John Deere adopting satellite for connectivity
May 3, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Illinois-based John Deere, the agricultural machinery manufacturer, enjoyed revenue of $52.5 billion last year. Its users are increasingly dependent on modern technology to keep their farms functioning 24/7, and usually without human control.
Until now John Deere has depended on conventional WiFi and telco connectivity for these independent machines. But remote sites and many overseas locations have no such infrastructure available. Hence a move to satellite connectivity.
“The areas that aren’t covered are where a lot of our customers are doing their work,” said Jonny Spendlove, Deere’s senior programme manager for connectivity and quoted by the WSJ.
Moreover, John Deere has introduced increasingly sophisticated extra functionality to a unit’s ability such as monitoring of equipment working in fields, remote troubleshooting and real-time data on soil, seeds and planting. These extra dimensions are above and beyond simple WiFi – even when connections are possible. Satellite-based connectivity is also key to extending John Deere’s abilities in markets (for example Brazil) where WiFi is near non-existent on large farms.
The company, according to the WSJ, will select a satellite provider later this year and start marketing its satellite services to the farming community by the end of 2024.