Every brand of machine control/machine guidance has its strengths and the marketing department are very good at pointing them out but they seldom (if ever) point out the weaknesses or hidden costs within their packages.
It is important to ask particular questions before committing to a brand some are listed below:
- Is the telephone support unlimited?
- Can you connect to the mobile computer remotely?
- Can I replace faulty sensors myself?
- Do I need specialist branded software and hardware to use this equipment?
- Are there any other hidden subscriptions I may have to pay in the future?
These last two questions may be the most important of all. In our article detailing the 7 questions you should asking when buying machine control, it further explains these points in a little more depth.
As with many business models these days, the larger manufacturers are doing their best to lock you into their brand only. Some are even going to the extreme of pairing their GNSS base stations to the GNSS enabled machines then charging to “unlock” more ports to allow you to connect more machines to your base station. The fact that the larger manufacturers can usually enable these features for a price shows the corporate control they apply to their customers.
They also design their hardware & software in such a way that once you buy one piece of equipment, it is difficult to purchase another brand (hardware or software) to integrate.
A more sensible approach is an open source type model where many brands of hardware and software are compatible to work together to achieve your tailored solution.
This allows you to shop on benefits and price rather than purely on their engineered compatibly.
The only other subscription service you may need to consider is network corrections. This service is convenient for machines that operate within a stable mobile telephone network and simplifies the setup before starting to dig or trim with 3D GNSS. Again, it pays to shop around as some services are half the price of others.