John Deere hosted its 6th annual Develop with Deere Conference, designed to bring dealers, connected software companies and ag service providers together to share ideas and learn about new and evolving digital tools and apps available to benefit agriculture. This year's conference, held in Chicago, attracted nearly 600 attendees from around the globe and was the largest gathering since the conference expanded to its current format in 2014.
Kayla Reynolds, digital business development manager for the John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG), explained that in addition to more than 250 dealer personnel from nearly 152 John Deere dealerships from across North America, nearly 80 different software companies also attended the conference, with 34 delivering product demonstrations.
"Every day, Deere invests significant resources into our API platform – the John Deere Operations Center – in the form of tools and apps that solve problems and bring value to our customers," said Reynolds. "One of the best ways we've found to do that is to bring connected software companies, our dealers and ag service providers together to explore new opportunities to collaborate, and to share ideas and information that will hopefully result in new digital tools and applications that will help farmers farm even better."
Reynolds noted that this year's Develop with Deere conference included a new business track of learning sessions for connected software company personnel, along with the technical and demonstration track sessions already offered. In addition, the conference provided software developers with more opportunities to talk with dealers about digital solutions and needs, and featured an expanded trade show area with 34 software companies demonstrating their products.
Pete Kasap, API solutions owner for John Deere ISG, said the addition of ag service providers to the conference, along with more dealers and software companies, brings all the important players in production ag together to find new ways to help everyone work more effectively together in this constantly evolving digital ag ecosystem.
"With more than 100 connected software tools available in the John Deere Operations Center, dealers are asking for more help in understanding how to better use all the new technology as more applications become available," Kasap explained. "The Develop with Deere Conference is a great way to connect all those key players together and provide that information in a way that benefits everyone."
While the conference has gone from fewer than 100 attendees six years ago to nearly 600 this year, Kasap believes that based on feedback from the dealers who attended, there's potential to attract more dealership business and management personnel to the conference. "The breadth and depth of knowledge now available at this conference has increased tremendously over the last few years, and there's greater opportunity for more dealers, software companies and service providers to participate and add value. It will be exciting to see what the next conference brings," he added.