Initiated in Germany at the 2017 Agritechnica, agrirouter, a data communication platform, intends to standardise and thus simplify data communication between in-field tractors and machines and cloud-based farm management software. It’s now at the eve of being launched.
It was June 2014 when 10 predominantly German manufacturers, Agco, Amazone, Deutz-Fahr, Grimme, Horsch, Krone, Kuhn, Lemken, Pöttinger and Rauch started with a strategic approach towards a standardised product for data transfer between different brands of machines and different types of farm management software (FMS).
Need for connectivity
Their main reason was the need for connectivity and the fact that that was not always easy. The need for just one interface became apparent. In 2016, the companies founded a separate company, DKE-Data GmbH & Co. KG, to operate that platform and in November 2017, the agrirouter platform was presented at the Agritechnica where it also won a silver medal.
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11 manufacturers teamed up to create a brand independent data exchange platform to ensure connectivity. - Photo: DKE
Meanwhile, also French company Exel Industries has joined the platform. The agrirouter consortium currently consists of 11 partners, all of them agricultural machinery manufactures. The consortium is open to new members from this industry and further agricultural machinery manufacturers can become shareholders. Currently, about 30 providers of farm management software partnered agrirouter. DKE itself is a non-profit organisation.
Simplify data exchange
Agrirouter intends to simplify and standardise the communication across the value chain of food production, ‘from seed to food’. Firstly, it will focus on arable farming or rather crop production and possibly extend to livestock production later on.
In September 2016, DKE, it’s shareholders and software provider SAP, specified the requirements of agrirouter, or rather the data exchange platform. The result is my-agrirouter, where every farmer/contractor can register and create his/her own account for free.
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The next step is adding tractors, machines and implements to the profile and virtually connect these to the farm management software(s). As from that moment, any machine with a telemetry unit is able to communicate wirelessly with agrirouter.
For older and existing tractors and machines, a retrofit telemetry kit will become available. Farmers and contractors will from then on be benefitting from just one interface for their data exchange between field and FMS.
No data storage nor evaluation
DKE is keen on telling that agrirouter nor DKE store or view, nor evaluate any data apart from a 4 weeks buffer to secure verified data transfer. The data remains the property of the lawful owner (farmer, contractor) and all data transfers are encrypted and German privacy laws apply. Data owners can decide to share their data with for instance advisors or accountants.
My-agrirouter also contains a market place where providers can offer apps and currently, there are 7 apps on offer.
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Currently, about 30 FMS and app providers have partnered DKE/agrirouter. Every party is welcome to join the initiative. - Photo: René Koerhuis
Age plays no role! Any tractor and machine can be connected with agrirouter with a retrofit connectivity kit. - Photo: René Koerhuis
A schematic overview of how agrirouter works. - Photo: Lemken
In the agrirouter business model, the app providers are billed for the transported and received data volume. It is up to the app provider how to invoice farmers and contractors. In addition, there are mobile phone charges for the transfer of data between the machine and the agrirouter. agrirouter does not charge app providers to place their products in its market place.
DKE’s strategic goal is to make agrirouter a globally used platform. Currently the main focus is on Europe and the next step is expanding to the rest of the world. And as far as the non-partnering global players concern, DKE is keen on emphasizing that any party is welcome to join DKE/agrirouter at any time.