How can remote vehicle software updates (OTA) be a revenue generator for innovative agricultural machinery manufacturers?

With farming, it’s no surprise that time equals money. It’s a valuable commodity, considering your yield greatly depends on when you plant your crops. In an industry where timing is crucial, increasing productivity while minimizing vehicle downtime is key.

With farming, it’s no surprise that time equals money. It’s a valuable commodity, considering your yield greatly depends on when you plant your crops. In an industry where timing is crucial, increasing productivity while minimizing vehicle downtime is key.

Like many industries, the agriculture sector is facing a significant transformation driven by new technologies, and farmers and agricultural businesses must be strategic in how they leverage these technologies to suit their farm’s unique needs. In particular, data analytics and cloud technologies are expanding as farmers continue to focus on efficiency. The use of more Smart Farming technologies, such as over-the-air (OTA) software updates, is vital to improving a farm’s financial performance and yield.

OTA is a reliable, convenient, secure and economical way to update vehicle software, enabling connected agricultural vehicle manufacturers to greatly reduce equipment downtime, maintenance and overall operational costs. HARMAN OTA offers an encompassing solution for ag tech manufacturers to upgrade their agriculture vehicles remotely at any point in the product lifecycle. With Wi-Fi, cellular, or satellite data connection (and if neither, USB) the system can securely receive key updates, such as amended software and firmware versions, and install them across the various electronic components present on vehicle. The cloud-based method avoids frustrating recalls, software flash bottlenecks, and downtime from field work, making HARMAN OTA a breakthrough solution for developers, suppliers, and owners alike.

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“The importance of data analytics and cloud technologies is growing in the agriculture industry as farmers focus on increasing productivity by minimizing vehicle downtime. OTA solutions are proven to greatly reduce equipment downtime as well as maintenance costs with remote software updates and configuration.”

Michal Geva
General Manager, OTA and Cybersecurity
HARMAN International

You might be wondering, “how does it work?” The backend server communicates to targeted ag vehicles through a secure content delivery network (CDN). Within the remote server, a wide range of device repositories and services can be stored (flash packages, device settings modules, profiles and more) providing the OEM’s developer a workspace for all software updates. 

With OTA, flexibility is paramount. The server works with full software catalogs to interact across many different tractor models and component types. Depending on the target update, the OEM’s Operations Team or Fleet Manager from the local operator can send data to entire vehicle operating systems or to specific parts like electronic control units and telematic control units (ECUs and TCUs). In this respect, the OEM can futureproof their products, ensuring they do not become obsolete as ag workflows advance. 

HARMAN OTA (Over-the-Air) Solution

HARMAN OTA enables enables automakers and Tier-1 suppliers to adapt to an evolving market landscape by securely managing all in-vehicle software components, including firmware, applications, configurations, settings, and maps.
HARMAN OTA (Over-the-Air) Solution

OTA poses a turnkey solution for all stages of the vehicle lifecycle. OEMs can utilize automated testing cycles and integrate new product features more flexibly before bringing the product to market. During assembly and delivery stages, updates and patches via OTA prevents bottle-necking flashes and forking production lines that delay delivery to distributors. (The same applies to distributors while ag vehicles are in their stock, and they avoid delivery delays to the customer). When the vehicles are in the end-user’s possession, the product can undergo regular, incremental, seamless updates and remote maintenance, avoiding downtime from fieldwork and crop maintenance. This stage is an opportunity for new billable service options and business models, such as vehicle-as-a-service.

The agriculture technology market is seeing quick developments as farmers and innovative equipment manufacturers are finding new ways to optimize operations. HARMAN OTA provides OEMs a versatile and powerful end-to-end solution ahead of the innovation curve without upending the existing hardware and engineering infrastructure, minimizing costs and downtime of productivity in the production line as well as in the field.

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