to a service tech who is looking at what you are seeing in an office across the globe.
“That is absolutely one of the favorite use cases,” Rasa relates. “Most people think of it as ask an expert or get a second opinion.”
Training a new employee could be another practical use for smart glasses because they could be walked through different on the farm tasks in real-time.
Social media could also play a role as more producers try to connect with the 98% of the population not involved in agriculture. A farmer might record their daily activities similar to using a GoPro for YouTube videos or a smartphone for Instagram, but now the viewer would be seeing exactly what happened on the farm.
“I do think there is a little piece of citizen journalist there. They can help and contribute to the whole landscape from a first person point of view from where they are,” Rasa says.
The market place for smart glasses wearable technology is still young.
“Billions of dollars have been invested in the last 18 months in the category of wearables as the next potential wave of next generation mobile solutions,” Rasa says.
Google Glass, the emerging leader in the category just announced in January the halt in sale of their beta version of the product. “It has basically graduated from a research division, from frankly the wild and crazy public beta the last two years, and now it has gone into their product group,” Rasa says.
During the initial beta testing Google Glass ran at a cost of $1,500. The projected cost for the finished consumer product will likely run much lower than that possibly in the price range of an iPad or high-end smartphone.
“It is an extremely exciting time. It is still new and it is absolutely not for everybody,” Rasa adds. “We think it is the next wave of mobility in agriculture.”