Matthew and Joe Schweigert, Cuba City, Wis., needed a faster way to track their farm machinery fleet. They are fourth-generation farmers who farm 9,000 acres, most of which are devoted to seed corn, field corn and soybeans.

At any given time, they might have up to nine vehicles deployed across several counties.

“If a machine breaks down, or is idling too long, we need to know that right away so we can modify our schedule accordingly,” says Matthew Schweigert. “Timing is especially important for operations like ours,”

The Schweigert’s tried a variety of methods over the years to collect vehicle information. Clipboards, jump drives, spreadsheets, even proprietary clouds marketed by machinery suppliers. But all of these methods had a lag time, sometimes up to two to three days.

“We would have the data, but we were never able to view it fast enough to make decisions on the fly,” Matthew says. “Even a day can be too long if you need to correct a problem.”

So this year they tried something new. They traded in their jump drives for a new device made by 640 Labs, a data analytics company formed by two electrical engineers who wanted to bring their cellular experience at Motorola back home to the Midwest farms.

“There’s a cavernous gap between what’s being done and what can be done on farms,” says Patrick Dumstorff, team member with 640 Labs. “We thought agriculture could use an injection of technology.”