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Data-Driven Decision Making—Connected Vehicles

The afternoon stream I moderated at the Industry of Things World conference focused on connected vehicles—Construction Equipment, Trucks, Airplanes. I also interviewed a farm equipment manufacturer about some perhaps surprising uses of data-driven decision making in agriculture.

But first, a thought from another keynote address:

From a NASA study—If you want to employ a creative genius, you’ll have 98% success employing a 3-5 year old; if you hire an adult, you probability of success drops to 2%.

Data-Driven Agriculture

I caught up with Alexander Purdy of John Deere between sessions. He’s not an engineer or IT manager like many of the attendees and speakers (he had a later keynote). He on the business end. How can John Deere grab a competitive advantage and serve customers through connected data? After a career as a consultant, he loves actually doing things.

His group deals in guidance systems and digital solutions. Guidance systems essentially link a GPS to large farm equipment. Not only does this ensure the rows of corn are nice and straight, the digital decision making increases coverage and yield.

Deere’s digital solutions include online JDLink, JDonline, and an ops center. A farmer can sit in her office and plot out planting regimes setting up everything before going into the field. There is even a way to collaborate on methods and local information.

Let’s take seeding for example. Sensors connected back to the system can feedback soil conditions. This helps the planter decide for each seed in a cornfield the optimum x, y, and z (yes, they measure depth of planted seed). The idea is to get each plant to grow at about the same rate.

Connected Construction Equipment

Kjell Jespersen, Caterpillar, spoke on huge construction equipment. Customers have been using the large amount of data generated by construction equipment mainly for improving maintenance. However, they crave better productivity data to manage their business. Developing the systems for gathering and analyzing all the data will become crucial as a competitive advantage—or failure to do so could force a company to exit the business.

Connected Trucking

Turning to the long-haul trucking business, companies are turning to truck suppliers such as Volvo and Mack Trucks to provide connected vehicle technology to provide data for improved customer support. According to Evandro Silva, Manager Connected Vehicle Services, Volvo Group Trucks North America, a telematics solution was used to develop a connected service that enables quick diagnosis of issues, proactive scheduling for repairs, and confirmation that needed parts are in stock and ready to install—all while the truck is still on the job.

Airplane Digital Twin

Robert Rencher, Senior Systems Engineer and Associate Technical Fellow, The Boeing Company, took the discussion to a new level—literally. From equipment that stays firmly on the ground, Rencher discussed the role of a “digital twin” throughout the lifecycle of an aircraft. A digital twin is defined within a system representing the characteristics of the object and the virtual environment in which the digital representation of objects and their physical equivalent, vice versa, are represented digitally and co-exist such that the object’s past, current, and future capabilities and can be assessed and evaluated in real-time. As an object progresses through each phase of its lifecycle, various systems interface with the digital twin.

Next Year

Look for information about next year’s conference and all the other conferences.  Next year will be about the same time of year in San Diego. Details are still being worked out. Check out twitter conversations at #IoTClan

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  1. Data-Driven Decision Making—Connected Vehicles | The Manufacturing Connection – BrentHumphreys.net - February 27, 2017

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