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Research highlights increase of mobile usage in the ag industry

Float Mobile Learning, a consulting firm that develops mobile strategies and apps for major agricultural organizations and Fortune 500 companies, has released a series of three research reports as a result of its comprehensive study of mobile usage in the agriculture industry.

Focus areas for these scans include mobile technology applications for industry professionals and consumers, and what the mobile technology could do for the industry's future.

Mobile agriculture, or mAgriculture, has existed in other parts of the world for more than a decade, but it has only recently started to flourish in North America.

"The trend in North America is to larger farms, increasing automation, and striving for greater efficiencies," said Float senior analyst Gary Woodill. "Mobile technologies will turn agriculture into more of an information business, as precision farming, geolocation data, and access to immediate market information, all become important. Consumers are also asking for more information about farming practices and the food that we eat, which can be gathered and sent via mobile devices."

Mobile agriculture in North America

Ninety-four percent of farmers own a mobile phone or a smartphone.

Smartphone adoption among American farmers jumped from 10 percent in 2010 to 40 percent by mid-2011.

In a survey of 60 mobile agriculture apps available in North America, 33 percent could be classified as farm management apps.

Emerging market farmers' incomes could rise by $138 billion due to mobile computing and communications services.

One million rural households have broadband Internet access at home solely through wireless broadband services.

Wider application of precision agriculture could reduce water usage by up to 50 percent.

"Drivers of mobile agriculture include globalization and the need to keep up with technologies that are being successfully used in other parts of the world," Woodill said. "Increased efficiency, sustainability, and higher profits through smarter agricultural practices are also pushing mobile ag forward."

In total, Float examined more than 100 apps related to agricultural industry, categorizing them into certain areas such as buyer-seller matching, consumer education, product alerts, farm management and more.

Examples of mobile apps for professionals and consumers

--IveGot1: Crowdsource the location and identification of invasive species.

--Allergy Detective: Identify risky foods, find allergies based on symptoms, and obtain detail about suspected food items.

--Cattle Breeding Calculator: Keep track of service, return and calving dates for cattle.

--GoodGuide: Make purchasing decisions that support fair trade in the developing world and good environmental practice.

--Farmer's Partner: Input variables for a complete overview of a farmer's operation.

--Agriculture Glossary: Reference a glossary of more than 1,300 agricultural terms and definitions.

"Agriculture industry professionals can benefit from using mobile technology in today's fast-paced business climate because it offers a way to stay connected," said Float's managing director, Chad Udell. "Because of its ubiquitous nature, learning with smartphones and tablets may be the only way to get just-in-time information to these professionals when they are on the road or in the fields."

To learn more about Float's environmental scans on mobile in agriculture, please visit the Float Mobile Learning blog. The full report is available for download at http://floatlearning.com/magriculture.

Date: 10/1/2012



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