Revolutions in Grow Tech: A Smart Grow System
Today’s technology gives growers more control than ever before. Check out how smart devices and integrated equipment can help maximize yields.
Growers are looking at a major shift in growing technology, one that integrates equipment into the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning end-users benefit by having a greater degree of control over equipment in their grow tent. Products using the IoT have unique capabilities: because connected items on the IoT are able to “communicate” with one another, meaning a fan and a light have access to each other’s data and (usually through a controller) they can react to environmental changes in tandem. The IoT shows how far technology has come and this is best exemplified by VIVOSUN’s Smart Grow System, which is comprised of several smart products that communicate and synthesize together to allow growers to more easily control a grow environment.
What is a “Smart System”
A smart system is a name for products that are “connected” to the IoT—a system created by building products with computer chips allowing those products to communicate with each other and can even be altered. Think of an incandescent (or more likely LED) house light: those with built-in computer chips can be dimmed, scheduled to turn on or off according to a calendar, or even programmed to show colors. Similar to this, LED grow lights connected to the IoT do the same thing: growers can design on and off times, they can program spectrum ranges, they can dim or intensify the brightness, and they can create reactions between the light and the environment. A smart system therefore implies a higher degree of interaction between the equipment and the environment: equipment should be responsive, adjustable, and even automatic. By connecting equipment to the IoT, growers even have control over each individual component in their tent through an app, which gives greater degrees of controllability and monitoring.
The App Potential
Advancements in growing equipment, while substantial in the realms of lighting (LEDs, for example, have completely changed the idea of what a grower should be able to do), have generally lagged behind other industries. While other industries have digitized and transitioned their data online, growers continue to rely on pencil and paper and analog timers for measuring and controlling equipment. Yet, the grow equipment industry is due for a technological revolution—through app integration—that would bring it on par with other industries. What makes pairing equipment with an app so exciting is the amount of control growers will have: photoperiods, light intensity, spectrum, fan speed and air volume, circulation, on and off times, and automatic programming that matches each stage of plant growth are all possible through an app. Obviously, without a digital controller to navigate these various programs, growers would have to rely on individual devices like dimmers and analog timers. But synthesizing all equipment to a unified platform solves not only being able to adjust components, but also allows them to work together — like smart lights in your house turning on alongside your coffeemaker at 6 a.m., a smart LED controlled through an app turns on automatically, matching the spectrum and intensity to the stage of growth; alongside it, a fan turns on, mimicking natural airflow at first and slowly speeding up throughout the day to ensure proper ventilation. It is automatic, it is reliable, and it is programmable.
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This is what is so exciting about using an app to control equipment; any specific, minute settings become possible and can be designed based upon data that is collected by equipment and collated by an app. A powerful app should be a tool to record and plan all necessary activities related to growing: watering, feeding, any observations, and equipment operation over a set period can be viewed in a simple-to-read calendar and journal that reduces the complexities of recording information. It should have the functionality of a calendar app, should be able to display relevant data in graphics and charts, and should be easy enough to use so anyone can read and implement their own specified parameters if they decide to do so.
Further, apps have the ability to send alerts to the connected phone if a preset parameter is exceeded. For example, if humidity levels rise above preset levels, an app can send an alert to through the phone while simultaneously beginning to operate equipment that would reduce humidity levels within the parameters. These parameters can be defined by growers, which is a powerful tool for professionals, or they can be predetermined by professionals or standard growing practice. Automation can be done through all stages of growth, too, programmed based upon age. Of course, growers can alter this according to their own specific growing requirements. That alone revolutionizes how growers will approach their hobby or business, but the ability to make minor adjustments through an app truly creates a unique platform for professionals to take their operations to a new level without spending extra time in their grow space.
Overall, smart systems are set to dominate the industry and are situated to be a crucial part of the new generation of growing equipment. This equipment is, most of the time, able to integrate multiple brands on a single platform so growers can use it with existing equipment. What is so exciting about this new technology is that it is set to push other manufacturers to keep pace, meaning consumers will benefit from new innovations that will continue to improve accessibility, ease of use, and ultimately yields.
Founded in California, VIVOSUN is a leading manufacturer of indoor horticultural equipment, supplying growers around the world with the highest quality equipment to start their own indoor gardens. VIVOSUN is for grow-it yourself who want to grow what they love. They demand the highest quality experience that makes growing their own easy no matter what their skill level. Together, we create a better growing culture. To learn more, email [email protected], or visit vivosun.com.