IoTF: The Internet of Things for Farming

By Timothy Chou AGCO is excited to have guest blogger Dr. Timothy Chou of Stanford University join us on the Fuse Blog Some of you have heard about the Internet of Things. While many will wonder why a coffee pot...

IoTF: The Internet of Things for Farming

By Timothy Chou AGCO is excited to have guest blogger Dr. Timothy Chou of Stanford University join us on the Fuse Blog Some of you have heard about the Internet of Things. While many will wonder why a coffee pot...

By Timothy Chou

AGCO is excited to have guest blogger Dr. Timothy Chou of Stanford University join us on the Fuse Blog

Some of you have heard about the Internet of Things. While many will wonder why a coffee pot needs to talk to a toaster there is even greater potential in using advanced software, machine learning, and cloud computing to transform the planet’s fundamental infrastructure and build precision machines. In this blog we’ll focus on the benefits of using these precision machines to enable precision industries, whether that’s farming, mining or transportation.

 

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Precision Machines

So what are the benefits of precision agricultural machines to the farmer, or more generally what are the benefits of precision machines to the businesses that use these machines? We are going to discuss two of these benefits in this blog.

Lower Consumable Costs

Many machines consume materials during operations. This could be fuel in the case of an airplane, ink for a high-speed printer or chemical reagents in a gene sequencer. These consumables often form a large portion of the operational cost structure. As anyone with an inkjet printer knows, the cost of the printer is not near as much as the cost of the toner cartridge you buy every year before tax day. At the enterprise level in the airline industry, the single largest operational cost is fuel – in some cases that’s nearly 30 percent of the total cost of the flight.

In the railroad business New York Air Brake has engineered a product to help operate trains more precisely.  This product, called LEADER, is being used by Norfolk Southern railroad, which operates in 22 eastern states. They attribute a five percent fuel savings to their deployment of LEADER, resulting in not only 10.8 million gallons of diesel fuel saved per year, but also the avoidance of more than 109,500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Improved Safety

The derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia in 2015 left at least six people dead and created chaos on the heavily traveled Northeast corridor the next morning, cutting off all direct rail service between Philadelphia and New York City and causing many other delays up and down the east coast. But if you can tell the train operator what to do, it’s a short step to just having the computers do it.

In 2016, the first automated train will run from the north of Australia to Perth to deliver iron ore.  Not only will it reduce their costs as they railroad has to spend $300,000 in salary for these operators, but also reducing human error will result in a safer railroad.

While technology is cool, its real usage has been to transform businesses. We’re all familiar with the examples from the consumer space (Google, Uber, eBay), but IoT technology has the potential to do the same for producers and consumers of the machines used in agriculture, healthcare, power, transportation, water and more. For a manufacturer of Things, technology can not only reduce the cost and improve the quality of service, but also deliver new revenue sources. As a consumer of this next generation of Things, you have the ability to use precision machines to deliver higher quality and lower cost food, power and water, and safer and lower cost transportation and healthcare.

For more information about IoT and how it might reshape your business check out the recently released book Precision: Principles, Practices and Solutions for the Internet of Things.

For more information about AGCO’s own Internet of Things for the Farm (IoTF), visit www.AGCOcorp.com/Fuse to learn about our precision farming technologies and services.

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