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Data Sync with Guest Jakson Lane

17 Aug 2023  •  Tony Kramer

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Read the entire transcript from the latest episode.

Tony: Hello, I'm Tony Kramer, your host of the Agriculture Technology Podcast, and I'm sitting down with Agriculture Technology and equipment experts to help you enhance your operation for today, tomorrow, and into the future. In this episode, I talk with Jakson about the capabilities and features of Data Sync with setup data. Jackson, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me and talk to our listeners a little bit about Data Sync. Now, there's some pieces that go into this, not to be confused with other features and functionality that are out there, but before we dive into the show, Jackson, I want to take just a minute to learn a little bit about you. Who you are, where you came from, and how you got to where you are today.

Jakson: Thanks, Tony, for having me on the podcast. Like Tony said, I'm Jakson. I grew up in Russell, South Dakota, so just south of here compared to Breck. I went to school at NDSCS in Wahpeton and I actually graduated with a ag business degree, but then that ventured me into being a product specialist for RDO. So I've been with RDO for a year and a couple months now. Started out in Webster, South Dakota and now I have transitioned to Breckenridge within the past month.

Tony: Well, welcome aboard to the team, moving into the second year and made that transition to a different location. Still doing the same job, but it's great to have you on the team and we really appreciate the expertise, and the knowledge that you bring to the RDO equipment team of product specialists. So Jackson, let's dive into it a little bit Data Sync. So just for beginners, what is Data Sync?

Jakson: In my opinion, Data Sync is like your one-stop shop for all your data to seamlessly go into Operation Center and back. So it's no more setup files, no more work plans. It's your data is seamlessly going back and forth. You create a new field in op center, go to your tractor, it's there. You didn't do anything. It's synced automatically there fast for you.

Tony: And when you say your data, you're not just talking about the agronomic or the work data, correct? We're not just talking about the yield maps or the planter maps.

Jakson: Nope, it's Client/Farm/Field, Flags, products, operators, a list of different things you can have automatically sync to your display or back.

Tony: So now, we're going both ways. We're not just syncing data from the display to the Operation Center, but it's also coming from the Operation Center out to the display. Now, that being said, this is different than In-field Data Sharing, correct?

Jakson: Correct. In-field Data Sharing is you're sharing coverage maps when you guys are both in the same field. Data Sync is your operational Guidance Lines, the full on everything you can think of, and you don't have to be in the same field. Everything is flowing back and forth.

Tony: So this really focuses on our setup data. So what we used to refer to or what we used to use, which we still can today, I should use that lightly on used to. But setup files, this is in that same realm of setup files, correct?

Jakson: Correct. Yeah. So with AutoPath and stuff like that, equipment profiles, we'd still want to use a setup file, but this is your generic, not your super in-depth stuff to seamlessly go there, get there fast.

Tony: So now, is this just between specific display in the Operation Center or say I'm a farm with four tractors, two combines, two sprayers, I have a fleet of equipment. How does this all work? How does the data flow?

Jakson: So I got to say you go into op center under setup, you hit Data Sync, you can enable the display. So maybe we should talk about some of the requirements we need before we can even enable it.

Tony: Yeah, absolutely.

Jakson: So we need a Gen 4, V2 processor or coming a Gen 5, or G5 display. We also need a JDLink Modem. So most of all your newer tractors with integrated 4,600 or Gen 5 will have that. And you also need 22-2 or newer software. So when we say newer, like the latest update you can put on it, but it has to at least have 22-2. So that would be your first start to even thinking about turning on Data Sync. So I got to say you go into op center, you say, "Yep, Data Sync is for me, this is what we need."
Go into set up Data Sync and it'll actually walk you through very nicely explaining Data Sync again, and then you can enable it on op center. You go to your tractor, boom, it's there for you. All your data has come in from op center seamlessly. You don't have to click any buttons to enable it. Let's say you don't want Data Sync to work that day, you can turn it off on the tractor side.

Tony: Yeah, so that's actually something we learned. Prior to recording this podcast, we wanted to make sure we had all our tractors in a row or ducks in a row, see what I did there. But we wanted to make sure we knew how this system worked and we learned that it has to be turned on in the Operation Center. So you cannot turn on Data Sync from the machine. It has to be enabled in the Operation Center but then in the machine, once it's enabled, you can turn it on and off from the machine. So that was really neat to learn that prior to recording this. So you do that, you set that up. Again, you need the requirements of the hardware, the connectivity. You go into the Operation Center; you enable the Data Sync. Once that's done, how is this data flowing?

Jakson: It's flowing automatically back and forth. There's no requirements by you. It's flowing through the MTG back and forth to your display to op center.

Tony: And that goes to all machines, correct? Anything that you have enabled.

Jakson: Enabled. Yep. So I got to say you have a 8RX 370 and you have a 8R 370. Both are planting tractors, whatever the 8RX creates a field name on the display. If you have it set up correctly where client farm fields go into available into op center within, we'll say 30 seconds, that would be a long time for Data Sync to work. Then it would automatically go into op center, it would come back into the 8R tractor automatically. Boom. A new field client farm field is there in that display.
So yes, you can do it on op center, create a new client farm field. Boom. It'll be within the end of the displays, but you also can do it within the display of the tractor. If you have client farm field enabled correctly, it'll go into ops, out of ops into the other tractor seamlessly. But it also works the same way. Let's say you delete a client farm field on the display, it'll delete it in op center and then it'll delete it on the other displays also.

Tony: So this is really connecting or syncing all of our displays or whichever ones we have enabled. So that I guess make note of that. You can enable some displays. You don't have to enable all of them. You can pick and choose across your farm. But what you're saying is that it is then syncing all of those enabled displays with the Operation Center all the time. It's making sure all that data is the same on every display in the Operation Center. Now, that being said, correct me if I'm wrong here, Jackson, but the Operation Center is the master key, correct? We want to-

Jakson: Correct. Before you even connect, you want to make sure your Operation Center's clean, make sure it's the right client farm field, make sure it's not dead animal 40 when that field name is actually gyms, make sure your Operation Center clean before you... Because that data in op center will then go to your displays. So we preach clean displays, clean data, we'll make sure your starting point is clean.

Tony: Yeah. And that's a really good point and we try to tell people, clean up your data in the off season, clean up your data, middle of the summer, middle of the winter. Those of you that listen to this podcast that you guys don't have in off season, you're farming year-round. Find that downtime to clean up your data within the Operation Center, within your displays because Jackson is absolutely right. If you enable this and you've got dirty data or garbage Client/Farm/Field, garbage Guidance Lines either in the Operation Center or in some of your displays, it will all sink.
You will now have that garbage data all across your farm. So if we can stress one thing on this episode here, if you are going to enable Data Sync, please clean up your data before you do any of that. So moving on. So we talked about how to set up or how to enable Data Sync. Talked about how the data flows. One of the questions I have is how does Data Sync differ from set up files or Work Planner, which is actually fairly new as well. How does Data Sync differ from those two?

Jakson: So it's like Work Planner, you go in and select everything you want to be done in that field and you can leave notes. It's a very detailed specific towards that field where Data Sync, it's the generic. Everything is going to be there quick, fast, automatically. You don't have to go in and do anything. So it's the no touch system. They're easy, low maintenance, we'll say. Where setup file is your deep dive, you're selecting everything, your variety locator, you're selecting what Guidance Lines you want, your Autopath files if you run that. So let's say set up file is your most detailed orated in depth selecting. You spend some time getting the data you want in that file to send to your tractors. Where Data Sync, it's your, what's an op center?
It's going to be there for you on your displays quick, fast. And there's some things that Data Sync cannot do yet. It'll be coming in the future. So some of the stuff I can't do right now is Variety Locator, Autopath, work plans or equipment profiles, like the exact measurements and everything. But one thing that is coming for sure is going to be Variety Locator with 23-2. So that'll be very soon here. So that'd be a nice one to have. Automatically, you didn't even do anything. Now, you already have your Variety Locator maps in your combine just by enabling Data Sync.

Tony: Yeah. So that's really something to keep in mind. And the next question that rolled in perfectly for who is the right user for Data Sync was the next question I had. But something to keep in mind is each Data Sync Setup, file creator or work plan, each one kind has their own uniqueness to them. So something to keep in mind is with Data Sync, there are certain pieces that will not sync across the display. You still need to utilize Work Planner or setup files.
And the way I like to talk, when people ask, "What's the difference? Is set up file creator going away or is Work Planner going away, or what is it? So you talk Data Sync versus setup files. Well maybe, you're a large operation and you have a fleet of say tillage tractors and all you want in that display is the relevant data for those tillage tractors.
You don't want anything else in there. Well, if that's the case, set up file or Work Planner is likely going to be the route you take. Now, with Work Planner, like you said, "It's specific." There's no selecting client farm field. You just pull into that field boundary; you accept the planned work and so be it. Now, with Data Sync, you still have to select client farm field, correct?

Jakson: Correct.

Tony: It's just everything, all of your Client/Farm/Field, Guidance Lines, Flags, everything lives in every display, Operation Center, everything like that. But you still have to manually set up that display.

Jakson: Correct. Yep.

Tony: Yeah, so keep that in mind. If you are thinking about Data Sync or Work Planner, or setup files and you're trying to say, "Gosh, what's the right route for me? What's the right route for our operation?" Look into it. Talk to your local John Deere dealer, stop into your local RDO equipment location, talk to your product specialist. Learn a little bit about each piece of this flowing setup data and everything like that.
Now, I say we're talking Data Sync. One of the things that comes to mind right now, don't confuse Data Sync and setup data with Data Sync, and work data because the work data is our agronomic data. It's our as applied, it's all of that stuff. The Data Sync with the setup data is what we're talking about here. So we talked about what it is, some of the differences between them.
We talked about what is needed, the hardware, the requirements, and that's something that can't be overlooked. Now, I know Jackson, you got to work with a couple customers directly turning on Data Sync, getting it flowing on their farm. Tell us a little bit about those experiences of getting the fleet set up, getting it turned on. And then you've actually got a really unique story from a support side of things on how Data Sync works. So tell us a little bit about that and how that experience went when you worked with these customers.

Jakson: Yep. So one of the bigger customers we had, I spent a day with him in the winter cleaning up his op center, getting it already to go. Then John Deere released Data Sync and I was like, "This might be the perfect opportunity to try this." We got clean data here. We have a larger fleet full of equipment that is capable of using this. So it started with, I went out to the farm, and we had to update some of the displays because they're on 22-1. So we actually time of update, they got updated to 22-3. It worked out. We enabled it on op center. Data Sync came through everything. The new fields he was farming for the year we're in there. Everything was ready to go. Awesome. It was working great. So let's say a week goes by, a couple weeks go by, I'm on the phone with him helping him with his planter and we're talking Giada's planter issue resolved and that's, well, 11:30 at night.
I was on the phone with him. He was complaining that his old tile pump from 40 years ago broke down. He had to remove it off this field. Field is no longer there, but now, the pump is still in the middle of the field. He doesn't have a flag on it. So I'm sitting, lying in bed, I scroll out, I zoom into the field where he is at. I see the little white dot on where the pump was. I dropped a flag on my phone, and he says, "Ah, perfect. I just got it." He got his flag on his display when I was lying in bed talking to him. Boom. He knew exactly where the pump was. He didn't worry about running into it anymore.

Tony: Yeah, you did that. Not anywhere near him, however many miles away you were on your phone on Operation Center Mobile, jumped in, found where he was, found that area. You looked at the satellite image and you dropped the flag and within seconds, there was-

Jakson: I dropped the flag, and he was like, "Perfect, got it." So I was like, "Well, that was fast."

Tony: So that is a really cool feature of Data Sync. And that's just one piece. That's just talking flags. We've got Guidance Lines in the Operation Center web, we've got Client/Farm/Field, we've got products, we've got all of that stuff can be synced through Data Sync. Now again, there's a few pieces that will not sync through Data Sync. One of the big ones or two of the big ones I guess right now today, Variety Locator, AutoPath, Work Planner. But that's a really cool story just from a support side, whether you're on supporting a customer as a dealer, supporting a customer as an agronomist or a crop advisor, or maybe it's just you as the farm owner, farm manager, supporting one of your employees that's out in the field, being able to make those things happen.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but he could have also, had he known the process, he could have dropped a flag right in the tractor display and it would've come onto the phone where you were just from a support side, you said, "Well, hey, let me just show you how this works." You dropped the flag on your phone, and it came through. So that is a really cool story. Lot of opportunity here with Data Sync, with setup data, getting that stuff to flow across the fleet. And again, this isn't just for the big guys, this isn't just for the little guys. There's opportunity on all sizes of the farm.

Jakson: Yeah. Just as long as you got your Gen 4 display. So don't think it's just for the newer equipment. Think of, "Okay, we got 4640s and we got a JDLink modem." You can do this with a 2004 model tractor if you have the requirements.

Tony: Yeah, that's a really good point, Jackson. If you've got JDLink connection, you've got that 4G modem, you've got a 4640 Universal or soon to be the G5 Universals, all of that stuff, we can still turn this on. And your 30 Series Tractor, your 20 Series, whatever it may be, as long as you have these hardware requirements. So not just for the brand-new equipment, not just for the big guy, there's benefits across all farm sizes, all operations, all sizes of fleets. It's just finding out which form of setup data you want to work with, which one works best for you.

Jakson: I have one more example, Tony. So like rock pickers in the hills of South Dakota, rocks are huge. The planner operators, they knew to drop flags all the time when they saw a big rock. This isn't a valley rock; this is a boulder in my opinion. And then the rock picker tractor comes in, the rock picker tractor has the requirements, comes in, yep, sees all of his flags that he has to go to. He gets the big boulders they want out of the field. They didn't go back to their computer and send a set-up file to the rock picker tractor. So it was seamless. And with this operation, the rock picker tractors actually were in the field of the planters, like rock picker tractors just follow the planters around. So it's a seamless five-second deal that drops. You don't have to spend half your day on the two-way radio explaining to your grandpa what way north and south is. He can just follow a flag to it and it helps a lot.

Tony: Absolutely. And that's another really good example or explanation of some benefits of Data Sync. Because I think back to myself growing up, working on the farm in South Central Minnesota, and it was the same thing. Dad or one of his brothers would be out in the planter and it was literally a paper map. They would put an X on roughly where that rock was that they wanted me to go out and get later in the season and I had to look at that paper map. It would've been so easy for them to drop that flag on their display and for me to pull up Operation Center Mobile right on my mobile device. This day and age, we all carry around mobile devices, whether it's your cell phone, your iPad, or whatever it may be, to be able to have that data transfer seamlessly, you start to think about efficiency of the operation.
You're not having to have those extended phone conversations of explaining to someone where something is or where they need to look for it or again, what's going where, which Guidance Line am I using? Things like that. Think big picture, think opportunities across the whole operation. When you're talking this Data Syncing between all displays, your Operation Center, Operation Center Mobile, all of that. At any given time, this data is always refreshing and being synced. So lot of great uses for it, a lot of good opportunities.
So yeah, it's a great tool, a great feature. As long as you've got the requirements and this is something that fits your operation, I encourage you. Go onto the Operation Center Web, take a look at click on setup, click on Data Sync. You can read through it before you enable it. You can pick and choose what's enabled. Is that right?

JaksonCorrect. Yep. Because let's say you can mark it available, and they'll automatically go to op center. It'll be available for use and then back to the other displays. Let's say if you pick archive, like say for a Client/Farm/Field, that data will go into the archive. It'll sit in archive until you delete. So don't think of archive as the delete because it'll still be there for you if you need to use it. Let's say-

Tony: That's just like anything that we archive, it's a holding ground. It's like the trash bin on your computer. Things aren't really gone until you empty that trash bin. So the archive works the same way. Anything in archive is not truly gone until you delete the archive folders. So yeah, whether it's Client/Farm/Field, Guidance Lines, Boundaries, Flags, anything like that, you can pick and choose how you want that data to flow.
So there's a lot of different ways to do this, and again, no one operation is going to be the same. So do it. Set it up how it works for your farm, how it works for your operation and your operators to make sure that the data flows properly in the way that you want it to. So thank you very much, Jackson for taking the time to sit down with me and talk about Data Sync and walk through the steps of getting it set up, and how it's going to show up on the display. So yeah, thanks again for doing this.

Jakson: Thanks for having me, Tony.

Tony: Please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast. If you haven't already, you can subscribe to the show on the many different podcasting apps that we're streaming this out to. It's on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast as well as many others. While you're out there, drop us a review. We'd love to hear what you think about the show. And finally, make sure to follow Audio Equipment Company on Facebook, Instagram, and X, or formerly known as Twitter, and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube. You can also follow me on X, again, formerly known as Twitter @RDOTonyK.
Tony Kramer

Tony Kramer is the Product Manager of Planting Technology and a Certified Crop Advisor at RDO Equipment Co. He is also the host of the Agriculture Technology podcast. If you have any questions for Tony or would like to be a guest on the podcast, you can find him on X at @RDOTonyK.

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