Is Virtual Reality in the Future of Turf?

Is Virtual Reality in the Future of Turf?

Daniel Allen, Brouwer Kesmac

Virtual and Augmented reality have been on the rise in gaming and entertainment, but this immersive technology has shown it can innovate beyond the entertainment industry. From drone pilots, to aviation training and healthcare, virtual and augmented reality have proven their potential to become a fixture across different fields; one emerging trend being Virtual and Augmented Reality in agriculture.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced most to go virtual this year, including John Deere who will distribute Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 goggles to media and clients, offering an immersive and visual experience while also educating people who aren’t familiar with agriculture. Another company experimenting with VR and 360 video is Brouwer Kesmac. “We know our clientele are intuitive and like to see things in person. Much like test driving a car, we are exploring ways to offer our customers that intimate experience in the comfort of their home.” 360 video offers a real-life perspective captured in complete panorama that can be viewed in 360 on a VR headset, mobile phone or tablet (youtube.com/brouwerkesmac).

Tablets and mobile devices have also become a valuable business tool incorporating virtual and augmented reality through apps that provide data and automation, that’s no different when it comes to precision agriculture. Using sensors, mapping satellites, GPS and other technology, precision farming allows farmers to be more efficient with resources and can help diagnose problems in advance.

THE REALITY OF VIRTUAL TRAINING

Virtual training and simulators have become common place for many industries and agriculture just might be next. With large machinery, virtual training costs far less than traditional training and mitigates possible malfunction or injury with un-trained workers. With the ability to be done remotely, a new employee can troubleshoot problems and train their skills for a smooth transition to a real working environment.

Another application is a Virtual Operator. Similar to an operator flying a drone, rather than having the operator onboard, a Virtual Operator can operate the machinery, make technical adjustments, or provide technical service for a customer from anywhere in the world. A farmer could monitor and operate an autonomous fleet all from the comfort of his home, reducing cost and freeing up labor. There will no doubt be a need for real life operators; however, it’s not if, but when automation will take that next step.

DRONES. DRONES. AND MORE DRONES!

Drones are commonplace these days. With an ever-growing consumer market and several fields like real-estate and emergency services being early adopters, it’s no wonder we see the drone market expanding into agriculture. From land surveying, to crop fertilization, drones have not only become the more effective alternative, but they have help create a new industry for remote and virtual operators. With the ability to monitor from above, farmers can gather and apply data and insights to overcome engineering challenges and provide a unique opportunity to view and display their products from a new perspective. Producing exciting mainstream content and marketing to showcase your product has never been more accessible; and the mediums to share that content are expanding every day.

Between social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and online platforms like Youtube and Twitch, there have never been more ways to distribute your content. The way we consume information is changing every day and these applications pave the way for consumers and public access.

The next generation of farmers have arrived. Whether they inherited their family’s farm, started one from scratch or purchased one and picked up where someone else has left off, a new demographic  of farmer is here. As restrictions loosen surrounding the pandemic it’s evident, we are moving in a digital direction. Zoom calls, social media and virtual events have already permeated our lives in one way or another, and though we may not embrace all of them, these technologies are what allow our families and businesses to adapt and keep moving forward. After all it’s been the ability to adapt that has kept the farmer on his feet for generations and will continue for generations to come.  Learn more about Brouwer Kesmac here.