#Farm Machinery & Equipment
Safety tech helps bring farmers home every night
Locally developed mobile app works in conjunction with an iOT tracking device to ensure farmers’ safety
Farmers or farm workers often work in isolation on massive acreage, therefore when something happens they are often left without immediate help, posing a big risk to their lives and wellbeing.
Victorian farmers and brothers, Paul and James Diamond, understood those risks and have launched a mobile app that works in conjunction with a pocket-sized iOT (Internet of Things) tracking device - to help bring farmers safely home every night.
In addition to running their AgTech business, AirAgri, the Diamonds also run a beef and sheep property in Mansfield, Victoria, and appreciate how important it is to give their families peace of mind.
“I’m a whiteboard, notepad old fashion schoolish kind of bloke – I’m the hardest sell but just knowing that it could potentially save my life if something goes wrong is huge,” said AirAgri CEO, Paul Diamond.
AirAgri claims its tracking device uses the ‘most bulletproof iOT technology and network’ - the Telstra Cat M1, which gives extended coverage across Australia.
“This network gives beyond the cell tower coverage. Every 10 minutes the tracking device will ping its location back to AirAgri and the system uses a set of proprietary rules to determine if that person is in trouble or not,” said AirAgri co-founder, James Diamond.
“If the person doesn’t dismiss the alarm or audible cue, an alert is sent to the registered users.
“AirAgri provides a series of automated safety notifications using proprietary rules, location, emergency and medical information, along with access to inventory and safe handling working documents like a digital filing cabinet sitting on the farmer’s phone.
“It is practical access to information that doesn’t sit in the front pocket of the Polaris or on the seat of the HiLux.”
AirAgri was one of 20 emerging AgTech start-ups to benefit from a $50,000 grant under the Victorian Government’s $1 million AgTech Grants Program.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Victorian Government and the Department of Agriculture on the launch of AirAgri and the protection of farmers across this great state,” James said.
“80 per cent of farmers don’t use any form of technology so there is a huge opportunity for the sector to become smarter and more efficient.
“Technology to us is about reducing the flow of information and getting the right information to the farmer at the right time – AirAgri becomes the sniper weapon.”
AirAgri is more than just a tracking device, as it also offers farm management software services such as digital mapping that helps farmers understand their operations better and consequently improve efficiency and productivity.
According to James, AirAgri’s value proposition was never about helping farmers to drive yields or efficiency for the sake of record keeping.
It’s based on helping the broader family, business operator or landowner become more productive, sustainable and most importantly, safe.
Within AirAgri, 100 per cent of the data is stored and sovereign in Australia and is owned by the individual, who at any time can delete their data.
The farmer can download their digital map and export it in a global format into a competing platform or another format for later use, or in turn, AirAgri can import data from other platforms.
“We have been using the application in a closed beta for over two years, with over 200 properties on board,” James said.
“Our key focus is now the safety – there is no better reason to get out of bed than to try and make sure every Aussie farmer comes home at the end of every day.
“We are helping farmers source and track the location of their most valuable asset - their people.”
AirAgri provides an invitation-only rental service to rural businesses for the tracking devices at $1 per day whereby the farmer doesn’t have the worry of a Telstra account.
The next step for AirAgri is a wrist band version of the tracking device, giving core body temperature and location, via an integrated iOT sim card.
“Our job is about having solutions making the most out of what we have got – we are not a Telstra or network company,” James said.
“All of our software runs in the cloud – there is nothing to download or install, and all our software works offline which is important for the rural sector.
“If a farmer downloads the app and then goes out where there are potential hazards, risks and no mobile reception, they can still use the application.
“If there is an accident or incident on the farm, the first thing businesses will be asked for is insurance policy and safe work handling documents. We can enable that for farmers in one click and set reminders.”
The brothers are no strangers to innovation, exploring digital mapping way back in the 1980s around the family table on the Mansfield farm.
They went on to develop an early prototype of individual livestock and property management system for recording assets, stock rotations at a mob or individual animal level, and animal health treatments.
James believes technology should be an assistant and not a hindrance.
“Across the country there is a consistent approach to OH&S with every farm required to legally demonstrate their farm map, where the first aid kits and evacuation points are.
“Our research shows 80 per cent of farm businesses don’t have that in place. Where record keeping and technology can really help is with safety,” he said.
“When farmers are doing riskier tasks, they are bending productivity – it’s about helping protect Australian farming families. We want to make sure they come back to their family every day.
“The asset and the land they have worked hard to obtain, keep in the family or build a business around, they don’t want to put that at risk with these new OH&S laws and restrictions.”
AirAgri provides a free base service for digital property maps, individual and livestock record keeping, a second-tier service (tasks, paddocks and livestock) for the price of a cup of coffee and a premium service of proprietary farm safety capability.
For more information on the company and its services, visit AirAgri’s website.