Some recommended communication tools/apps for farmers to use during these peculiar times, and after.

Covid-19 is changing our lives and the way we live. Hopefully for not too long, but we do not know yet how long, nor how will impact our lives. As well, the impact in the economy and in how we conduct business is here to stay.

Agriculture is one of the key strategic sectors for the economy and for the well being of the people. Farmers can go to work, and business is trying to be as usual as it used to be, in spite of the current circumstances, or maybe not.

Mobility is somehow reduced, and personal interactions with buyers, suppliers and your workforce are reduced, many times being substituted by on-line interactions. In this new strange new situation there is a clear winner: Technology or digitalization.

Business and labour relations will need of more, better and reliable on-line communications, and buyers, growers and suppliers need right now to rely more and more in new ways on how better communicate in one on one situations, or one to multiple interactions or multiple to multiple interactions.

Having a good telecommunication infrastructure and good tools to being able to keep doing business as usual, but remotely, is key for this current situation, and it will influence on how to conduct business in the future. We will learn during this time that we will not need to move to places all the time in order to have important business meetings, and we will become more efficient in selecting which meetings we should have in person, and which ones we will not need to have.

As well, it is a good time to invest in tech tools that will help us improve administrative or operational processes, as well as to better understand what big data, or other key technologies, tools or application mean, how they work and how we can start benefiting from all the innovations and technologies that come to market every day (CRMs, ERPs, etc...). But these technologies will be the subject in another article

Let me just recommend you some team communication apps to start with. They are easy to use, most of them (if not all) free, and they are quite easy to use. You have lots of them to choose from, and each one has its own sweet spot…

Slack:

Launched in 2013 and is quite popular team communication app. It’s really easy to use, conversations are searchable, and you can easily upload files. You can use Slack to join multiple teams and it’s free for unlimited users, 1-on-1 calls and comes with a 10,000 message history

Microsoft Teams:

you can communicate in various ways including audio conferencing and live broadcast. You can also access apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint and share documents. It’s a useful tool for teams working together trying to outline a project.


Google Hangout

It’s a companion of the popular Hangouts video chat. As it’s part of G Suite. If you have a Gmail account you’ll automatically get access. You can easily share Google Docs, Sheets or Slides within your chats.

Zoom

Popular for work conferences, school classes, and all virtual get togethers alike, Zoom has grown a lot during the Covid 19, and it is one of the best overall choice for a video chat app. It works great on both desktop and mobile devices with options to view just the person speaking or the whole group. Hosts can also organize webinars where they're the only one with video and audio. It's free to use, but there are some limitations on its use (Time and users).

Telegram

Similar to other messaging apps, Telegram offers end-to-end encryption as well, being considered one of the most secure messaging platforms. For users who want more privacy, they can turn on “Secret Chats” from the app’s advanced settings

Facetime

It works on iPhones, iPads, and MacOS desktops, not for Android users, so is quite limited if you want to use it in a broad spectrum. It's easy to make calls from group texts or the middle of a voice call.

WhatsApp

Popular app across the globe, although it is being accused of filtering and limiting sharing content. You can also make voice and video calls for up to four users, and share docs, videos and images with groups. The calls are on the phone's data plan or via WiFi, so voice calls do not eat up your phone minutes. If you do international business, make sure that the one that you want to talk to has this app.

Skype

The chosen tool for professional calls. In addition to video chats with a max 50 users, Skype also accommodates screen sharing and real time translation in their chat feature. It's also easy to sign up if you have a Microsoft account already.


Sources: Advanced Ag Team, Teamday and GH

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