Understanding Apps, cloud and all those other things
By Scott Sartor
Are you interested in modern computer technology? If you are, then you surely know the difference between the “cloud” and a “desktop application” If you aren’t very tech savvy, it might interest you to learn what these terms mean, especially considering the rate at which technology is entering the agriculture industry.
Data has always been utilized by the agriculture industry, but these days, data is an immediate and on-going result of user-friendly technology rather than from arduous manual collection. So, let’s take a look at technology and data. We’ll start with the basics.
An “app” is a software application, whether it is accessed from a mobile device (where most people apply the term “app”) or from a PC (personal computer). Apps run on operating systems such as iOS (Apple), Linux (Android), or Windows. “Programs” are a set of instructions that perform tasks, executed by a computer or a software application. We hardly ever refer to software as a “computer program” anymore – that’s because most software is accessed from the cloud, not on desktop computers. The cloud stores data from the apps you use on your phone, tablet, or computer, and provides you access to it anytime from anywhere.
Desktop software applications (put a disc in the drive) that don’t require an Internet connection, will soon be extinct, as cloud-based applications connect the user to his data from any device, via the Internet. Technology has evolved to a point where cloud-based software apps can exchange data with each other through secure connections. This is done through technology called Application Program Interfaces (API), which is the future of data connectivity. This technology will allow you to securely transfer your data across all the apps that you use and will be very convenient. Of course, companies you do business with will have to build the connectivity into the applications; many of them have already done so.
Some of the things you can do with cloud-based apps: check rainfall amounts on your farm, schedule irrigation systems, see the current position of your equipment, connect to your bank account, and track your crop & livestock sales. This is not the future, this is now. Technology has changed and will continue to change your farm. Are you ready?
Scott Sartor is a manager at K•Coe Isom. Scott developed Croptell, a web-based application that provides financial reporting and farm business intelligence to farmers, enabling time savings and better business decisions. Scott has worked with farmers and their financials – in risk management or finance for over 17 years — and stays passionate about technology because it makes operations more efficient. Follow him on Twitter @croptellScott.