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Podcast Ep. 121: John Deere MyOperations™ mobile app

2 Jul 2020

John Deere MyOperations™ takes remote management of your field operations and equipment to the next level. 

The MyOperations™ app connects with John Deere Operations Center, empowering you to evaluate expected vs. actual performance of job execution and machine utilization. Powered by an easy, reliable connection between you and your machines through JDLink™ Connect, the MyOperations™ app allows you to monitor completed field activities that occurred today and yesterday to determine the productivity and quality of each field for a given operation like Seeding, Application, Harvest, and Tillage. 

On this latest episode of the Agriculture Technology Podcast, host Tony Kramer and Precision Ag Specialist, Daniel Eslinger discuss how the tool works to provide insights into your operation - that can help you make decisions that impact your bottom line. 

Tune in here:

Learn more about data management systems from John Deere or contact your nearest store. 


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Each month, we share the latest in agriculture technology. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing to our podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Have a story idea or a precision ag topic we should highlight? Connect with us on social media:  Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter and connect with podcast host, Tony Kramer on Twitter at: @RDOTonyK.


Read the episode’s complete transcript here:

Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 121. Today we are going to be talking about the John Deere MyOperations mobile app. Before we dive into the show, 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, such as Apple's podcast app, it's on Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud, 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.

Thanks for joining us on the show today, Daniel. To get started, I'd like to hear a little bit more about you and your background and how you got to where you are today.

Daniel Eslinger: Thanks for having me on, Tony. Yes, I guess a little bit of background is I grew up out in the area that I work in, grew up on a farm just outside of Coleharbor, North Dakota. We did some farming, raised some cattle. Went to college out in Fargo at NDSU, go Bison. One for Ag Systems Management. Got my degree in Ag Systems Management with a minor in Crop and Weed Science.

I started with RDO Equipment fall of 2013. Started as a product specialist. I worked out of Casselton in eight locations. Worked out in the valley for a little over two years and then made the transfer out here to our Bismarck, Washburn, Hazen locations, continuing as a product specialist. Get back in the home area. Back close to the farm and stuff and then a pretty good five years out here now.

Tony: That's crazy to think that it has already been five years. It feels like just yesterday or just last month you were here working in the valley with the team over here. Yes, you've been involved in agriculture all your life. You said you went to North Dakota State University for an Ag degree and then jumped on board with RDO right away. Ag is where you're at and moving back home to be a part of the farm as well as continue to work for RDO. It's always great to hear people's backstories.

With that, let's dive into this. I had mentioned that we're going to talk about the MyOperations App, but before we dive into that one, Daniel, let's just talk a little bit about what mobile apps John Deere has to offer. Because I know there's a bunch of them out there.

Daniel: John Deere has got a suite of mobile apps and actually John Deere has got their own app center where you can get all of these apps from, rather than searching them individually through like your Apple store and Google play store. If you go out there and you search for the John Deere app center, you can download that. It's John Deere's own little app store.

Like I said, they got a suite of apps. You can download the JDLink app for equipment monitoring and keeping track of your machine parameters. It's got the MyOperations app, of course, which we'll be discussing today. You can get the My Transfer app. That's an app that we utilize with our mobile data transfer, USB sticks. You can wirelessly transfer your data off of your 2630 Gen 4 Display wirelessly with the USB stick through your cell phone.

Then we've got a suite all depending on what you're doing. We got the GoTill app, the GoBale app, GoChop, GoHarvest. We got the PlanterPlus and the ApplyPlus app for planters and sprayers. They've got an app for each piece of equipment you're going to have out there and what you're doing for the season and like our Go apps, like the GoBale or the GoHarvest app there's a lot of good information in there. Quick reference, gives you a lot of information about crop changeover is what you're going to need to change, how you're going to- some preliminary settings of how you're going to set things.

There's a lot of good information. They've even got a MowerPlus app out there. I believe you've used that Tony, where you can utilize the MowerPlus app to map your path where you've been and where you mowed and keep track the direction that you mow.

Tony: Absolutely. I do use that MowerPlus app and I track how I mow my lawn and I go back and reference it to mow a different direction every time. Yes, I'm guilty. I use the MowerPlus app and it is pretty awesome.

Daniel: There's a lot of apps out there. I named a few, I'm sure I missed a few, but like I said, if you're looking for an app or wondering what's out there, the John Deere App Center is what you're going to want to search for and you can scroll through and see what Deere has to offer and see what you're interested in.

Tony: Like you said, Daniel, there are so many apps out there and they're so good in their own ways. I know that you mentioned the Go apps. Like GoTill, GoBale, GoHarvest. I really like those apps just for that basic information. Quick reference guides.

You talked about optimizing a Combine, you have some walk-through stuff on there. Those are very nice tools to be able to change, adjust, they got some maintenance stuff on there. I really like those Go apps. Then the Plus apps, like you said, it's a go app but it's on steroids. There's so many more tools within those Plus apps.

I want to dive in to the MyOperations app. This app of course ties with the operation center on a web-based platform. MyOperations is the mobile side of this. Why don't we dive into that, Daniel. Just give us a rundown on what is in the MyOperations app and what a customer can do with this mobile app, if they're utilizing the John Deere Operations Center.

Daniel: Yes, sure. The MyOperations app got a lot of nice features in there. When you download the app and you log in with your my John Deere account, it's going to jump in directly into your account and you got three main buttons across the bottom. You got a homepage, a map page, and an analyze page.

I'll start us off with the homepage. Your homepage is going to be like your activity, your progress center. It's a quick snapshot of what's happening on the farm, what's been completed on the farm and some quick details. What I mean by that is, for example, if I open up the app, which I did right now, I can jump right in and it shows me today which fields work has been done in. I can see two fields are currently been applied. It tells me that my North 40 has been 100% completed and my sprayer out there that's got a Gen 4 display in it, that's streaming data out. It tells me it's at about 30% completion already.

Quick plants, I can see what has been completed and how far along that progress is happening. It also tells me which equipment is currently active. I can see that I've got an ER and the sprayer currently both active out there in the field. That active equipment kind of a nice feature, customer calls in or a hired guy calls. They're having maybe a little bit of issue or need a little help through the screen.

One of the things we'll talk about is remote display access. If I want to access that piece of equipment, I open the app. Right there on the homepage you've got your active equipment and you can click on it, jump right in. Up across the top they've got a progress bar for the whole farm, seeding and harvest. If you got active boundaries around your fields in the operation center, it knows how many boundaried acres you have and you get a seeding progress and a harvest progress, showing on there. The homepage is just some quick insights, showing you your progress and what's going on for the day and what's been completed. You can scroll back in the timeline.

The other button that I said that we have is the map button. That map button is just an aerial view overshot of the farm. I can see all my equipment locations. I can see my fields boundaries. I can see flags that have been dropped out there in the field and everything just overlaid over a nice Google map. It's pretty easy to click on any one of those areas, such as a piece of equipment or a field, and be able to view that information. Our maps view, that's where we're going to be viewing our as applied or application maps. I can open it up. I can scroll in on the field I'm looking for, give that field a little tap and I'm able to see all the data that's stored for that field.

Looking at the account that I'm looking at, I can go back to 2013 seeding harvest application. You can pull up maps, say, you pull up your seeding map. You can view layers such as an as applied rate, your actual varieties, your target rate, your seeding speed, and view all that information. The flags are notified or are shown on here. If you flagged a few rocks or you flagged a tile line or whatever, you may be had flagged in the display and carried over the operation center, those flags also carry over into the MyOperations app.

Another nice feature of the MyOperations app is the ability to drop flags then from your mobile device. If I'm out scouting a field, I zoom in, I see something happening out in the field. Or I maybe want to find where did I switch my varieties, where's that line at in my field. I can click on that field, I can view my variety map, it shows me my location overlaid over that map. I can walk right to where I need to, say, you see something that stands out in the field that you want to be able to mark and take note of for later.

From the map portion of the MyOperations app, you can drop a flag, you can classify that flag such as weeds, rocks, give it some sort of classification. You can attach a note to that flag and you can also attach a photo to that flag to give you a visual of what it was that you were looking at out there. A lot of nice information can be viewed in that map’s portion of the app.

Tony: Before we jump into the next tab there, Daniel, you were talking about the analyze tab. I just got one question in that map tab. You talked about being able to view machine location. How does that work? Do we need JDLink or is it capable without JDLink? What can we do as far as seeing equipment in that manner?

Daniel: The equipment needs to have an MTG, a JDLink cell terminal in the piece of equipment, and needs to just have some level of subscription on it. We've got two subscription levels available. One of them is JDLink access, that's a free subscription that can be added to a cell terminal. That's going to allow you to view location of the equipment. It's going to allow remote access through your local John Deere dealer, that diagnose piece of equipment called diagnostic trouble codes, when you call in to be able to do some preliminary diagnostics before they head out to the field. They're able to remotely send a software and that also unlocks the remote display capability for you or your local dealer to help support you when you're having issues or need a little walkthrough on the display.

The second level would be your JDLink Connect subscription, and that JDLink Connect subscription is a paid subscription. That's what's going to unlock things like your wireless data transfer. If you got multiple machines out in the field doing the same job such as pair combines that unlocks your infield data sharing, or your shared coverage and guidance to share that information between the two pieces of equipment if you're running Machine Sync grain cart automation. Some of those advanced features, that's where that JDLink Connect subscription comes in. If you want to just be able to view location, location history, there is a free subscription, JDLink access that can be added.

Tony: Awesome. Let's go down to that next tab, now then the analyze tab. What can customers see if they go to analyze?

Daniel: The analyze tab, that's where it's really going to break down your data by field to give you some variety breakouts for seeding and harvest or product application. During harvest when a field has been completed and the data has been transferred, at quick glance you're able to see the harvested area, average moisture, average yield, total bushels, the harvesting date, total wet weights, average speed. You can see that on each individual field that's been completed when viewing them in the analyze app, or analyze portion.

There's two different ways to look at, you can look at a whole field level or there's a varieties tab under harvest that you can click on. That's going to group all the varieties together and you can see standout variety performance and be able to compare those varieties to each other and how they stacked up for you this season.

There's a lot of good information there, and it helps out even in just some easy situations. Say, you need some planting dates quick when you're trying to finish up some paperwork or some records. If you jump into MyOperations app, you click that analyze tab and choose 2019 corn seeding. I've got my full list of fields there. Like I said, one of the attributes it's going to tell me is my completion date. I've got all my completed seeding dates for my records and paperwork that I'm filling out. A lot of good information is listed out there and a lot of different ways that you can utilize it and view it.

Tony: Absolutely. Now I know there's one you were talking about earlier, before we started recording, there's one secret hidden gem within the MyOperations app that if a customer has an S700 Series Combine, there's a really neat feature involved with that. Tell our listeners a little bit about what they can do if they have an S700 Series Combine?

Daniel: When John Deere came with S700 Series, they also added the feature in the MyOperations app that we call remote view and adjust. An S700 Combine that's got a Gen 4 4600 command center on the armrest, through the MyOperations app you're able to remotely view the current combine settings, rotor speed, [unintelligible 00:15:04]chopper, fan speed, you can view what those settings currently are on that machine, and actually give you the ability to adjust those combine settings from the MyOperations app in your account. Say, you're the guy that's out behind the combine, scratching around on the ground a little bit, trying to determine losses in machine performance.

If there's something you see that you don't like, and you think that one of those adjustments could clear it up, out there scratching around, you pull out your phone, log into the app, and you can see that, we maybe forgot to open that chopper up a little bit or something. You make that adjustment, and you send it to the machine. The operator in the cab on the display gets a notification that says, “Hey, remote adjustments have been received. Here's your old settings. Here's the request new settings. Do you accept?" He accepts that request. Combine makes the adjustment and you're able to follow it along and see if that adjustment helped.

Maybe if you got an operator that's a little bit more on the inexperienced side, you can do some of those remote adjustments when you scratch around behind the machine. Or maybe you got two machines running in the field, you see something stand out in your sample in the tank and you make an adjustment you'd like to mimic that on the other machine. You can radio them and they can make the adjustment or you can remotely send it to them and save a little bit of operator stress if you wanted to.

Tony: Absolutely, Daniel. You touched on a very good point with the remote view and adjust whether it's an inexperienced operator or maybe you have a fleet of machines and you have a field manager or something like that. There's a lot of opportunity for the remote view and adjust. I got a question I'll ask here in a little bit regarding that remote view and adjust. Just hold on to that little piece.

When we talk about everything in the MyOperations app, whether it be the home button, everything we learned about what we can do in maps, or how we can analyze all of our data within this mobile app, I know you touched on a lot of features and benefits, but big picture, Daniel, how does this app benefit the customer?

Daniel: Big picture summary. This app allows you to monitor the day-to-day progress on the farm. Like I said before, as long as you've got active boundary set up in the operation center, it knows your fire makers, it's able to tell you percentage of completion of each task that's happening on that field. It allows you to track and store all that information to follow year-to-year what crop was planted at what rate and what was applied on to it.

Last year I had a split application trial or you tried something a little bit different last year. You can go back, see what it was, see if there was a standout. Then the analyze portion, like I said, you're able to analyze field by field, come harvest time seeding application, but come harvest time, you can analyze how the crop performed. You can break it down variety versus variety and see what you had for standouts and stuff. You got all that information right there in your pocket at your fingertips.

One thing I forgot to mention when we were talking about the maps portion, say, I get a phone call from one of my agronomy providers and they need a map. Because I'd like them to spray a field, I'd like them to go out and scout a field, there's something that I'd like them to do. If you just wanted to be able to share that information or share a report when you pull a map up in the maps portion of the MyOperations app, you can look at what you're looking for. There's a nice little share button right there.

I'm looking at an application map, I hit share, able to share that report via email, it'll send a PDF off. Rather than getting home and sitting down at your computer and opening your browser and logging in and finding that field, export and report and stuff, pull out your phone, log into the app, click on the field, hit share, it's sent. Sharing of the reports and information. They also made that very simple and seamless.

Tony: That sounds very user friendly. Just the accessibility of your data and your information to not have to go to that farm management software specific computer that sits in the office, in the shop, or whatever it may be. Getting that level of access right from your mobile device is super-efficient. Now, with all of these features and the benefits and what customers can do with this, whether it's the MyOperations app, it's the S700 Series remote view and adjust, that feature, or the operation center itself, the big question is, Daniel, what does all of this cost?

Daniel: Kind of a two-part question, the main answer to that, free. If you want to be able to store your data in the Operation Center and utilize MyOperations app and be able to view all of that information and all that feature and functionality is free to the user. When I say two-part, I touched on earlier with the JDLink Connect. If you wanted all this information to stream in wirelessly, if your machine doesn't have a current JDLink Connect subscription, there is a paid subscription in order to wirelessly transfer that data in. Speaking of the data transfer, there's a few different ways we can get it in there.

We've got the good old-fashion way of just plugging USB stick in and pulling that information off, exporting it, bringing it home to your desktop, your laptop, and manually loading it into the Operation Center. We have the mobile data transfer stick, wireless USB stick that can remote to your phone through the My Transfer app. Plug the stick in and export to the stick, you open up your app, your phone wirelessly pulls the information from that USB stick and shoots it to your account wirelessly. Or if you get the JDLink Connect subscription the wireless data transfer is going to work. For your subscription app, you can add the JDLink Connect. A lot of equipment had come from the factory with three years, and then starting in 2020 here, all 2020 and newer equipment is coming with five years standard from the factory of JDLink Connect for that wireless data transfer.

Tony: That's the awesome part. There are always a lot of good programs out there to add JDLink Connect to your machine, so don't be afraid to reach out to your local John Deere dealer and just ask them what's available for JDLink Connect.

Daniel: Since we're talking about the data and storing the data and moving it around, one thing I didn't touch on is what are we compatible with? Even your 2600 displays with the SD card in there, you're able to pull that card out and upload it. We're compatible with our 2600, 2630, all of our Gen 4 displays, but we're also compatible with the suite of other displays that are out there. We have compatibility with Ag leader displays, precision 2020 displays, or even Vipers the AFS pro 600, 700 Trimble displays. There's a pretty good suite of displays out there, so if you're not 100% green farm or you got a little bit different brand or technology out there, we still might have that solution that fits for you with the Operation Center.

Tony: That's a very good point and thank you for bringing that up because like you said, maybe you're not an all green, all John Deere equipment farm. Maybe you have a red combine or you mentioned precision planting. Maybe you have PP components on your planter or your bar. That is a very good point that we can get a lot of those third party displays. We can get that data into the John Deere operations center, so thank you for bringing that up.

With the work you do out there in our stores and what we refer to as Western North Dakota, but it's more central North Dakota, is there any sort of a success story that you'd like to share that you've come across to utilizing the MyOperations app?

Daniel: I guess I do have a story that stands out to me. Before I share the story, I guess one thing I will say as far as successes of the app and just in what I do as a support personnel dealership for MyOperations app, remote display access capability is amazing. I would struggle to find the best word to fit, but if I have a customer that calls me and they're having an issue with a machine, or they're just looking for help with a little bit of display setup or whatever it might be, I spend half of my day telling guys to go to menu GS3 GreenStarTM equipment and trying to walk them through that kind of stuff. To be able to visually see it on the display and help a customer walk through that makes it easier for me and a lot more stress free for you.

I've had some situations where I probably could have spent a half hour on the phone with the customer trying to figure out what's going on where you remote in. There's something you see on the display that they maybe didn't catch, or they didn't see and it stands out to you and you can resolve the issue right away. I had one this spring, customer pulled into the field with their planter, started planting and nothing was working. He called me and we're listening and going through a few diagnostic pages and trying to figure out why the variable rate drives weren't moving as my phone was getting remote displayed in.

As soon as I got in, I could see right there on the map top right corner of this tiny little circular pink circle and anybody that runs a John Deere display knows that little pink line that's a boundary. Somehow he ended up with a tiny exterior boundary out in the field with section control on, we were outside of that boundary so nothing would plant. He erased the boundary in a way he went, I don't know how much time I would have spent on the phone without being able to visually see that from where I was at. Saves us a lot of time in a lot of situations.

As far as a customer success story, like I said, I've got one that stands out to me. It was a customer that I was working with last fall. They've got an S790 Combine and they're out harvesting corn. The farmer wasn't out there in the field. He had somebody else operating it for him because they were shorthanded. He was a guy that doesn't normally work for him. They started corn harvest as the very first field farmers doing what he was doing and decided to check in on him, open up MyOperations app and what that S700 Series Combine today or currently that data is being packaged by the display and every time you push the unloading auger that triggers that data to wirelessly be sent out to your account so you're almost getting real-time information on each unload.

When he jumped into the app and he was able to see that the field was half or 60% completed and see the yield information and moisture information that was coming off the field while he wasn't there, but one thing that really stood out to him was, man, I thought that it would be a little bit better out there. He clicked through a few of the information layers that are available to him and one of them was harvest speed. He looked at that harvest speed map and he was not happy with what he's seen. He made the call, he had the conversation, guys, slow it down. They were getting a lot of shatter and header loss from the speed that was happening at harvest time.

He checked on it a little bit later and suddenly instead of red and yellow on the yield map, it was yellow and green and he felt a little bit happier about it and stuff. He was sharing this story with me while I was out there at the farm, post-harvest. We went into the house and we pulled up the Operation Center online on his desktop and he showed me the field and we were looking at yield map and he said, yes, you can see right there, there's the line where he slowed down, you can see the difference. In the Operation Center through the field analyzer beta, we were able to do some highlight the separate parts of the field, do some sub field analysis, and separate the highest speed from the low speed and see what the difference was.

Actually, our difference in that case, in the speed that he was running, we actually seen just a little bit over a 26 bushel difference. That field, they had harvested 144 acres at a high speed before he got the phone call and then there's about 70 acres left of the field that was harvested at a slower speed. When we compared two-thirds of the field to one-third of the field, there is a 26 bushel difference that happened there. There was some loss, but we were able to stop that loss and get some savings just by him being able to have that near real-time access to that information right there on his mobile device, in his pocket and monitoring what's happening when he can't be there.

Tony: With both of those stories, the customer facing story, as well as the internal John Deere dealership story, there's definitely things to be said about efficiency and productivity there. That is awesome to hear how the customer saw value in that. Now, if somebody wants to learn more about the MyOperations app or even the Operation Center, where can they go? Who can they talk to?

Daniel: Obviously, you can contact your local RDO Equipment or your local John Deere dealer, and they'd be happy to share any sort of information and help get you started. If you're one of those guys that you're maybe not collecting or you're maybe not storing this information or utilizing it, but you've been collecting it, your local John Deere dealer they're going to gladly help you out to get started in the Operation Center. If you're looking for, maybe you're in there and you're just looking for, how do I use this feature? What features are there? How do I use this tool? John Deere has got some great videos out there on their YouTube channel.

If you want to start utilizing the MyOperations app and you're wondering where to get started, start with downloading it, find that John Deere app center in the store, download the MyOperations app from the John Deere app center. Once you get logged in using your MyJohnDeere account, they got a nice little customer support section right there in the app menu. They've got a frequently asked questions portion. There is some help documentation in there to help you out and show you what does this and what does that.

They also have a really nice what's new feature, so every time they send out new updates to the app, there's a what's new feature in there so you can go right into the app, see what's new, see what they've added and what functionality updates there are. All that will help you on how to utilize the app, but say you're in there, you're getting good with it, you're navigating around and you like what you see, but maybe there's just a little something missing. Maybe there's a feature that you think could really benefit you or something that would help you out. Under that tools portion of the app they have a submit feedback button right there in the app. You click on it. Submit your feedback and send it off. I'm here to tell you Deere does monitor the submit feedback button. When they receive that feedback, they do have a team that's reviewing it, and they've got their tree of priority. If they see something occurring a little more often, they might adjust priority to it, but if there's something missing and there's something you want to see added to the app, utilize that submit feed button. Deere's watching and Deere's listening.

Tony: I just want to thank you, Daniel, for taking the time to sit down with me today and talk a little bit about the MyOperations app. There's so much more we could talk about, but in this timeframe of our podcast we're going to leave that there. If you have any other questions, like Daniel said, reach out to your local RDO store, local John Deere dealership, and they can help you. Thanks again for sitting down and doing this, Daniel.

Daniel: Thanks for having me, Tony.

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