In-Cab Compatibility Takes Center Stage

Last August, John Deere launched its newest in-cab solution, the 4600 CommandCenter display, which is being integrated into the equipment giant’s R7 and R8 tractors for 2014 before being moved into sprayers and other application equipment, according to Chris Batdorf, product marketing manager.

“CommandCenter is the next step in operator interface,” he says. “It works more like an iPhone or an iPad than a traditional display – there’s more swiping and intuitive design, rather than text prompts.”

Currently, CommandCenter is AutoTrac capable, but the next step for Deere’s next-gen display is integrating more precision agriculture capabilities (section control, rate control, etc.).

“We want to make a smart machine that’s ready to go straight from the factory,” explains Batdorf. “Probably the biggest thing we are hearing from our customers is ‘Hurry up and get all of the applications (on CommandCenter) because this thing is really cool.’”

In the meantime, applicators using Deere equipment can continue to deploy the GreenStar 2630 display, which Batdorf characterizes as “the current precision agriculture display of choice.”

Wireless data transfer is one task made easier via the 2630, the first display to fully leverage John Deere telematics, according to Batdorf.

“Customers with a subscription to MyJohnDeere can push as-applied data or new prescriptions straight from the machine to the cloud or the customer’s account, and vice versa — and it can be done manually or you can set it up to happen automatically once the job is finished,” says Batdorf.

GreenStar can also pull in Deere’s StarFire RTK signal, allowing for repeatable, sub-inch accuracy over a 16-mile coverage area, he adds.

This past summer Trimble launched its newest display, the TMX 2050, in Decatur, IL, at the annual Farm Progress Show. With an Android-based OS and full integration with Trimble’s new Connected Farm suite of software, the in-cab system that marketing manager Mike Martinez describes as “powerful and responsive” is primarily focused on an improved end-user experience and flexibility.

“This product is a quality, very user-friendly display and that’s really the key for us,” says Martinez. “Another important feature to consider is the system’s expandability and modularity, and that’s important because there are going to be solutions that come along that we haven’t even thought of yet, and this system can expand and grow with the times.”

Although its insides allow for many of the same capabilities of your typical mobile tablet, the display is built to withstand the rigors of daily field use, according to Martinez.

“The display is really modern looking — it’s a nice and smooth, almost tablet-like feel to it — but yet it’s field rugged,” he says. “It will handle extreme temperatures, shock and vibration and moisture, a whole lot better than putting a low-cost tablet in the cab that will maybe last half of a season.”

Meanwhile, Topcon Precision Ag is all-hands-on-deck after launching its newest precision ag display, the X14, this past February.

“The X14’s smaller screen (4.3 inches compared to the 12 inches for the X30) offers low cost manual guidance with modular upgradeability to step up to higher accuracy, all the way to RTK for the operator who wants repeatable precision with accuracy,” says Joe Robertson, product marketing manager – ag.

According to Robertson, the X14 is compatible with two popular Topcon receivers. “Teamed with Topcon’s SGR-1 GNSS receiver, the X14 provides manual guidance, coverage mapping and return to point,” he says. “And teamed with Topcon’s AGI-4 receiver/steering controller, X14 can provide high-accuracy auto steering at a lower price point.”

RTK is also an option for those seeking a higher level of accuracy. “The X14 requires Topcon’s AGI-4 receiver/steering controller to go full RTK steering,” advises Robertson. “This upgradeability is a major benefit to the ag retailer/applicator that needs higher accuracy on their operation in order to improve efficiency and reduce input costs.”

For 2014 and beyond, Topcon looks to ensure its equipment is compatible with different paint colors and brands.

“Interest in and understanding of cross compatibility seems to be a hot topic this year,” says Mike Gomes, vice president of strategic business development. “From info transfer from in-cab machines, understanding connectivity to the cloud or the need for wireless data transfer of files into the cab, Topcon has already started down this road with our MAGNET (Mobile Ag Network) product. This product enables file transfer between mobile devices such as tablet computers and our SGIS software. Connectivity to our X30 is the next step, and that is currently in testing.”

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