Activity monitoring has followed somewhat the same path as the digital television. The price of a system is dramatically lower than when the products first became available while technology is much more advanced. More companies have entered the marketplace as technology has evolved, which has increased the competition for technology development while significantly reducing the price. Datamars entered the activity monitoring marketplace last year with the launch of the Tru-Test Active Tag system.
The Active Tag system identifies gestures that cows make throughout the day, such as walking, ruminating, eating, standing, lying and so forth. The Active Tag system is unique because it uses state of the art technology to identify these events and communicate data to the Cloud. Algorithms contained within the cloud-based structure do the heavy lifting of understanding what the activities are, then communicate back to the producer –using Bluetooth technology – the actions that should be taken.
No other activity monitoring company uses Bluetooth technology to communicate data, and no other company can scale the technology to adapt to any herd situation. And like today’s television, the cost is a fraction of what other companies can provide.
The Active Tag system monitors activities cows make throughout the day and matches that against a baseline. An algorithm identifies activities that happen outside of the baseline and determines what the abnormal activities mean, then sends an alert indicating that an intervention is needed. Other companies deliver alerts whenever an activity is generated outside the normal baseline without an analysis of what the activity means. That leads to a multitude of false events, which leads to employee frustration. The Active Tag system provides actionable alerts rather than alerts that aren’t needed.
Training employees to use the Active Tag system is simple because it’s an out-of-the-box system. If you have a strong WiFi connection, just plug it in. It takes three days to establish a heat detection baseline and seven days for health traits, but employees will start getting alerts right away. Integration with existing herd management software is seamless, especially with other fully integrated cloud-based systems.
For producers who have sat on the sideline waiting for the price of activity monitoring systems to come down, the Tru-Test Active Tag system is an ideal solution. It’s different, more sophisticated, more accurate, and more cost effective. In a word, it’s smart.
The smartness comes from the ability to collect actionable data producers can use to make more informed management decisions that benefit the welfare of the animals and the economics of your dairy. Smart also means integrating with other technology elements, such as Tru-Test Walk Over Weigh. Correlating weights with activity data helps accurately define what’s happening with the animal. Future technologies will integrate seamlessly into existing systems.
It comes down to putting data to work. With more technology integration we’ll be able to utilize all the data points to create predictions that dairy producers need to save money and help make their operations more cost effective.
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