Dealers could improve efficiency as informational bridges with Deere's new Wireless Data Transfer system.
As precision farming continues to evolve beyond the hardware, and more toward data collection and analysis, there is increased focus on protecting that information.
At it's 2014 product launch event in Columbus, Ohio, on August 21-22, John Deere introduced Wireless Data Transfer, a subscription-based system that allows farmers to send data remotely from their tractor or combine cab, to their home office.
The system runs through Deere's JDLink Ultimate with Remote Display Access farm management platform and flows data to a farmer's online portal at MyJohnDeere.com.
"In most of the cases where we've tested it, we've had cooperators that have used it over the past year and they've seen mainly time savings and the ability to make faster decisions," says Kathy Michael, product manager, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group. "One of our providers is telling us that he's able to spend more time in the office writing prescriptions and not chasing around USB sticks. For ag service providers and dealers especially, it's a service enabler."
Kathy Michael, senior product manager, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, discusses John Deere's new Wireless Data Transfer technology, the roll dealers will play in bringing the service to customers and how they can work with retailers to deliver a complete data management solution.
Once a farmer logs onto the system, he or she has the option of sharing the data with a trusted advisor, be that the equipment dealer, retailer or both. Michael told Precision Farming Dealer at the event, that customers have complete control over who has access to their data.
How the product will be delivered to customers remains to be seen, but Michael sees profit opportunity for both equipment dealers and ag service providers.
"The dealers that are utilizing some of the agronomic expertise in their area, Wireless Data Transfer allows for quicker flow of information between that triangle of the customer, the dealer and ag service provider," she says. "Of course, the dealers are the experts on equipment, so they can help provide services to get that system set up and collecting good, accurate data."
The most popular sales model emerging in market tests of Wireless Data Transfer, says Michael, is dealers and ag service providers jointly offering the system to customers.
"They'll talk about revenue sharing then go together to the customer to sell it," she says. "Whether that comes through the dealer and the dealer pays the service provider or the other way around, they go as a unified front. Some of our customers have said, 'Finally, you are talking to each other, and that's what we want.'"
However, some equipment dealerships are incorporating agronomists into their operations and offering a full spectrum of data management service to customers.
One equipment dealer from Wisconsin notes, "John Deere's idea is to have us become one-stop shops for customers' precision needs. We're not always going to generate revenue directly from a sale, but this type of offering gives customers another option, and as dealers, another entry point."
As dealers are trained on Wireless Data Transfer, Michael says, they will be able to leverage the technology to increase sales of other products and equipment.
"We've seen customers turn into information junkies and they're always wanting the next thing, so they are going to look to their dealer for that," she says. "In terms of iron sales, we're seeing increased interest in smart iron, so we think it's going to help equipment sales, with these services wrapped around them."