From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]

Customer Driven Innovation: A Global Perspective

Changing iron by using the cloud

Growers (Matt rarely called his customers “farmers”) are a uniquely tenacious and optimistic group. They have to be risk takers too, so many out-of-their-control environmental factors impact outcomes.  You might never guess that this group is well set to innovate/change how they farm.

The head of  Product Management explained that today’s growers, in order to feed the many billion of us, must find ways to limit their risk and increase their yield. They’ve already teased out most of their farming costs from fuel (which impacts feed, fertilizer and other necessary items on the farm). More was needed to be done – there are hungry people to feed.

Matt’s teams hypothesized that growers need to be able to collaborate – on demand, from anywhere they were working – with partners, such as the extension agent or the feed vendor. Their equipment too had to become smart, either sensing a part needing replacement, or actually replacing drivers as tractors convoy across fields.

Wireless !  It became apparent that iron was going to bend to the cloud

The company is described as a pure-play agriculture company. They make farm equipment. They work in iron and they are good at that. They had no long-term experience integrating wireless devices within the working environment of their customers. It was first time at bat for the team.

One challenge was finding ways to implement wireless technology in areas of rough work and tougher dirt conditions.  Concerns were raised about availability of wireless access in the emerging world. Could the team create new products for these growers using innovative wireless connectivity?

Next up  – Innovating  by immersion

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