The Internet of Things is everywhere in field service, from ATM manufacturers that use M2M technology to monitor their machines to welding companies that train technicians with virtual reality software. Connected devices are revolutionizing the way that organizations operate, resulting in increased productivity, happier customers and cost savings.
Now, the agriculture industry is bringing the connected device trend to the field — literally — with M2M technologies that optimize crop yields and monitor weather patterns. Precision farming, which encompasses these Internet-enabled operations, is expected to be valued at $4.55 billion by 2020. Here are two companies that have baked the Internet of Things into their operations:
IoT in the Field
John Deere’s Internet of Things-based platform, Field Connect, gives farmers have greater visibility into their operations. The technology feeds information into a solar-powered system and sends it to a Web-based interface. Probes help farmers know the exact location that crops grow best, and sensors monitor weather conditions, soil temperature, humidity and wind speed, according to The Connective.
Aside from improving crop yield and saving expenses, the Field Connect puts information in the hands of farmers and executives to make more informed decisions. Agriculture companies can also access data about their equipment’s performance through an online dashboard, allowing them to avoid costly breakdowns and downtime.
Field Connect also enables John Deere to provide top-notch customer service. “We can view a coverage map that shows us the real-time location of each piece of equipment enrolled in the service,” Jared Ochs, integrated solutions manager at Concordia Tractor Inc., told Midwest Producer. “If there’s a system error the operator isn’t aware of, we’ll receive an automatic notification generated by that equipment’s system. If an operator has problems operating their technology, they can contact us any time of the day or night. They can also request just a second pair of eyes, a professional review of their system’s settings or confirmation of data that they’re seeing.”
Sugar Production, Powered by WiFi
How’s this for sweet? The United States Sugar Corporation increased its production capacity by 12 percent as a result of precision farming. The company, which has factories capable of grinding 42,000 tons of sugarcane daily, implemented advanced automation technology to use resources more effectively and make smarter decisions about plant yield.
“Our entire 180,000 acres are run on a wifi network,” Robert Buker Jr., president of the U.S. Sugar Corp., tells Manufacturing Today. “All our farm machinery is hooked into the network not only to harvest, but also collect data about the plants as well as to sparingly and precisely apply chemicals and fertilizer.”
The Internet of Things also helps U.S. Sugar Corp. to control equipment maintenance and enhance employee safety. By taking a preventative instead of reactive approach to machine maintenance, the company has increased machine effectiveness by 77 percent, Buker says.