With a slew of new tablets hitting the market this week from Microsoft and Apple, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how this technology can be useful for farmers. I also have to admit that I fell into the hype and got the latest from Microsoft, the Surface Pro 2. I am actually writing this post while on the go from my new tablet, and am really enjoying how it works! I’m not going to start a debate about which tablet on the market is the best, because that ultimately depends on what you intend to use it for.  I will comment that Microsoft has done a really nice job with this new hardware and really streamlined the interface with Windows 8.1.
All that being said, it has me gotten me thinking about the functionality of using a tablet for agriculture. There are a slew of apps that have been released for several different things from checking the markets, weather, and a host of other things. For me, it is a really nice interface for staying connected to the world, and having access to whatever information I may need while on the go. I have a remote connection app installed for checking the grain managed by the Integris Advanced Grain Management system, and all the common ones like weather, markets, Facebook, etc.
Of course all of these things require some form of internet connection. Some of the tablets on the market have a cellular data connection built in, but I prefer to get my connection from an existing source to save on monthly charges. I use a couple of methods to connect depending on where I am and what I am doing. When in the field and close to home, I rely on my long range WIFI connection from an Ayrstone Ayrmesh hub, and when farther from home, I use a mobile hotspot function on my smartphone.
My question is, how many people are currently using a tablet in the farm operation, and is it for entertainment or an important tool in the operation. For me, it is an important tool! I would love your feedback in the poll below.