John Deere wins in FCC CBRS auction to deploy 5G in manufacturing facilities

Nov. 18, 2020
Advanced connectivity enables Deere to fully embrace the IoT and revolutionize productivity in its factory settings.

John Deere (NYSE: DE) announced that it has successfully obtained 5G licenses in five counties in Iowa and Illinois as part of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) 3.5 GHz spectrum allocation.

The spectrum win will enable John Deere to accelerate the availability of 5G in its largest manufacturing facilities in North America, the company says. 

"John Deere has always focused on how to empower customers to do more with less by using technology, and our focus on tech goes way beyond the fields. It impacts everything single aspect of our business, and we're constantly looking at ways to improve our own efficiencies and outcomes with it," commented Jahmy Hindman, Chief Technology Officer for John Deere. "Implementing 5G in our manufacturing facilities allows John Deere to make significant progress in our smart industrial strategy by turning factories into smart and connected manufacturing facilities – a critical piece of the industrial IoT." 

As noted by a company statement announcing the spectrum auction win: 

Rural counties are often left behind in the race to implement broadband – even though is necessary to process large quantities of data and enable advances in smart manufacturing, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and other breakthrough technologies in these areas. By obtaining these licenses, John Deere will boost its wireless networks by providing access to 5G in its manufacturing facilities. 
John Deere's manufacturing facilities are extraordinarily complex environments that rely on automation and connectivity. With miles of embedded Ethernet cables connecting Wi-Fi drop points currently in factory ceilings, the facilities are faced with limited flexibility for set up and upgrades. 5G enables private LTE networks and will allow John Deere to design a more flexible, nimble and connected facility, creating opportunity for further advancement and greater efficiency that will transform the manufacturing process. 
Private 5G LTE also creates the opportunity to expand factory capabilities leveraging edge computing, analytics, and autonomous devices, and empowers a larger set of smart applications like real-time location systems, asset tracking, inventory management, wearables, building automation, and robotics for operational cost savings.  

John Deere said it will implement 5G at its manufacturing facilities in the following counties: Rock Island, Illinois; Scott County, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa; Polk County, Iowa; Black Hawk County, Iowa. The rollout is set to occur during fiscal year 2022.

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