Wabash Heartland Innovation Network - Advancing Agriculture and Manufacturing via IoT

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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network - Advancing Agriculture and Manufacturing via IoT
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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network
Team Organizations Indiana Exchange Carriers Association
Indiana Small & Rural Schools Association
Tipmont REMC
Carroll White REMC
Yeoman Telephone Co.
Purdue’s IT Infrastructure Services
Accent Consulting
Watch Communications
Purdue University
Ivy Tech Community College
Team Leaders Johnny Park
Participating Municipalities Benton IN
Carroll IN
Cass IN
Clinton IN
Fountain IN
Montgomery IN
Pulaski IN
Tippecanoe IN
Warren IN
White IN
Status Launched
Document None


The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) is a consortium of 10 counties in north-central Indiana, funded by the Lilly Endowment, devoted to working together to fuel prosperity by harnessing the power of internet-enabled sensors to develop our region into a global epicenter of digital agricultural and next-generation manufacturing.


The Wabash Heartland region, mostly rural, is faced with 2 major challenges: workforce and quality of place


WHIN seeks to make the Wabash Heartland a synergistic 10-county ecosystem that fuels prosperity through the application of real-world IoT solutions to advance the region’s high-tech agriculture and next-generation manufacturing sectors.

Major Requirements

  • Develop agricultural and manufacturing testbeds to help agriculture producers and manufacturing companies throughout the region see IoT platforms in action
  • Engage agriculture producers/businesses in the region and develop career-ready certificates, digital-readiness trainings, and agriculture IoT test-beds
  • Enable real-time analytics of manufacturing systems, develop workforce education opportunities, and IoT manufacturing test-beds
  • Invest in innovative place-making projects that increase education, vitality, and connectivity, job-readiness, and educational opportunities

Performance Targets

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Measurement Methods
  • Gross Regional Product annual growth
  • Job growth compared to US average
  • IoT technology adoption rate in ag and mfg operations
  • Number of student projects and internships with local businesses
  • Mfg and ag industry-recognized credentials

We will evaluate the project annually via an advisory board and participant surveys.

Standards, Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability

We will create WHIN Ag/Mfg Alliance, a collection of affiliated ag/mfg businesses receiving products and services designed to support and encourage their adoption of internet-enabled technologies in order to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and optimize their operations. Membership fees will help sustainability.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

WHIN will work with ag/mfg businesses to deploy IoT devices and store IoT data. This presents a set of challenges with respect to Cybersecurity and Privacy. In terms of Privacy, WHIN will develop various levels of anonymization of the data to protect not only customer identifiable data, but also data that is deemed as 'Company Private' and not to be shared with competitors, etc. In terms of Cybersecurity, edge IoT devices should use a secure means of communications, such as SSL, to send data to WHIN servers. WHIN servers themselves will need to have various security processes in place with respect to authentication, change management, traceability of changes, virus scanning, intrusion detection, external vulnerability scanning, application of server security updates. Where applicable, encryption at rest may be employed to further protect sensitive data. A permission/Access Control List system will be created that allows the owner to authorize which entities can access their data. For instance, a grower may allow Purdue & WHIN to have access to their data, but prefer that a 3rd party broker not have access. In addition to the above, devices and software will be evaluated with the cooperation/collaboration of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue


We believe the advancement of IoT in agriculture and manufacturing will make the region more competitive while providing environmental benefits through optimized input selection. The ecosystem of hardware and software development on top of the agricultural production and processing of the region will be stronger as a result of demonstrated applications and improved connectivity. Ultimately, we will build a regional ecosystem that that empowers globally competitive businesses to plant and grow in Wabash Heartland.


We will share an overview of the WHIN initiatives: Digital Agriculture, Next-Generation Manufacturing and Regional Cultivation Fund. We will then share early progress and lessons learned specifically on Regional Cultivation Fund – $10M grant initiative to spur innovative and visionary quality-of-place projects in the region.