IIoT, Interviews

Leveraging IoT to help farmers feeding the world

Experienced global executive with a demonstrated history of working in the machinery and precision agriculture industries. Skilled in Marketing Management, Market Planning, Business Planning, Product Management, Analytics Implementation, Sales, and Customer Experience. Strong business professional with a commitment to ongoing education, developing teams, and professional development.

we.CONECT: The pop in your job – you work as Vice President of Fuse, Global Connected Services and Technology at AGCO – which tasks would you highlight as particularly interesting? What is most exciting about your role, and why are you passionate about your job?

Seth Crawford: This is an easy one.  I truly enjoy helping our customers feed the world and enabling them to be more productive and efficient.  While most, outside of agriculture, don’t think of farmers as being on the leading edge, farmers around the world have adopted technology at a much faster rate and it is driving incredible production increases and efficiency gains.  Being a part of this is very rewarding for me personally and it is also challenging to find ways to integrate the technology, ensure it is reliable and easy to use.  When we get this right, the adoption is incredible!

we.CONECT: You will present a project that plays a quite important role for our society: Leveraging IoT to help farmers feeding the world at Industry of Things World USA. How and how fast will IoT change farming? Does Farming 4.0 offer the chance to feed the growing world population?

Seth Crawford: Not only does IoT help farmers feed the world, it also helps farmers protect our world for future generations.  Farmers are leveraging technology to increase production, improve grain handling, and optimize logistics.  They are also using IoT to ensure they apply fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides at the right time and in the right quantity.  This is significantly more efficient today than it was just 5-10 years ago.

we.CONECT: What were the most important drivers of your project – functionality, process optimization, customer experience, mostly cost, or something completely different?

Seth Crawford: The main focus areas for us are increasing the productivity of the farmer and reducing their costs per unit produced.  At the same time, we are making their lives better by automating machine functions that allow them to complete their tasks without the traditional strain.  Finally, we are focused on delivering a quality experience that is best in the industry.  The technology must be reliable and easy to use or the customers simply won’t touch it.  This is critical for our customers because nearly all are operating in rural areas where labor is in very short supply.  While we increase the technology in our products we also need to make them easier to use in order to make sure that we don’t exceed the capabilities of the labor force available to our farmer customers.

we.CONECT: Looking back to the initial planning, the initial phase and the first PoC – where do you see particular success in achieving the project goals?

Seth Crawford: Success is usually achieved most often when we collaborate with some lead customers early and often to ensure that our solutions will deliver the value we expect and that customers can achieve the value with the interface we have developed.

we.CONECT: What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Seth Crawford: The biggest challenges with digital transformation and IoT initiatives relate to picking the right projects first and finding the stakeholders that are truly interested in experimenting.  For many, it feels like a leap into the unknown.  For those that take the leap and commit to driving true transformation, they find that they are learning and improving every day.  In a very short period of time they are distancing themselves from peers internally and competitors externally.  The early wins and success stories help motivate others to jump onboard with the effort.

we.CONECT: Looking at similar projects in your industry: where do you see the particularities of your approach? What can other companies learn from you?

Seth Crawford: We have always taken the approach of being open.  In our industry, this is not the norm. While some create an ecosystem that holds customers captive, we don’t believe in this philosophy. At AGCO, we want to partner with customers and ensure they are able to optimize their operation and share their data with the partners they designate.

we.CONECT: Industry of Things World USA is a highly interactive networking event – which conversations are you particularly looking forward to?

Seth Crawford: I’m always impressed with the connections made during events that are out of the blue.  In many cases there are others at the event from industries far from the space where AGCO operates yet through the sharing of ideas, we find common ground.

Do you want to learn more from Seth?  Join his case study on leveraging IoT to help farmers feeding the world this March 12 at Industry of Things World USA in San Diego. Sign up now and you will meet the leading community of IIoT decision-makers for the event’s fifth anniversary!

Click below to view the event agenda and book your event pass now!

12 – 13 March | Paradise Point Resort & Spa, San Diego,USA