John Deere Offers New Communication Systems to Promote Machine Automation in Agriculture

July 28, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

Can John Deere and Ericsson bring 5G and IIoT technologies into the agriculture sector?

John Deere is a multinational corporation that specializes in manufacturing and supplying technology and equipment used in agriculture and construction.

Recently, the company collaborated with industry leaders and 5G experts to provide customers in the agriculture industry with better connectivity to improve the productivity of farming systems and the community that operates them. 

John Deere will now offer its JDLink connectivity service at no additional cost to customers. They recently entered into a partnership with Ericsson to bring technologies focusing on 5G and IIoT to the agriculture sector. 



Engineers can access and manage JDLink through the John Deere Operations Center account by mobile app or web. John Deere’s customers can log in, activate the service, and monitor their machines and farms from any location and at any time. 


Two engineers using the JDLink platform to talk to industrial machinery. Image used courtesy of John Deere


This automatic enrollment feature allows the user to purchase equipment built with JDLink mobile telematics gateways (MTGs) that are automatically enrolled. With this feature, customers don’t need to lose valuable time in enrolling in purchases themselves.

In a recent news release, the Market Manager at John Deere, Jennifer Badding, commented, "Previously for each machine, customers had to choose the right subscription, timeframe, and price. Activations took many steps and each subscription renewal had to be separately managed," Badding added, "As a result, these customers have been missing out on the value of Connected Support and precision agriculture."

JDLink helps to provide farmers, engineers, and machine expertswith a way of managing their operations remotely without the worry of managing multiple subscriptions or connecting many different machines.


Bringing 5G and IIoT to Farming

The agreement between Ericsson and John Deere involves the joint input of their R&D and innovation centers. The duo aims to apply IoT Mobile ecosystem technologies such as Narrowband IoT (NB-loT) and Cat-M1 to expand agribusiness solutions.


With so much industrial machinery involved in large-scale farming, the potential of 5G in agriculture may be closer than we think. 


These solutions will be based on 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) standards. While NB-IoT supports ultra-low complexity devices and comes with a very narrow bandwidth, Cat-M1 has higher bandwidth and can achieve greater data rates. Users may also be able to achieve more accurate device positioning and lower latency.


5G Communications Framework in Automated Agriculture 

It is anticipated that a 5G communications framework could enable efficiency and reduce energy consumption compared to previously developed technologies (such as 3G and 4G LTE). According to Ericsson's 5G study, the agriculture sector could bring in $9.6 billion by 2030, with additional earning coming in at $1.9 billion through the use of 5G.

In another news release, the Business Vice-President for Ericsson in Southern Latin America, Murilo Barbosa, said, “The entire agribusiness ecosystem, from 5G onward, can make the country even more productive than it already is. 5G technology will play a key role in this new cycle of innovation and we are delighted to be able to move forward in this direction in partnership with John Deere.”


A diagram showing Ericsson's 5G agriculture capabilities. Image used courtesy of Ericsson 


As humanity continues to progress in the new digital age, the continued increase in the size of the Earth’s population increases the pressure on the agricultural industry to maximize production to supply food. Providing better machine connectivity or site connectivity may improve processes and relieve some of the pressure facing farming communities. This may allow them to use more environmentally sustainable practices and implement 5G and IIoT technology.