Farming-as-a-Service Operators Reap the Benefits of Always-on Visibility

Carl Keller
Director of Product
October 5, 2021

In addition to being the second most populous country on the planet, the gross value of India’s agricultural production is also the world’s second-largest. Not surprisingly, agriculture and its related sectors are the largest source of livelihoods in India; 70% of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture, with 82% of farmers working small plots of land and struggling to make ends meet. 

FaaS applies technology across the farming value chain

Farming as a Service (FaaS) incorporates information sharing, analytics and precision farming into innovative, modern technology solutions for agriculture. Available via subscription or a pay-per-use model, FaaS was born to make farming more affordable, especially for small farmers.

A wide range of FaaS solutions are available to facilitate data-driven decisions that increase productivity and efficiency across the farming value chain. FaaS is one of India’s hottest growth industries, helping farmers to work their fields more productively with offerings that include: 

  • Farm management solutions: Information sharing, analytics and precision farming tools 
  • Production assistance: On-site resources to aid production, such as equipment rentals 
  • Access to markets: Virtual platforms that connect farmers with suppliers of seeds, fertilizers and other agrochemicals, as well as consumers of their produce

Skylo plays a critical role in equipment rental, empowering FaaS owners to manage and track the movements of their tractors and other machinery—and, ultimately, helping farmers harvest more profit from their fields.

Rural farmlands present connectivity challenges

Much of India’s farming takes place in rural areas that have little to no cell service. Here, equipment operators are typically dispatched from FaaS service centers with the day’s work schedule, returning in the evening, with little or no contact in between. This presents several challenges:

  • Accurate billing: Ideally, FaaS production services are charged on the amount of land worked by a particular piece of machinery. Irregularly shaped plots are difficult to quantify; farmers also may not be aware of their own plot dimensions. Any attempt made by a driver to measure a plot diverts them away from the job at hand, so many jobs are completed on estimated plot sizes.
  • Oversight: With no contact all day with drivers, owners have no opportunity to answer questions that may come up in the field, or check to make sure jobs are fully completed.
  • Safety: In case of mechanical or physical emergency, drivers have no way to contact FaaS headquarters or issue an SOS alert.

Skylo delivers multiple benefits

Skylo works with both large and small CHCs across India, attaching a Skylo Hub to customers’ rental tractors, threshers, combines, and other farm equipment, allowing managers to:

  • Have constant contact with drivers and equipment: With location data transmitted back to headquarters every few minutes via Skylo Connect, managers can view their equipment on a live map at all times, from either mobile or web-based Skylo Apps. Drivers can send SOS alerts in times of trouble, ask questions via text message and be notified of scheduling changes, maximizing their productivity.
  • Use geofencing capabilities to get precise measurements: Skylo’s solution includes a mobile app that the driver uses to indicate they are starting a job, signifying that the rental asset has entered the field. Using geofencing technology, the Skylo solution keeps a precise measurement of the entire path the driver takes, calculating the area and distance covered, total elapsed time, and more. The service center can use all of these data dimensions to charge customers with precise accuracy. 
  • Be notified of any safety issues immediately: In addition to two-way messaging, the Skylo Hub includes an SOS button that, when pushed, sends an emergency signal to headquarters, speeding help to the work site.

Building toward a bigger picture

Day to day, Skylo helps FaaS providers deliver services more efficiently, effectively and with greater traceability. In doing so, Skylo is providing an essential capability to build trust in Farming as a Service, an industry rising to help India’s vast population of small farmers flourish. 

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