It is amazing to look at technology just 10 years ago, and where we have come today. Computers in our pocket that stream high definition video and new network tools that 800 million people have signed up for. Hard to believe, isn’t it? As the technology advances, here are my thoughts on what we in agriculture might be able to expect. 1. Useful Apps Farm Credit Canada’s latest look at the world of mobile placed smartphone adoptions among farmers at around 30 percent. I do not think it is out of the question to push that number to 50 percent by the end of 2012. What will help? Simple Apps. Weather apps are very good, and market price apps are a must for farmers, but beyond that good apps are hard to find. Farmers want to run their farm off their phones, and developers will soon move forward. First in the game with a strong app, automatically wins. 2. Micro-blogging Finding the time to stay up to date is tough on the farm. Part of the reason is because many farmers have to go into the office in the house, and search the Internet. A benefit of smartphone is getting information to your pocket, and the beauty of micro-blogging (like Twitter) is that you can sift through several text message length updates in seconds. By following the right people and right topics, farmers will be able to stay better informed (without even making it to the coffee shop). It’s hear to say – and more farmers will realize the power. 3. Augmented Realities Now this isn’t likely to take off in 2012 in agriculture, but watch for it to make in move in the general public. An augmented reality allows you to hold up the camera on your smartphone to an object, and it searches through to determine what you are looking at. For example, take a photo of someone giving a speech, and your smartphone will return a business card of the person; hold your camera to a historic structure, and your phone returns an encyclopedia article describing the building. It’s amazing technology that has a pile of potential in agriculture in the long term. Imagine holding up your phone to a weed and it recognizes it – or to a part on a tractor, and your phone returns a message describing how to replace it. 4. NFC Near-field communication is another one of those ‘coming in the long term’ ideas. You may or may not already use this on your credit card with ‘Pay-Pass’ that allows you to sweep your card over the terminal. That technology is in some of the latest smartphones that can allow you to transfer data by simply having the phones close to each other. Imagine getting rid of all the cables and USB sticks – and just being able to transfer information wirelessly, simply by holding devices close to each other. It has the potential to be a big time and headache saver. 5. The SmartFarm Finally – what I think to be the most essential for any company developing mobile software for farmers – a whole farm approach. Being able to track harvest data from the combine, commodity prices from a smartphone, production data from the dairy, and financial data from the home office means data everywhere, and none of it speaks to each other. What will come in the future (because farmers are now demanding it) is a whole farm approach to technology and data. Being able to access any information from any phone or any computer is going to be worth a lot of money to a farmer looking to more efficiently manage information.