What doctors and farmers have in common: The move to digitizing agriculture

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like doctors and farmers have all that much in common. When you dig a little deeper, however, there is at least one major similarity: up until about five to 10 years ago doctors worked almost exclusively with paper records. Farmers largely still do.

But Telus, with its recent purchase of the app Farm at Hand, is leveraging its experience with the digitization of the medical industry and bringing that expertise to the agriculture industry.

Neil Van Seters, director of strategy for Telus, says that the medical industry is about five years ahead of where agriculture is today. The company feels that they’ve learned about how adoption of digitization happens, and that the parallels to agriculture create a real opportunity within agriculture.

Van Seters says that it’s very clear to Telus that farmers are in need of information at their fingertips in a simple, easy-to-use and access format, just like doctors did at the beginning of the digitization process.

He says that digitization requires top-notch security, careful consideration of privacy, and permission-based sharing. Because Telus has built systems around the more regulated medical industry, translating the privacy and safety of data within agriculture is a straight-forward addition. What we learned about permission-based sharing in the medical field ports well to agriculture, he says.

It’s imperative that there is a strong trust with any company you’re dealing with when collecting and sharing data, Van Seters says. Make sure you understand the fine print, but carefully vet the company you choose to use.

Related: Telus buys Farm at Hand

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