Like most industries, agriculture is using advances in technology to keep ahead, resulting in dramatic changes. Inevitably, as farming tools get more complex, they become more of a target for thieves. But there’s another side to this story too – advances of another type of technology – security alarms systems – can provide a counterbalance to protect the livelihood of farmers.
According to a survey commissioned by UK insurer NFU Mutual, the cost of rural crime in 2018 rose by 12% on the previous year, to its highest level since 2011. It’s no great leap to see that this rise goes hand-in-hand with the rise of technology on farms.
Tech meets rural
The use of technology on the farm can include drones for monitoring and crop spraying to robots for weeding and fruit picking. There are even IoT technologies that can use sensors in the ground to predict the need for watering or nutrition.
But all this comes at a cost – a recent example comes from the Netherlands, where farmers are experiencing a rise in burglaries with thieves targeting expensive GPS systems. Farmers use these systems to get the most out of their land while managing it sustainably. GPS can tell them useful things like where to sow, and even where to put manure, to bring them into an era of ‘precision farming’. But the systems can cost €20,000, making them a prime target for organized thieves.
The losses are not just financial though – the data stored in the system is also lost. The farmer would also need to start the whole process of reprogramming from the beginning again. This has become enough of an issue for parliamentary questions to be posed earlier this year to the Dutch parliament.
Alarm the farm
Using a series of alarm sensors and a central wireless alarm hub, a farm can be kitted out for monitoring. For a reasonable price, a farmer can get a comprehensive system with alarm sensors and CCTV, all connected to a central point. From this point alerts can be sent to a mobile device, meaning the farmer could even check out any alarm raised back at the farm when he is out in the fields.
When you consider the affordability of a basic alarm system protecting farming assets that could be €20,000 and more, the value can be seen over time. It’s also a much cheaper option than providing more ‘physical security’ to barns and other outhouses that could also need repair.
The alarm elements of any solution can also be seamlessly connected to CCTV, which can considerably heighten security. For example, this would mean when an alarm is set off, footage could be automatically flagged from a camera in that area, so an end user monitoring this, for example through a mobile phone, could see exactly what was going on, and what triggered the alarm.
For a farmer, this could be a great time-saver – they often experience people ‘wandering’ into their yard from curiosity or error. It would be a huge waste of time for them to stop what they are doing and go back to the farm for such a harmless situation. However, if they saw something more threatening, they could act. Some systems even have direct connection to remote monitoring centers – where they could use this technology to verify an alarm, too.
Hikvision’s AXHub is the latest innovation in intruder alarm systems. It connects security peripherals such as indoor and outdoor motion detectors and displacement sensors, alongside safety devices like smoke and gas sensors to keep people safe. Simple to install and use, the AXHub provides voice prompts locally to assist during installation, as well as alert the farmer to any events.
Integration is at the core of the AXHub, utilizing cloud technology to combine intrusion and video in an innovative way. This delivers compatibility between the panel, the Hik-Connect app for mobile and the iVMS-4200 desktop software, to provide complete remote control, monitoring and IVaaS (Intrusion Verification as a Service), for quick and efficient video verification of events for the user and even Central Monitoring Stations (CMS).
Although the last place many would expect high technology is in the middle of a field, it has now reached rural areas. Technology can make farming more efficient and improves the world for farmers. But this desirable technology can also attract undesirables, especially when it’s expensive to buy and therefore valuable. Other types of technology can comes to the farmers’ rescue though, with integrated monitoring systems giving them a view of what’s going on back at the farm – even if they are in the middle of that field. AXHub is a great example of this technology, and one that provides peace of mind without breaking the bank.