Phones and Tablets – Terry Seubert, Vita Plus

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Click here to download Seubert’s PowerPoint Presentation.

Whether you like it or not, mobile devices are a part of our everyday lives.  Selecting the right mobile device can help custom harvesters manage their businesses efficiently.  During his Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting presentation, Terry Seubert, Vita Plus IT services development coordinator, outlined several important things to consider when buying a new mobile device.

Carrier with good coverage
Seubert said you should select a carrier that works in your area.  What’s the point in having a phone if you can’t make or receive calls?  Additionally, he said you should check out the carrier’s customer service.  A phone carrier may be able to provide cell service, but, if you call with a challenge, will you receive immediate assistance or talk to a series of automated answering machines?

Operating systems
Two operating systems (OS) – Android and Apple iOS – are available, each with different features.


  • Wide variety of phones
  • Open devices to allow freedom to choose the features you want on your phone
  • Use the most popular smartphone apps available, such as the Google apps

Apple iOS

  • Simple and intuitive OS that is easy to master
  • Access to updates from day one and works well with other Apple devices
  • Doesn’t download whatever you want

Seubert said you should choose the phone size that feels most comfortable in your hand.

  • Small devices – Typically less than 4.5 inches; easy to operate with one hand
  • Medium devices – Typically between 4.5 and 5.4 inches; still relatively easy to operate with one hand; most popular size
  • Large screens – Also known as phone-tablet hybrids, or phablets; greater than 5.5 inches; require two hands to use; good for watching videos, reading emails or books

“They may be large, but one thing is for sure, you can’t text and drive with the phablets,” Seubert said.

Tablets require two hands to operate and can vary from 7 inches to more than 14 inches.  Seubert said if you are thinking about purchasing one, you should be mindful of how you intend to use it.  He said some are good to use if you plan to give presentations to customers, while others have the same power as computers.  No matter what the intended use is, Seubert said budgets should be kept in mind because the device is only the first expense.

“As devices get smaller, accessories get more expensive,” Seubert said.

Battery and apps
You can have all the high-tech features you want, but none of that matters if the phone doesn’t have good battery life.  Seubert said you should research batteries before buying any device because problems do exist.

Seubert shared a few helpful apps Vita Plus staff have found beneficial:

  • Anything Microsoft – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.
  • Teamviewer/LogMeIn – Allows you to log in to a work computer remotely.  He said this one is better for tablets than smart phones.
  • Notability – Good for taking notes during farm visits and it allows you to include pictures to be sent right away.
  • Dropbox – This is a cloud-based storage system that allows you to place files in it and access them remotely so long as you have the password to the Dropbox.
  • FlirOne – This is an accessory used with an app that turns your phone into a thermal camera to view hot and cold spots of silage piles.  It is compatible with Android and Apple devices, but the device itself can be a bit pricey.

Data plans
Seubert said choosing a data plan depends on your access to Wi-Fi and how regularly you stream and download content.

  • Light data use (1 GB monthly per phone):  You spend most of your time calling or texting and use Wi-Fi.
  • Medium data use (2 GB monthly per phone):  You do a little of everything with a moderate use of Wi-Fi.
  • Heavy data use (4 GB and higher monthly per phone): You use almost no Wi-Fi and stream a lot of movies and games.

Seubert said some people choose to pool data to share.  This can work if one person in the business is doing a lot of streaming and the others don’t use much data.

Seubert said only three payment options really exist now.

  • Pay it all upfront – Good for less-expensive devices and produces a lower monthly payment.
  • Pay for it over time – The full price is paid over 24 months.
  • Lease it – Good for those who want the latest and greatest device and can trade up for a new one after a year.

The decision
“You will use this device more than any other appliance,” Seubert said.  “Take your time making a decision.”

He encouraged all attendees to consider these factors, go to a store and play with the devices to make sure it fits your lifestyle.  Doing so will help you find the right mobile device.

Category: Equipment
Forage Foundations
Technology and data management