BASF is an international company with several key business segments: chemicals, materials, industrial solutions, surface technologies, nutrition and care, agricultural solutions. The agricultural solutions segment helps farmers to increase yield, conduct crop and acreage research, and develop their agriculture business.
This is how it looks like in practice: each agriculture company or farm cooperates with BASF's expert who gives consultations and helps to improve the situation on afield thanks to the use of chemicals manufactured by BASF. The expert actually controls everything. He determines the time and a season when different kinds of crops should be planted and which types of fertilizers have to be used. The expert also monitors the amount of precipitation and whether fertilizers produce results. The company representative also gives personal consultations to farmers, that is, he/she arrives on the site and thoroughly analyses the situation. But at first, there was a big problem: the results of observations had to be recorded either in different paper documents or an expert used a tablet. Then all the data were chaotic, as each manager reported in his own way, sent to the company's leadership. It all depended on how and when the employee collected the data and on his/her personal preferences. That was difficult and inconvenient, as being on a field, the expert has to take photos, choose the necessary fertilizers and compare the situation before and after using the products. It was also necessary to properly describe and systematize a large amount of "agro information" after that. Therefore, BASF asked Luxnet to create a special service that would become a platform for collecting and analyzing data of all the research, as well as for ensuring an uninterrupted work process without a stable Internet connection and in offline mode.
The impossible is possible
This was one of the biggest challenges in creating the software: to develop a service that would collect data not only when it is connected to the Internet, but also while being offline. A PWA (progressive web application) approach was chosen to meet these requirements for the client-side. This is a hybrid of a regular webpage and a mobile app that works equally well on a regular computer, as well as on any modern smartphone or tablet. The technology allows using Client-side storage (IndexedDB) to store off-line data and Service Workers to synchronize the data with a database server. The service developed by our company allows creating a "personal office" for BASF's expert on his corporate tablet. With the help of the "personal office", the employee can manage all the necessary data on an agriculture company and, most importantly, fill in all the necessary forms for conducting research. The service interface is easy-to-use and includes all the necessary templates which considerably simplify the work. This is important, as it is necessary to fill in and store a rather large amount of information: the number of agriculture companies, contact information of farmers, researches conducted with BASF's products, dates of sowing and harvesting, as well as photos before and after sowing and harvesting, seasons, etc. All the data is now in one app.
The features of the service are available in both online and offline modes. If there is no Internet connection, all the information will be automatically synchronized with the database server after the connection is established.
The leadership of an agriculture company or a farm having access to structured data can generate statistics and carry out a detailed analysis of the business. It is also possible to export all the data for integration with other corporate systems or tools for external analysis. There is also another advantage: if a lot of people work in a company, the compilation of statistics and the creation of reports manually takes much time and brings little results. Each user of the system, a chairman or a manager, has his/her role in it and access to the data he/she needs. The administration of the service is implemented with the help of a simple and intuitive interface.
Who the service was created for?
The platform was created for large companies working in the agricultural sector seeking to automate and improve production processes, save time and money. The service for conducting agricultural research developed for BASF is a good example of optimizing working processes for both managers and a chairman. The software allows receiving clearly structured data and managing it for further processing and analysis. This project is a simple solution for complex processes offered by Luxnet to its clients.