Wifi Anywhere?

In September 19, 2017

Effective forest management now relies on access to data.  Reliable real-time information regarding harvesting activities, safety, crew locations, road conditions and a host of other information, can give forest managers an edge over their competitors.  However, operating in remote locations without cellular service creates challenges accessing this information in a timely manner.

Recently I learned of a solution to this challenge that seamlessly switches between cellular data and satellite data. Cradlepoint ruggedized routers that are designed to survive the rigors of vehicle installation.  The devices can be configured to connect to cellular networks, with preference given to providers with lower rates.  When the cellular network is not available the router will automatically switch to satellite.  This allows mobile equipment to reliably act as WiFi hotspots.

The WiFi network that these devices create can cover a large area – up to about 70 meters.  This is large enough that multiple pieces of mobile equipment could use a centrally located router to send and receive data.  For example, a router mounted in a Log Loader, could serve as a WiFi hotspot for the logging trucks as they are loaded. This would allow the truck driver to send information regarding the products loaded on the truck and receive information regarding the customer that it should be delivered to.  This information could be transmitted to the customer with an estimated time of arrival.

This “always on” connection could be immensely beneficial for the management of log processing equipment.  In real time, harvest managers could receive production information.  When production of a specific product is out of sync with customer requirements managers could respond before it becomes a significant problem.  This would ensure that the product mix is optimized to both meet customer needs and improve margins.

Increasingly, effective forest management will rely on data.  Forest managers will have to think of themselves as data managers first and foremost.  Those organizations that can effectively capture the value in the data will gain a competitive advantage.  Providing a means of connecting all parts of the business will assist mangers in making the transition to being a data driven organization.

Brian Saunders
White Raven Innovations Limited
Cell: 250 802 6115
Email: BrianSaunders.WRI@gmail.com
Website: http://www.tablet-ex-gear.com/
Skype: BrianSaunders.WRI
Twitter: @tabletEXgear