Case IH announces the introduction of AFS Connect telematics in their Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) lineup. Telematics technology provides growers with the opportunity for increased return on investment through a line of products that will continue to expand and grow.

"Telematics creates a pipeline to send machine, agronomic and job-site information over the air to help customers maximize their efficiency and decision-making capabilities," says Trevor Mecham, Case IH AFS Marketing Manager. "Essentially, AFS Connect collects data from a machine's electronics, display and GPS satellites and forwards the information over the air. Farm owners and managers will be able to remotely locate, communicate and track their entire fleet with ease. They can monitor multiple activities and equipment in their fields from a computer in their office."

Two new Case IH telematics programs – AFS Connect Manager and AFS Connect Executive – will be available through Case IH dealerships next spring, says Mecham. AFS Connect Manager will offer fleet management capabilities, localization of machines, a working status overview, and alerts and security features.

"Fleet management pinpoints the location of a given machine," explains Mecham. "Alerts and security include geo-fencing, which can guard against theft by ensuring a machine stays within certain coordinates; and curfew management, which can send an alert if a machine is started after working hours."

AFS Connect Executive includes all the features of AFS Connect Manager as well as virtual display, performance analysis, messaging and file management. "The virtual display allows the user to check up to four machines on the same page," says Mecham. "Owners can create charts, bar graphs and downloadable reports with the performance reporting tools."

Fuel management is one of the most requested features in AFS Connect Executive, with instant messaging to alert owners in cases of fuel theft as well as fuel consumption reporting and comparison between multiple machines. It also provides historical reporting and monitoring of remaining fuel to help producers plan and manage fuel delivery and regular service.

The anti-theft system could lower producers insurance premiums, and telematics products overall help reduce operating and maintenance costs while increasing equipment resale value, reports Mecham. "In addition, the ability to remotely download machine data increases labor efficiency and reduces downtime with AFS Connect," he says.

The AFS Connect Manager and Executive packages will be available as dealer-installed kits for Case IH 7230, 8230 and 9230 Axial-Flow combines, Magnum tractors and Austoft sugarcane harvesters in Spring 2012. In addition, they can be retro-fitted on 2010 and 2011 models. The display software update is installed into existing AFS Pro 700 monitors.

This past summer, Case IH announced the creation of the Precision Agriculture business unit, allowing the company to expand its industry partnerships and provide cutting-edge precision solutions. "AFS Connect is the first step in what will become a new and extensive line of product offerings," says Mecham. "We are proud of our current AFS precision farming offering, with one of the industry's most accurate autoguidance systems, easy-to-use machine control interfaces and accurate variable rate delivery systems. This established platform provides a strong foundation for our new telematics products.

"Through our strategic alliance with Trimble, a recognized leader in GPS and precision technology, Case IH will be able to provide even more innovative precision applications and services designed specifically for Case IH equipment," adds Mecham. "This re-commitment to precision agriculture is further proof of our dedication to providing Case IH customers with cutting-edge solutions, to help them be ready to meet the needs of a growing global population."