"It's too early to tell how well FAWN compares," he says. But he's uncertain that the smartphone app will provide enough enhancements for the company's needs.
"For smaller operations I could see it," he says. It also could provide a handy reference tool in the field for quick checks of an irrigation plan.
The researchers' wider concerns with adoption of the apps include the prevalence of smartphones among the target market, Fraisse says. Growers in some regions and crops have taken to smartphones more quickly than others. Smartphone use is spreading over time, but for now the cost of owning one may be a barrier.
But with the changeover to the new technology comes another danger, he says. Everyone must remember that smartphones and their associated apps won't solve every problem—and that not all decision-making tools are suited to mobile use.