28 jan 2022
A fine piece of technology that we are proud of. That’s how we can describe the Nedap CowControl. Over the years, this special Fitbit for cows has taken huge leaps forward. Many of these developments came from the brain of Jeroen van Dijk. He has been with Nedap for over twenty years and, for many of those years, has been involved in the ongoing development of this unique innovation. Jeroen: “A product is never really finished.”
Jeroen is a pioneer who pushes the boundaries of technology to achieve the best possible results. Always looking for new techniques and ways of applying innovative hardware or software. “At the end of the day, that’s what I enjoy most. Developing something that will actually be sold and used, eventually. Technology with a purpose,” Jeroen comments. And CowControl is a beautiful example of that. An advanced piece of technology that allows farmers to monitor their cows very precisely and from a long distance. Jeroen: “We have been developing and improving this product for years. A beginning had already been made, when I first started working on it, and we’ve continued building on that. We recently introduced the fourth generation, and there really is a world of difference between this and other products of its kind.”
So what is it that makes CowControl so unique? “The low-power design, among other things,” Jeroen explains. “An ordinary Fitbit can work for up to five days, whereas ours runs on a tiny coil-cell battery that lasts for up to ten years. In addition, CowControl has a unique neural network incorporated in it. This allows us to monitor cow behavior with an accuracy of 95%. We can see when a cow eats, ruminates, and rests, how much she’s walked, when she’s in heat, you name it. These data are transmitted at very low power but can still be received at extremely long distances. Allowing the farmer to monitor his cows in real-time from very far away. The positioning feature is also unique. Using a number of beacons, we radiate an electromagnetic field into the cowhouse so that the smart tag can determine the cow’s position. This allows the farmer to see exactly where his cows are and where they have been walking. This may not be necessary for farmers who only have a few cows, but the larger the herd, the more useful it is.”
“A product is never really finished."
Jeroen van Dijk
Nedap CowControl has become very popular with many a farmer worldwide. Jeroen: “They are enthusiastic about the quality. Cows are not exactly careful with their collars, of course, so the design needs to be solid and remain intact. That’s quite a challenge. In addition, the high efficiency of a ten-year battery is extremely difficult for competitors to match and we score above average for detection and behavior analysis. The positioning feature is also highly appreciated. Once our customers started using it, they never really want to do without it.” “But we’re not there yet,” Jeroen stresses. “A product is never really finished. We lead the market with CowControl and aim to maintain that position. So we will continue to develop new features and updates in the years ahead.”
Jeroen is allowed a great degree of freedom in developing CowControl. “That’s what I like most about working at Nedap. The freedom you are given to try out new things and to discover for yourself what does and doesn’t work. That is extremely pleasant, especially when you have a pioneering position. That comes with a great deal of responsibility, of course, but if that suits you then you’ll be very happy working here. At Nedap you also have ample resources at your disposal to develop good products and we maintain direct contact with major suppliers of the very latest technology. That can only make a product even better. The same applies for our CowControl: it’s only small but there’s an awful lot in it.”
Which way are you heading?
At Nedap, we’re not so keen on fixed routes: we prefer to challenge you to shape your own future.