How Monsanto is approaching IoT from the ground up

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It's hard to open a magazine or visit a website these days without seeing something about the Internet of Things (IoT). At Monsanto, IoT is also an important part of our business strategy. Here's how.

As you might imagine, based on our company name, our products grow in the ground. We create seeds and contract with growers that produce for us, dry the finished product and make it available to our customers. We do that around the world. To get better visibility into all that activity, we have created something we call FieldDrive.

Essentially, FieldDrive allows us to pull yield and positioning data dynamically off of the combines and tractors we use via sensors and put it together in the cloud with weather forecasts and other sorts of data. This combination yields reliable information around the quality of our products and where they are at the time of harvest.

That's not the end of the story, of course. Connecting the data we collect on the ground with our sales and research data gives us insights to better support our customers and support development of our products to work in more growing conditions.

We also work with third parties on IoT. We signed an agreement with one partner to connect their IoT environment with ours and help us position product coming off the farms into our drying plants. This alignment allowed us to look at temperature, pressure, humidity and prevent seed loss by tracking the location of those trucks going to the plant. If a temperature got too hot, we could move up in the queue to empty those trucks before others.

The more we do with IoT, in fact, the more ways we've found to leverage it: in planning, in logistics, in the supply chain, and at the commercial level. It’s now an integral part of our big data strategy and a crucial element of how we run the business.

I like to say that we are using IoT to improve not only the ag industry, but to transform our business, and do it (literally) from the ground up.

Jim Swanson is a global business and technology leader and currently Chief Information Officer of Johnson & Johnson, the world’s premier healthcare company. Based at the company headquarters in New Jersey, Jim is responsible for amplifying Johnson & Johnson’s business impact and shaping its direction through the strategic use of technology.

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