Until recently, when asked if IoT sensors and solutions were ready for commerical greenhouses, my answer would have been: “no.” The surprise is that with the expanding use of commercial greenhouses there is also an increased demand for better technology to monitor and measure these controlled growing environments.
IoT to the rescue, right!. But wireless IoT sensors are not as popular as you’d expect.
Greenhouses can be challenging environments for battery operated wireless sensors. Depending on the desired conditions, greenhouses may have high levels of humidity and may experience sustained high temperatures than can damage a sensor not designed for that environment. Sensors must also be sufficiently hardened to survive watering and spraying and the flurry of activity (both human and machine) that goes on inside a greenhouse on a regular basis.
In visiting with customers, I've found that growers are starved for information that a properly deployed wireless sensor network could provide.
Here at Procurant, we have worked with our manufacturing partners to source IoT devices that are built to succeed in the greenhouse. Our field product testing has clearly demonstrated that yes, IoT is finally ready for prime time. Ruggedized sensor enclosures ensure that they are not affected by exposure to condensation and temperature extremes. Battery optimization technology ensures that a sensor can last for years before needing a battery replacement. And, costs are now low enough to justify a network of sensors as standard equipment for any controlled growing environment.
A growing list of sensor types, including temperature, humidity, CO2, light levels and power consumption allows a grower to monitor any critical condition in the operation. These sensors can be installed in conjunction with, or independent of, any automation or control system. They come at a much lower price point and don’t require an electrician to install which allows a grower to get more specific information about the grow conditions within a facility. Real-time notifications and powerful analytics tools equip a farm with a dashboard view of the overall health of a crop.
It’s finally time to look at wireless IoT sensor technology for monitoring controlled environment agriculture.
Procurant is transforming the global food supply chain with technology to reduce waste, increase visibility, improve food safety and digitize business from production to consumption. The company was founded by industry veterans with decades of experience delivering solutions to growers, shippers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators.