Farm Progress

Hologram has a SIM card that provides access to any cellular service, making it easier to develop field data-gathering tools.

Willie Vogt

June 10, 2022

3 Min Read
Data and tech icons overlay an aerial of farm fields
MOVING INFORMATION: The rise of in-field sensors means creating new ways to get data from field to cloud. One company has come up with a cellular SIM card that works on most networks easily. metamorworks/Getty Images

The concept of the Internet of Things offers the potential for farmers of all sizes to capture information from the field for better decision-making. Developers of these data-capture tools have one challenge: moving information from a remote location to the cloud.

The standard configuration for an IoT setup is a series of sensors using a local network — often LoRaWAN for long-range wide-area network. But somewhere along the way, that information has to move from the field to your office, often to the cloud. That requires a gateway that uses an external connectivity tool. Satellite and cellular are the most popular, although Wi-Fi has potential in some locations.

To move that data from field to desktop more easily, Hologram has created a SIM card — the little data device in every cellphone connecting you to your cellular provider — that works with any carrier. It’s in innovation that could open doors to developers working on products that are designed for more than just the U.S. market.

“Hologram is a cellular platform that allows you to connect any device to any network instantaneously anywhere,” says Ben Forgan, CEO of Hologram.

He says the system works in more than 160 countries across 472 networks. “We won’t build the smart ag sensor or the next ag innovation, but all the companies that are doing these things are able to get their devices online with this technology,” he says. “It’s really the core backbone of how they work.”

Keeping connected

Connectivity is a big deal for agriculture in not only North America, but also South America and Asia. This global reach for the Hologram system solves problems many startups have dealt with in the past. While farmers may not need to know what Hologram is — though some entrepreneurs might find the tech interesting for their systems — the key is knowing it’s gaining traction for creators of smart devices.

“The person buying the device doesn’t necessarily need to know, but I think it tends to be an important feature,” Forgan says. “You can’t necessarily have Wi-Fi or satellite because it can be pretty expensive to implement. So, the idea of having the connectivity built in with this device is a really big plus for folks.”

The cost for the service depends on where in the world you are, the carrier you link up with and the amount of data you use. Forgan says the fee is per device, and the cost is similar to a cellphone.

In a pure IoT environment, where field information is gathered by lower-power sensors that share their information to the final gateway, a single cellular connection can collect information from an entire field. Having the ability for that gateway to work anywhere is a boon to that developer — and can boost farmers’ confidence that the system will work where they are.

Creating a new business

Forgan says about eight years ago, he and his colleagues saw the rise of IoT, but the gateway was often Wi-Fi or a smartphone. He notes they realized that the true value of IoT would be applications that were outside, often in remote areas or on fleets moving through remote areas.

“Actually, there were a bunch of things that would need access to the internet, and they’ll need a cellular connection,” he says.

From there, it made sense to look at the possibility of creating a SIM card that would work with any carrier. The SIM card itself is not different from others; the key is proprietary software Hologram developed that makes connections to those providers. While it’s a software solution that sounds simple today, at the time it wasn’t so simple.

Today, the Hologram SIM card offers an innovation in connectivity. For farmers, it may be in the background providing service without any added challenges. Learn more at


About the Author(s)

Willie Vogt

Willie Vogt has been covering agricultural technology for more than 40 years, with most of that time as editorial director for Farm Progress. He is passionate about helping farmers better understand how technology can help them succeed, when appropriately applied.

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