John Deere is plowing IoT into its farm equipment

John Deere is taking the Internet of Things out into the field by developing new technologies and embracing existing ones to boost the efficiency of prepping, planting, feeding and harvesting with the goal of improving per-acre crop yields.

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Ron Zink

These technologies include IoT sensors, wireless communications, cloud apps and even a steering-wheel replacement that guides precision passes across arable land, says Ron Zink, director of On-Board Applications in the company’s Intelligent Solutions Group.

While the company’s use of IoT devices is highly specialized, he says his experiences hold lessons valuable to any business looking to piece together systems and platforms out of individual technologies. These lessons come in two areas: businesses that use IoT to improve the manufacturing process of the products they sell, and incorporating IoT devices into those devices.

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