Control Room: field command can happen from anywhere

By Alexandre de Alencar, Director of Research and Development for Hexagon's Agriculture Division

12 November 2020
Web_Double_Pod-shutterstock_362358830_ CONTROL ROOM

A single solution that allows all cultivation, harvesting and transportation operations that take place in the field to be controlled remotely. This is the idea of HxGN AgrOn Control Room, a software for real-time monitoring of everything that happens in the fields. Hexagon's Agriculture division system facilitates process management and quick decision making to increase productivity and prevent problems with any type of crop.

The software allows the structuring of command centres, where teams of operators are able to stay connected with field activities even from a distance. The computers of the AgrOn Control Room receive information online on a continuous basis of everything that happens at these production sites. The data comes from displays installed on agricultural machines, whether they are harvesters, tractors or trucks.

There are countless monitoring and telemetry data recorded in real time by the onboard controllers by means of physical and logical sensors: tracking the machine's path, start and end time of the activity, average speed of the route, stops and manoeuvres, how much was planted or harvested, how the application of a particular sprayer went, and so on and so forth.

This information is transferred from the displays of the machines to the cloud of the HxGN AgrOn platform through communication channels such as 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi or even by satellite. All information that comes through the system about the execution of operations can be continuously compared with the planned goals, in addition to giving origin to performance analyses.

This real-time monitoring allows quick interventions to be made whenever necessary, which avoids losses and provides more efficiency. The solution itself issues notifications and alerts of irregularities, incidents and machine performance problems, according to the configuration performed. It is possible, for example, to adjust the software to emit an alarm when a machine is above a set speed or when the engine has been idle for a long time, with the vehicle stopped, using fuel unnecessarily.

Combining the analysis of this data with the use of radio stations for direct communication with field operators, forwarding error resolution, route correction or machine repairs are also much faster. These actions can even be guided by decision trees created in the software. These trees are roadmaps for procedures to be followed in certain cases - such as, for example, open a ticket for the support team to perform maintenance on a broken tractor.

The AgrOn Control Room also provides visualisation of the activities and data collected from the equipment, both on georeferenced maps and in detailed reports. Information on operating time, productivity and yield are presented in graphs, highlighting the achievement of goals or deviations that need to be analysed. All through a quick and easy to understand interface. The processed data can be integrated with agricultural ERPs and other corporate systems, aiming to supply systems for issuing invoices, receiving materials, paying service providers, etc.

Despite being a monitoring system, the AgrOn Control Room is not limited to just observing field operations. It also integrates with other systems and allows for quick management based on quality indicators, thus ensuring complete and efficient control of the crop. The software also has specific additional modules for soil preparation, planting, cultivation and harvesting and is able to work together with other solutions from the HxGN AgrOn platform for more advanced and assertive results.

All of this monitoring and centralised management of cultivation, harvesting and transportation has the ultimate objective of increasing the efficiency of these processes, maintaining the synchronisation of activities and reducing machine idleness to the maximum. This all results in lower costs and greater profitability for the company.