To find the solution that’s right for your needs, you should approach buying agritech in the same way as buying any piece of equipment or infrastructure, or livestock and undertake due diligence.
1. How many customers do you have and are there any in my region?
You may like to ask if you are able to talk to a customer in your region who is using the technology. This way you can obtain direct and honest feedback from a customer.
2. Is there a set-up fee involved, and will there be ongoing costs and maintenance?
Check with the provider that the final cost includes the complete solution. Make sure there are no hidden fees or additional set up costs.
3. Can the device work with a computer as soon as it’s connected – known in the tech industry as ‘plug and play’ – or is a technician required to visit on-farm to install the agritech?
If a technician is required, this can involve additional hidden set up costs
4. Is after-sales support available if needed and where are they located?
You are building a long term relationship with your provider. Make sure you can talk to a real person and don’t need to wait days for a response when you have a question.
5. Can the solution work anywhere?
Check if the device is robust enough to withstand being installed out in the elements in a paddock with livestock. Or if you’re wanting to capture data in real-time, does the technology have the ability to fulfil this requirement.
6. This leads to another critical consideration – the reliability of connectivity. Ask the provider whether satellite options are available?
As many producers are acutely aware, connectivity can be a challenge in rural areas where it is unreliable, slow or unavailable. If you want a device to constantly be collecting data, then reliable connection is obviously vital. If the product has been produced with rural connectivity restraints in mind, they will offer satellite, which works all across Australia.
7. Cost – Price is important for all investments and the real question is, how much VALUE am I getting?
Cheap and nasty could be just that, remember, this is an investment. What is my time worth? Is my time best spent checking water or can I be more productive?