In order to let farmers know the direction it intends to take with future technology development, John Deere recently introduced FarmSight, an overall concept that focuses on creating specific new solutions that provide an integrated, overall management system for a farm’s entire equipment fleet.
“John Deere FarmSight is the strategy or vision of what John Deere wants to accomplish,” says Holli Brokaw, Deere’s product manager. “It’s to help producers understand where John Deere is going to be coming from in the future and what our ambitions are. There is a suite of products that are going to support this vision.” And the vision involves integrating a variety of logistical and other ag decision-making products under the FarmSight umbrella. All of it is designed to streamline farm machinery management.
Some of the current and future technology in the FarmSight suite of products will also help optimize machine operation, combining GPS signals and wireless networks. “There are a lot of products on the market today that focus on just a single vehicle,” says Brokaw. “But when we look at John Deere FarmSight, the idea will be to look at products that address an entire operation. That’s where we’re going.” The company believes that approach will be much more efficient than having individual systems on separate machines that can’t communicate with each other.
Along that line, one of the products expected to be released in the near future will allow for machine-to-machine communication, enabling, for example, a combine operator to take control of a tractor and grain cart during unloading in the field. The combine operator would be able to adjust the cart’s position and speed, streamlining the process.
For operations using more than one combine at a time, the cart driver, in turn, will be able to determine which combine will need to be unloaded next. He can then save time and fuel by choosing the exact spot in the field to meet it at the right time. “This is technology that we’re researching and looking into to really automate that practice,” adds Brokaw.
So far, JDLink is the most recent product from Deere to fall into the FarmSight suite of technologies. Its goal is machine and logistics optimization. One version of it, JDLink Select, is even compatible with other brands of equipment.
One unique example of the kind of data provided by JDLink is the amount of horsepower demanded from a Deere tractor during a specific operation. A farm manager will then know whether or not he can use a smaller, more fuel-efficient machine on that job next time, or opt for a larger implement. “It provides information and hard facts for producers to make decisions on,” explains Brokaw. “Previously those decisions could only be made based on assumptions or hunches.”
“That’s just the first step,” she continues. “It (John Deere FarmSight) gets producers thinking outside of efficiency in just a single vehicle, combine or tractor and overall in their entire operation. There has been a lot of focus on single (machine) solutions. What we are focused on is bringing those solutions to an entire fleet or an entire operation. Not just between a tractor and implement while they’re doing one activity.”
So far, JDLink and AgLogic are two main programs in the FarmSight group of technologies. Aside from expanding their features, there will eventually be other products capable of working together with them. “It’s fair to say we’re looking outside those two products,” says Brokaw. “There’ll be additional products to support the vision.”
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Machine-to- machine communication is on the horizon