Remember when mobile apps first exploded onto the scene and became quite the rage, writes Matt Hopkins at CropLife. The year was 2010. The slogan “There’s an app for that!” took off, the app stores emerged, and the tech slang ‘app’ was voted the 2010 ‘Word of the Year’ by the American Dialect Society.
Yet, mobile apps were just scratching the surface in digital capabilities at that time. If you strike a comparison between the agricultural apps launched today versus those that were first introduced more than a decade ago, the difference is monumental. The majority of the apps ag professionals downloaded in 2010 performed some basic functions of computing and record keeping, which almost seem archaic compared to the apps of today.
Today, technologies like IOT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) have migrated apps to another level, wherein everything is focused on giving users actionable insights. App developers continue to innovate new ways to solve problems, increase the availability of knowledge, and connect businesses to customers. Moreover, there are new e-commerce apps that have helped retailers increase their sales exponentially.
“We are past the honeymoon phase of agriculture apps,” says Casey Niemann, President of AgriSync. “Farmers and retailers want solutions that solve practical problems. The bar for quality and continuous improvement continues to be raised. 2020 has taught us that the digital transformation is upon us now. We are glad to be providing a service that brings farmers and their trusted advisors together — even when they are social distancing.”
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Trends in Agriculture Apps
So where do agriculture apps go next? As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we caught up with a few ag-tech companies to gain insight into the trends shaping mobile app development and what we can expect to see in agriculture.
“Security is becoming more and more important in every aspect of our digital life,” says Reinder Prins, Chief Marketing Officer for Agworld. “Secure login technology like AuthO or other SSO providers are becoming a ‘must have’ instead of a ‘nice to have’ for all agricultural apps.”
Enhanced analytics capabilities is another area that is growing in importance in app development, adds Prins.
“Instead of offering desktop-only applications that are linked to a mobile app, with reporting capabilities that apps can’t offer, mobile apps are increasingly designed to integrate with specialized analytics platforms that can offer users on-demand analytics on mobile devices,” he says. “One of the main new features of Agworld that has been important to our users in 2020 is the integration between Agworld and Microsoft Power BI. Instead of relying on static reports, the Microsoft Power BI integration now allows Agworld users to create dashboards with those statistics that are important to them. Users can also integrate existing data from other systems into their dashboards, leveraging Power BI as much as possible.”