Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, Carl J. Levine, Dynatrace Blog

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Internet of Things, Data and APIs By @SOASoftwareInc | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

IoT is really just an API-enabled platform for extending data to the things that are being used to deliver value for a brand

John Deere Is Using APIs to Grow World’s Food Supply

When something as simple as an API can integrate massive amounts of data into, and through, a wide variety of applications, any company can be a digital enterprise. There is a perception that some industries are using technology to innovate, while others languish in antiquated ways of running their business. But in our massively connected age, it's rare to find examples where technology isn't making an impact on helping organizations grow and become more efficient.

John Deere is one of the world's largest and most successful manufacturers of agricultural machinery, and it's not a stretch to say that they are responsible for much of the food on your table. They're enabling an entire ecosystem of innovation for everyone involved with agriculture through the APIs they offer in their developer program.

At first look, it may seem a stretch to think about how an API can enhance tractors, but John Deere isn't in the business of just making machinery any more. They want to enable efficient growth of the global food supply, and to do that they are making technology part of every element of the value chain they touch: from how crops are planted, harvested, managed, and the equipment that is used in the process. These are not just using technology, but as pointed out in, How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition, a new piece in the Harvard Business Review: "...sensors, processors, software, and connectivity in products (in effect, computers are being put inside products), coupled with a product cloud in which product data is stored and analyzed and some applications are run, are driving dramatic improvements in product functionality and performance."

Consider the complexity of getting from farm to table. Logistics, time-to-market, and quality are the essence of agriculture, maybe as much as taste is. Whether it is a cow, a banana or a cashew, it has along and rather complicated lifecycle, and a lot of data associated with it that can be tracked. This type of business requires an environment that uses technology to germinate, breed, nurture, and care for things that cannot easily be stored or shipped. And today's consumer wants access to an ever-growing range of food products, and expects to be able to find a pineapple in Reykjavik in February. That involves an integration of many players, and it cannot be accomplished without sophisticated use of technology.

The API-enabled IoT "Stack"
This is what the Internet of Things (IoT) looks like. Far from being a gadget in the cab of a tractor, IoT is really just an API-enabled platform for extending data to the things that are being used to deliver value for a brand. For John Deere, that means treating their products as data repositories, with collection, dissemination and usage coming from tilling, digging, picking and just basically doing what they're out in the fields for the in first place. It's just that now, they are being leveraged to do more than ever before. For John Deere's users and customers that means using tractors, excavators and loaders to use information gathered from other sources to make better, more advantageous decisions. It means that the same excavator also becomes an additional collection point in their data loop.

How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition explains that there is a "stack" that constitutes a connected, smart product. In that stack is the product cloud, which is essentially the data being discovered, shared and processed, the connectivity layer, which enables communication between the data and the product, and the product itself, which is manifested in either, or both, the product hardware and software. Those things combined make a tractor a data collection device, a real-time processing tool, and a rendering machine that makes the job of the operator easier and more valuable. Rather than stick with rote, traditional ways of conducting the job of harvesting, for example, a farmer can now be better equipped to do his job at the optimal time of day, in the best location possible, and with predictive market knowledge to help him better prioritize his time.

Farmers and manufacturers can make use of their existing mobile devices (smartphones and tablets, mostly) as tools for data collection and delivery. This gives an entirely new dimension to the Internet of Things because it layers new technology and solutions into the hands of people who are willing to try new things, but want to keep disruptions to a minimum. Farmers want to grow, and then sell. Technology, if it doesn't quickly help their situation, is nothing more than a nuisance.

IoT, Data and APIs Create Markets
There are so many components and roles that go into creating a marketplace for food, and John Deere is leading the way to enable connectedness and innovation among them. Working with Growmark, for example, John Deere is using an API that helps crop specialists and farmers collect, share and analyze information about soils and crops. Farmers get relevant, real-time access to data and instructions help them solve specific issues immediately, all through a Web application that is accessible through multiple channels.

In the spirit of true open source, John Deere provides for its ecosystem of partners, suppliers, customers and all manner of stakeholders, a vast amount of data in their MyJohnDeere cloud. The MyJohnDeere Data API allows interested parties to upload their own data, and pull and share files among other developers. With this type of accessibility, decisions about almost all types of manufacturing, construction and agriculture issues can be addressed immediately and with a high degree of relevance. The AEMP API provides access to equipment information and helps other manufacturers and suppliers with specifics about parts, serial numbers, fuel consumption and other information that can help them provide the right type of complementary products and solutions.

John Deere figured out something early, before most auto manufacturers did - leveraging their API and data capabilities is what dramatically increases their reach. That generally comes from having the foresight and planning to extend data and capabilities to other platforms. The HBR article explains this nicely in the context of what auto manufacturers missed, and where the suppliers of data understand: "Auto OEMs' traditional clout relative to suppliers is greatly diminished with suppliers like Google, which have not only substantial resources and expertise but also strong consumer brands and numerous related applications (for example, consumers may prefer a car that can sync with their smartphone, music, and apps)."

A true example of extending the Internet of Things can be found in the John Deere Field Connect API, which takes advantage of monitors that measure soil moisture levels. These monitors have probes and gateways that transmit real-time information to John Deere servers. Through secure transmission of data, that information can be used by web applications (on-premise, in the cloud and in mobile devices) to access other organization's data in an effort to detect soil issues and provide proper field management.

The HBR article highlights something quite poignant about the advantages that come from this combination of data and devices; they differentiate companies and products among their competitors in ways those companies probably hadn't previously considered. A manufacturer can become a distributor of data. A services company can highlight its brand reaching customers through devices. Device-based apps and tools can now be rendered on multiple types of devices, irrespective of platform. This creates market opportunities that scale beyond what is considered in most go-to-market plans, and strengthens the value of the brand, and all of this, usually for the cost of some API development and management.

Crops and hogs don't care about big data, and farmers lose money every minute they aren't being efficient and productive. But with APIs, they have better information in an environment in which they are already familiar, there is a net result of smarter business operations. For them, that means less waste and more profit. For the consumer, it means that not only do they get that pineapple in winter, but hopefully also that less water was required to grow it and fewer carbon emissions were used to get it to their grocery store.

Reference:
How Smart, Connected products Are Transforming Competition by Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, November 2014 Issue, Harvard Business Review

The post John Deere is Using APIs to Grow the World's Food Supply appeared first on SOA Software.

More Stories By Roberto Medrano

Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been involved at the beginning of four IT industries: EDA, Open Systems, Computer Security and now SOA.

Prior to joining SOA Software, he was CEO of PoliVec, a leader in security policy. Before joining PoliVec, he was one of the top 100 Sr. Executives at Hewlett Packard. At Hewlett-Packard (HP) served as the General Manager of the E-Services and Internet Security Divisions. Medrano has held executive positions at Finjan, Avnet Inc, and Sun Microsystems. Medrano participated in President Clinton’s White House Security Summit and has been an active member on National Cyber Security Summits, and the White House National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.

Medrano has been selected as one of “The 100 most influential Hispanics in US”, “The 100 most influential Latinos in Silicon Valley” “Top 100 most influential Hispanics in Information Technology” and is co-founder and CEO for Hispanic-Net, a non-profit organization. Medrano holds an MBA from UCLA, a MSEE from MIT, BSEE from USC.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Auditwerx will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Auditwerx specializes in SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 attestation services throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a division of Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), one of the top 20 largest CPA firms nationally, you can expect the resources, skills, and experience of a much larger firm combined with the accessibility and attent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.