Subscribing to monitoring

Clever agritech company Levno is leading the way on its approach to helping farmers manage the cost of its hardware technology for farmers.
Instead of expecting farmers to pay the upfront hardware cost for new technology and absorb the risk it may quickly become obsolete or unsupported, Levno offers a subscription model where farmers pay a monthly fee, receive regular upgrades free of charge, and a complete support service any time of the day or night.
Levno’s milk vat monitoring technology is the leading choice among Fonterra supplying farms to deliver temperature and volume data, and trigger alerts when captured data signals a problem. The company’s ‘Trim Milk’ basic option starts at $60/month but is free to Fonterra-supplying farms. The company also offers fuel, water, silo and effluent monitoring technologies on subscription, starting at $25/month for base level options.
The company’s founder Larry Ellison says the company’s hardware-as-a-subscription model is similar to the software-as-a-subscription approach taken by many technology companies, including accounting giants like Xero and MYOB.
“When we set up Levno we looked at other revenue models and we found a lot of farmers had been burned by the upfront cost of new technology only to be told a couple of years later their version was no longer supported and the only option was invest in the newly available version,” Ellison says.
“We knew we had to make our technologies accessible to a large number of farmers so with everything we’ve done since, we’ve only offered a subscription model so farmers avoid that upfront cost and they are also operating on the latest version of their chosen technology.”
It also means that farmers can test a new technology for the length of their subscription period, without the upfront capital cost.
“If that technology is not delivering the value they want, then customers have the choice to walk away. It’s just a really good way for them to test out something first and at a low exit price,” Ellison says.
For farmers, the subscription model also commits Levno to support its technology and deliver strong customer value.
“We are constantly refining our products, upgrading them so they deliver more benefits to farmers. That constant emphasis takes real investment in research and development by the company, but it also ensures our service and maintenance of our products is part of the deal,” he says.
The hardware remains owned by Levno, but the value it delivers belongs to the farmer.
Levno employs 45 staff and has installed technologies at more than 7000 sites nationwide. At the heart of the company is a research and development team of eight staff, plus a customer service team of 12 to handle all queries and provide support for its farmer users.
“We see our role starts with developing clever technologies that solve real problems on the farm, from lowering the risk of milk being rejected to making sure milk companies have the data they need to ensure the quality of their end products.”

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