Trimble is going to have to change its name at some point, as its portfolio becomes less and less about Navigation. Yesterday, the company announced a pile of acquisitions and the début of the Connected Farm, all intended to help farmers optimize their businesses.
Much like it’s automating and bringing IT to the construction job site, Trimble is working on something called the Connected Farm to integrates operations management for farms. A dashboard displays detailed weather information, rainfall totals, prices for agricultural commodities, the location of farm equipment and other data to manage crop production. I set up a demo Connected Farm portal and can see why it would be useful –though I have no idea what kinds of systems this portal replaces– since it enables farmers to plan irrigation, fertilizing, pest control and other operations based on up-to-the-moment data.
To help build out that data set, Trimble acquired the assets of RainWave, which measures precipitation with GPS rather than rain gauges, and IQ Irrigation, which makes software that uses GPS to optimize irrigation systems.
RainWave lets farmers (or construction sites, for that matter) set up virtual rain gauges by entering GPS coordinates for specific locations and receive a rainfall report. I’m not clear on how RainWave amasses rainfall data without physical measurement devices, but that’s its secret sauce. All RainWave will say is that it’s a ” combination of software and available technology” that’s patent-pending. The point of it all is to make better decisions and optimize irrigation to save water.
IQ Irrigation is a hardware/software solution that controls irrigation systems. Farmers can use their computer or mobile device to create irrigation patterns (don’t spray here, longer there, etc.) and receive reports about what (water, liquid manure, etc.) as well as when and where it was applied.
Finally, Trimble acquired Hydro-Engineering Solutions, a civil engineering company that provides hydrology and hydraulics engineering services with a specialization in streams and rivers. This acquisition is “expected to strengthen Trimble’s water management solution in watershed analysis for both drainage and irrigation” and “provide stronger watershed analysis to help farmers create better water management plans for their fields.”
Terms were not disclosed for any of the acquisitions. Rainwave and Hydro-Engineering Solutions have closed; IQ Irrigation is expected to close in the next few days.