How are licensed Cannabis growers using IoT in Greenhouses today?
Before we jump into this article let’s first define some terms that may be new to you:
IoT: The Internet of Things:
The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated computing devices, sensors and digital that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data in real time over a network without requiring any human interaction.
A smart greenhouse is a revolution in agriculture, creating a self-regulating, internal climate suitable for plant growth through the use of sensors, motors, and monitoring and control systems that optimize growth conditions and automate the growing process with the use of computer software.
What is the future of agriculture using IoT and can we perfectly tune greenhouse crops to produce the best results?
To answer the first question, I will use a quote that my Dad repeated to me over the course of my life, at least thousands of times…
The Future is Automation!
By using IoT, greenhouse controls and computer software we can perfectly create the best growing environments for all crops with the help of a greenhouse control and monitoring system.
Wireless Mesh Networks, Sensors and the Automated Greenhouse
You may be asking yourself, how does all this IoT smart greenhouse work? Well, we start with temperature and humidity sensors that “reads” the greenhouse environment. This collected data is then processed by the climate control computer.
Grower High/Low set-points are programmed into the greenhouse automation software and if growing conditions get out of range the remote monitoring systems will trigger any necessary action needed to balance out the greenhouse again.
Data-Driven Greenhouse Growing
Let’s take a simple example, a temperature sensor in Zone 1 reads a low alarm as there is too much cold air in that section of the greenhouse operation. The software automatically triggers the boiler to turn on the heat to recover the zone temperature.
This type of real-time greenhouse monitoring and control produces optimal growing environments year-round.
This means true peace of mind for growers and greenhouse owners, as they no longer have to worry about manually correcting, heating, cooling, ventilation, misting, shading or lighting control. Environmental greenhouse temperature control can bring your greenhouse into the future, today. Here is a short video explaining how we use IoT for greenhouse automation.
That leaves another question on the table though, What about irrigation?
Which brings me to my next point…
What is the Best Smart Irrigation System?
A climate control system is just the start of the smart IoT greenhouse. What if you want to schedule out irrigation during the day, monitor soil moisture and create feed batches with different fertilizer recipes.
We got you, growing can be hard if all these things are left to manual labor. All of your irrigation needs can be set up with remote monitoring for your crops.
Our controllers are so advanced that they can provide much need water to your crop by monitoring how dry your growing medium is or even the solar levels inside the greenhouse.
Climate Control Systems has produced The Fertigation Manager as a solution for any industrial greenhouse in need of smart controls and irrigation scheduling software to ensure your crop is fed what it needs, when it needs it.
All growers agree, irrigation controllers and remote access to growing data is the cornerstone of a successful crop.
What is a Wireless Mesh Network?
A wireless mesh network can provide 100% uptime from sensors and controls by Mesh eliminating any dead zones in the greenhouse. Each wireless device or node can be a source of data transmission to any other access point in the wireless network.
Essentially if one node losses signal the other device can send the data to the controllers to ensure that the system is always working properly.
Mesh networks have been growing in popularity in both home WiFi networks as well as in industrial greenhouse applications to provide the best remote access to controls and your growing data.
Where is the Future of Greenhouse Growing Headed?
Greenhouse environmental controls and products have been around for some time now. In fact, Wikipedia says, “The idea of growing plants in environmentally controlled areas has existed since Roman times.” and that…
“Many commercial glass greenhouses or hothouses are high tech production facilities for vegetables , flowers or fruits. The greenhouses are filled with sensors and equipment including shading, heating, cooling, lighting, and may be controlled by a computer to optimize conditions for plant growth.”
“Different techniques are then used to evaluate optimality-degrees and comfort ratio of greenhouse micro-climate (i.e., air temperature, relative humidity, and vapor pressure deficit) in order to reduce production risk prior to cultivation of a specific crop.”
Greenhouse growing has advanced since the days of Roman times, but future now lies in processing large sets of growing data. Most people can’t do a search on the internet today without reading something about machine learning or AI (Artificial Intelligence).
AI Cloud Processing
Because machine learning and AI takes lots of computation or processing power, large sets of data (Big Data) is sent to the cloud to be processed with AI chips or large servers for machine learning.
Our partner Opto22 is working with AI Engineers currently to provide the benefits of machine learning for greenhouse applications and better growing.
The data from all control systems can be sent to a cloud for processing, where AI computers can start to find patterns, and solutions to growing a better crop. Whether that be finding the best times to turn on a greenhouse temperature controller or optimizing your greenhouse crop feed. AI is an exciting new area for what is being called, “The next industrial evolution”.
One thing is for sure, Climate Controls Systems will continue to be your partner in helping to establish the best in innovation and greenhouse automation for years to come. If you have a project or grow operation in works reach out to one of our engineers here.