Raven Acquisition Would Expand GPS, Wireless Web Capabilities

Raven Industries, Inc. announced that it entered into a purchase agreement to buy Ranchview, Inc. The Canadian technology company develops systems that use cellular networks instead of traditional radio systems that are typically used to deliver Real Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections to GPS enabled equipment. The network can also be used to deliver high-speed Internet access.

The acquisition would provide some key benefits to Raven’s customers. The Ranchview technology works on GSM, CDMA and HPSA platforms, allowing RTK systems to be installed that best suit specific regions, notes Paul Welbig, Raven marketing manager. “We can use best of breed carriers where it makes the most sense. We are not tied to a single modem or single carrier. We can mix and match based on what works best in what areas.”

There is also the ability to create ad hoc networks using Ranchview’s base station technology. “The rover modem is compatible on a CORS network and can use that signal, but there are also base stations that can be put in place where a CORS network is not available. We can then broadcast RTK to the rovers using a base station.”

Another key benefit is the fact that the system can send and receive wireless Internet, a capability that Raven’s Web-ready Viper Pro and Envizio Pro field computers can take advantage of, notes Welbig. Raven has begun work on integrating the technology already, as the deal is expected to finalize in about a week.

“This product line is a natural extension and fits well with our strategy to improve the movement and use of data in agriculture, plus it provides a simpler solution for providing RTK corrections,” says Raven President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald M. Moquist. “We anticipate that this acquisition will contribute to next year’s earnings. How much will depend on the success of the Ranchview products and services as they are rolled out,” he added.

Matt Burkhart, general manager of Raven’s Applied Technology Division, explained, “We are aggressively pursuing ways to put the most comprehensive precision agriculture technologies in the hands of our customers. In the end, growers will benefit from the integration of these products into our lineup and the lower costs necessary to achieve RTK accuracy.”

For more information visit www.ravenprecision.com.

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