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The Easiest–To–Use Tech You’ll Ever Put In Your Barn!

August 28, 2023

BarnTools Maddy McGarry Headshot

Maddy McGarry

Senior Content Manager

“The easiest–to–use tech you’ll ever put in your barn!”

You may have recently been seeing that slogan on some of our marketing pieces, and you may have asked yourself…what does that even mean?

Well over Thanksgiving weekend, we set out to truly define it…

“I placed a BarnTalk system in front of my 71-year-old dad, and my 14-year-old son, and asked them if they could figure it out,” says Jim Ryken, co-founder of BarnTools.

“We talk a lot about how fast and effortless our installation is, and I wanted to make sure we weren’t drinking too much of our own Kool-Aid lately. I wanted to see first-hand how they would do and if it was truly an intuitive process.”

Jim’s dad, John Ryken, has been growing hogs in southeast Iowa for half of a century. He’s no stranger to choring barns and the changes in technology and techniques of animal husbandry. When he heard about a new wireless alarm system that was driven by a smart phone app, he was initially skeptical.

Jim’s son, Jonathan Ryken, on the other hand only know little about pig farms just what he has picked up when helping his grandpa chore or listening to his uncles and cousins talk at family reunions, but has the engineering brain of his father, and has grown up using smart phones and other technology on a daily basis from an early age.

He makes up for his lack of experience in the hog barn with an eager mind for learning, and the kind of endless energy you would expect from a middle schooler who is a multi-sport endurance athlete.

“Once I opened the box it was pretty clear what was what,” says John Ryken. “I plugged in the Gateway and screwed in the antennas, but I wasn’t sure how to make the wireless sensors work or communicate back to the Gateway.”

That’s where Jonathan came in…

While John was busy mounting the Gateway to the wall, Jonathan had noticed the QR code on the installation guide that when scanned with his phone’s camera, directed him to download the BarnTalk app.

“The sensors are already here,” Jonathan said to his grandpa as he opened the app.

Before sending orders out the door of their office in West Des Moines, IA, the BarnTools team works to pre-pair all the wireless sensors to the appropriate Gateway, so all the customer has todo is turn on the Gateway, plug it in, and hang their sensors.

Afterwards, Jim was impressed. “They did a great job! I think they were up and running with water meters installed and everything in about 45 minutes.

I’d say that’s making pretty good time for installing an alarm on a 2400 head double wide and a 1500 head long single!” When asked if he could have done it by himself, Jonathan responded quickly and confidently,

"Of course!” he said.

And as for John, the 50 year veteran…

“I’ll admit it. That was awfully easy. I’m a skeptic no more… It felt like I was hanging a couple pictures up around my house.”

Speaking of pictures, when Jim was asked if there was anything he would have liked to have seen done differently with the install, he said“ Yes! If I was going to do something differently, I would have brought another person along with us so I could have had a picture of three generations of Rykens together in the barn!”

Maybe next Thanksgiving Jim…