Getting Smart with Smartphones

09:47PM Nov 13, 2013
Dino Giacomazzi
( Wyatt Bechtel )

For dairy producer Dino Giacomazzi of Hanford, Calif., the use of his smartphone is one of the greatest tools that he has on his farm.

Smartphones have revolutionized the way business is done across the world and the handheld multi-purpose devices can lead to improved efficiency in the dairy industry.

For dairy producer Dino Giacomazzi of Hanford, Calif., the use of his smartphone is one of the greatest tools that he has on his farm.

During the Elite Producer Business Conference in Las Vegas, Giacomazzi shared some tips with other producers on how he gets the most out of his smartphone during a workshop session called "Getting Smart with Smartphones."

Giacomazzi is a fourth-generation dairyman who runs a 950-cow dairy and farms 600 acres. Prior to coming back to the family operation, Giacomazzi worked in the music industry and later gained an interest in creating websites.

He describes himself as a "nerd and a tech geek" because of that experience working on Internet programing.

"That’s why I have a lot of interests and spend a lot of time messing around with these apps. I try to find ways to use my phone to make what I do on the farm more efficient, make better use of my time and have access to more information," said Giacomazzi.

Apps are the most powerful reason to use smartphones and even tablets, like an Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface.

Giacomazzi uses an array of apps on his smartphone and tablet to help him in his everyday work on the dairy.

Here are some of the apps that Giacomazzi utilizes and a description of what he does with some of them:

  • Remember The Milk: Is a task management program that is "cloud based," meaning data is stored via the Internet. He keeps notes on this app with a voice command note taker. It allows him to better manage his day-to-day operations by tagging tasks that need to be done with reminders that are geo-sensitive. For instance, if Giacomazzi is in town, a reminder can be sent to him that lists items that should be purchased for the farm.
  • Dropbox: This cloud-based, file-sharing program can be installed on a computer. It synches between multiple computers and mobile devices to allow file downloads from anywhere. On Giacomazzi’s farm, he has billing information kept on Dropbox, which allows him to keep up to date on his accounting. He also shares documents with his veterinarian via Dropbox rather than faxing or emailing them.
  • Google Drive: A document program that can be accessed by multiple users to work on and it is totally collaborative. Giacomazzi uses Google Drive for in the field data collection on things like dry matter testing or treatments of calves.
  • Evernote: It is a great place to store lots of information. He has created separate folders to store files like resumes for prospective employees or travel information.
  • TeamViewer: The program allows the user to remotely control a desktop computer.
  • Genius Scan: Is an app that acts like a scanner to create PDFs out of documents or images.
  • Flipboard: Can create custom magazines and newspapers with subscriptions to various news websites like the Huffington Post or New York Times. The app can also follow Twitter and pickup links that are sent on the social media website.
  • Duolingo: The free language education app is useful for producers who may have employees who don’t speak English. It can translate documents and webpages.

Giacomazzi jokingly said, "I sort of think a smartphone is for stupid people." He related that you lose all this information that you’ve learned like math formulas or directions, and that smartphones serve as a place to store some of those excess memories.

"My smartphone has sort of become an extension of my brain. It gives me the opportunity to offload things from my own brain that the phone does better than I do," said Giacomazzi.