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Agralarm: Insights for the Modern Poultry Farmer
Steve Flaherty grew up in crop and livestock production and knows firsthand about the risk that exists in confinement poultry and hog houses when power failures and critical changes in the environment occur. For example, a 30-minute power outage could result in the loss of 40,000 chickens or more – meaning that rapid response to environmental threats is crucial.
Steve Flaherty, President of Agralarm, founded the company in 1990 to meet the need for advanced technology and monitoring for poultry farmers. Headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland, the company serves over 1,800 farms across the southeastern United States – helping keep over 144 million chickens alive. Agralarm serves up Peace of Mind for the farmer!
The Obstacles: Aging Phone Lines and the Shift to Cellular
Much of rural America is still supported by POTS (plain old telephone service) lines. The connectivity to farms is often unreliable – only worsening as these copper lines age. Along with the decline of the landline and the consumer shift to wireless technology over the past few decades, getting speedy repairs has become difficult and untimely.
It was clear that the poultry industry needed a technical revolution.
The Solution: Meeting Kajeet
In order to make their alarm monitoring solutions work properly, Agralarm needed the right technology stack. Not only would they require premium wireless coverage for their customers, whose farms are often located in remote areas, but also tools to help their solution succeed – such as management capabilities on the backend to monitor data consumption, manage customer accounts, and control notification settings. The Agralarm team began searching for a wireless connectivity partner that had the features and level of support they would need.
Through their Verizon contact, Agralarm connected with Kajeet, a leading provider of managed IoT connectivity solutions, in 2018. They discovered that the Kajeet data and device management platform, Sentinel®, would be a perfect fit for managing their programs. Additionally, Kajeet’s consultative approach would benefit Agralarm as they got their cellular solutions up and running.
“We had some challenges in our early growth, but Kajeet helped us overcome those issues. It’s been a good partnership, and exactly what we need,” shares Flaherty.
Program Rollout & Success
The teams began rolling out the Kajeet-Agralarm solution, consisting of a Cradlepoint router, Kajeet SIM cards and security and the Kajeet Sentinel® platform to administer it all.
Immediately, they began seeing the benefits of the fully managed solution.
Program Supervision and Monitoring
Continuously supervising the connectivity of the networks connecting the farms, the Agralarm team can rest assured that Agralarm customers are connected and monitored. When an alarm condition is detected, Agralarm customers are immediately notified via text messages and phone calls. A prompt response from Agralarm is critical in preventing the loss of livestock and income for the farmer.
“Kajeet plays a crucial role in allowing Agralarm to offer a very unique solution for the farmer and the poultry integrator through the ability to manage the entire connection to the farm as well as the Agralarm system itself. Alerts are produced if either of these should fail,” explains Flaherty.
Data and Device Management
The ability to activate SIM cards, group devices, accounts, and manage every aspect of a customer’s solution remotely via the Sentinel platform is a huge help to the Agralarm team. Unused data can be shared between devices and carriers – allocating data to areas of highest need and keeping program costs low.
“Previously, if we needed to activate SIM cards directly with one of the carriers, we would send an email and wait for someone to activate it. Then we would have to approve it. With Kajeet, it’s great to be able to do that directly through Sentinel,” shares Brooks Flaherty, who provides Operations and Tech Support at Agralarm.
Kajeet partners with every North American major wireless carrier, meaning Agralarm can offer its customers the best wireless coverage available in any geographical region.
A Single Invoice
Instead of dealing with multiple vendor contracts, Agralarm appreciates the ease of going to Kajeet with all of their connectivity needs.
“Kajeet has been aggressive with pricing and have taken an interest in what we’re doing, making sure it runs as smoothly as possible,” says Flaherty.
But, as Flaherty explains, the real success of the solution is demonstrated in the fact that its benefit is invisible to farmers 99.9% of the time. Growers are able to focus on their daily work without concern about a system outage. With the support and response of the Agralarm system and Kajeet Support, any issue is addressed immediately.
Flaherty shares that the Kajeet partnership has been a great addition to their product portfolio – especially as they prepare to launch their new Agralink platform, which will power their new products moving forward and pave the way for the farmer to stay on the cutting edge of technology.
“While Kajeet is able to provide us dedicated support and take a real interest in what we’re doing, they are also big enough to help us as we grow,” shares Flaherty.
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