Vodafone launches Rural Connect

Vodafone launches Rural Connect

Farming solution brings together rugged devices, online farming financial management from Figured and Xero, farm vehicle and safety technology from Blackhawk Tracking Systems, and Vodafone’s security software.

Vodafone has launched Rural Connect, a bundle of services designed specifically for farmers.

This farming solution brings together rugged devices, online farming financial management from Figured and Xero, farm vehicle and safety technology from Blackhawk Tracking Systems, and Vodafone’s security software – all delivered over Vodafone’s rural network.

“New Zealand’s agribusiness sector contributes $14 billion to the country’s GDP, whilst at the same time kiwi farmers are dealing with some of the most volatile conditions any business can face,” says Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners.

“We want to help our key industries continue to perform at their full potential and the spotlight is on agribusiness to support our Government’s goal to double the value of primary exports by 2025. Farmers are looking to us for ways to work more efficiently and productively than ever before,” he says.

Vodafone’s Rural Connect will deliver services and products that recognise the needs of this country’s agribusiness sector as well as supporting those of the wider rural community.

Vodafone says this is part of it commitment to the Rural Broadband Initiative.

“New Zealand’s agriculture industry is one of the most advanced in the world and farmers are among the highest adopters of smartphones in New Zealand. Connectivity is underpinning the transformation of our agri-industry and this new solution is an exciting next step in ensuring our farms, agribusinesses and communities remain reliably connected with the right devices, plan and access to technology and innovation that can make a real difference,” says Stanners.

Vodafone worked with Figured to integrate its online financial management into the bundle so that farmers can be enabled by more informed decision making.

Dave Dodds, Figured’s general manager product and customer, says for farmers to grow profit in an environment of fluctuating commodity prices, variable seasonal conditions and rising costs, they need good plans and immediate financial feedback.

Connectivity is underpinning the transformation of our agri-industry.

Russell Stanners, Vodafone

“Figured is helping to improve the business of farming in this country by allowing farmers to efficiently collaborate with accountants, farm advisers, and banks using a single online system, so that they can make more informed decisions in regards to managing cash flows and improving bottom line performance,” says Dodds.

Farm Angel (Powered by Blackhawk Link) uses machine to machine technology to take farm safety and management to a new level. A Farm Angel-enabled quad bike knows when it has been in an accident and will send out a panic alert on behalf of the rider.

It can also be remotely disabled if stolen, and keep farmers in connectivity, even on the remotest paddock. Its system uses Bluetooth and satellite-enabled hardware connected to Vodafone’s M2M network.

Andrew Radcliffe, CEO of Blackhawk says health and safety on the farm is a major issue for farmers, affecting lives and profitability.

He says Vodafone’s machine-to-machine platform has enabled the group to quickly turn its concept into a working product to equip farmers with the information they need to manage their farm more efficiently and keep workers safe.

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