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Growing cherry tomatoes remotely


Together with Delphy and Wageningen University, 30MHz will be participating in the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge this year as part of team Automators. The challenge is to grow a cherry tomato crop remotely in 6 months’ time. The tomatoes will not only be judged by their looks, but also by their taste.

We’re competing against 4 other teams that remained after the ‘pre-challenge’ in September, a 24-hour hackathon in which 21 international teams took part. From December onwards, WUR is giving us access to a greenhouse in Bleiswijk to start growing our cherry tomatoes remotely, with our own specially developed algorithms. During the first week of the challenge we’ll get one-time access to the greenhouse to install sensors, cameras and other equipment. After that, the doors will be locked for all candidates for 6 months.

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De Automators in action during the pre-challenge

The cherry tomatoes should not only grow and flourish, but they also have to taste good. In order to influence taste and structure, we can adjust the nutrient composition and the EC. Next to that, we’ll have to think about crop specific aspects, such as how are we going to prune the cherry tomatoes? Which LED-spectrum will we use? There will be LED and SON-T lamps available at the greenhouse. The LED lights can be dimmed, switched off, or the whole lamp spectrum can be changed. There’s a lot to control and finetune.

You might be thinking, is it really possible to grow a cherry tomato crop remotely? Well, not 100%. There will be people present at the greenhouse who will take care of, for example, leaf picking and harvesting. We won’t be using robots for that. However, it’s important to note that these people can only do what the team instructs them to do. The team can send them instructions via a special app. So they can’t intervene on their own initiative, even when they see the crop is not doing well.

The goal of the challenge is to stimulate new developments and innovations in digital technologies for horticulture. Next to that, it also offers new insights into crop cultivation. There will be a control group of growers from the area, who will keep a close eye on the crops and the growing techniques that are being used. They can benefit from the crop information and learnings about data management and the use of digital tools, as they are able to apply them in their daily work. We’re very happy to see this growing collaboration between various disciplines. It creates synergy, which will help us further ensure a future-proof horticultural sector.

More information: www.autonomousgreenhouses.com

Silos are for grain, not data


We make technology for agribusiness. And we’re as serious about the “agri” as we are about the “business,” because they’re inextricably linked. By providing technology to horticulture, we’re helping our customers orchestrate and balance nature, technology and the flow of information. Data-driven approaches to all aspects of growing crops, from cultivation to sustainability or pest management are crucial to the business aspect of agribusiness. Efforts to optimise resources, change strategy or adopt new technologies all have to make sense to the bottom line. They have to be a smart investment.

Speaking to our customers, partners, and the experts in our network, we see just how many factors can affect the success of an agribusiness. But it’s a sector that experiments, and discovers new links all the time. That makes sense— agriculture is, after all, science.

As such, it relies on the ability to explore information, and bring various sources of information together. As a platform, ZENSIE was built to make it easy for agribusinesses to integrate data, and augment decision-making with real-time insights straight from crops. Because it’s built with integration in mind, the agribusiness’ tech ecosystem can keep up with emerging agtech as well as evolving business needs.

From traceability to climate control, we’ve already seen a few powerful ZENSIE integrations, but it’s time to highlight yet another: augmented yield prediction. Growers tell us that forecasting is crucial: time is of the essence, and accuracy impacts business relationships, as well as the bottom line. Fresh4Cast uses artificial intelligence to improve productivity, increase margins and reduce waste for produce growers with accurate crop forecasting. Integrating data from 30MHz supercharges that yield prediction with real-time granular, crop-level insights.

Your AI’s only as good as your data

Fresh4Cast develops cutting-edge forecasting algorithms based on the data available to growers. But even the best algorithms are only as good as the data they’ve been fed. 30MHz is a source of highly relevant, accurate data, gathered remotely and continuously. By improving the quality of their data, agribusinesses can increase the impact of yield forecasting algorithms, thus helping optimise productivity and efficiency from cultivation to sales, and everywhere in between. Here’s how we’ve seen agribusinesses can benefit.

Gathering data is expensive (or, it used to be)

When it comes to data for AI, it’s about quantity as well as quality. The more data available to the algorithm, the ‘better trained’ it is. With 30MHz, wireless data capture (via sensors) is accurate and continuous. It’s also significantly less expensive than sending a team out with handheld devices to capture and monitor VWC, EC or pH. Plus, there’s no process of writing data down, transferring to a spreadsheet, paper file or local computer. Data is captured instantaneously, without the risk of human error, while human efforts can be concentrated on more value adding, and rewarding tasks. 30MHz significantly lowers the cost of data acquisition (collection and transfer), making it possible— and financially responsible— to collect more data points, and do so more frequently.

More accurate than manual collection

Let’s consider the following scenario: a grower pays an employee to measure 30 different compartments with a handheld sensor over a 9 month period. Let’s assume it takes 4 hours a day to collect a total of 60 data points, which then need time to be transferred. Let’s also assume a £10 an hour labour cost in UK. The cost is around 50p per metric. This can be prohibitively expensive for an agribusiness. But the cost of data acquisition doesn’t need to be so high. A 30MHz pointed microclimate sensor lowers the costs for data collection (and transfer and storage!) by over 98%.

Not only does measurement with the wireless sensor make data capture more frequent, accurate and consistent (a sensor can remain in one fixed location for however long is needed), agribusinesses have much more flexibility in where they monitor— even in difficult to reach places.

More powerful than data-logging

One soft fruit grower in our community deploys data loggers at each of several locations around the Kent area to better understand historical environmental conditions. While data loggers are an improvement on visual inspection or relying on weather data. But data logging is still significantly more work intensive, and less accurate or consistent than working with 30MHz tech.

At this particular customer, 4 people manage the deployment of data loggers. It takes about 2-3 hours to download data into a spreadsheet, clean the data of irrelevant data points (like measurements in transit.) That data is then manually transferred into another spreadsheet with a yield model.

It could take one individual around 2 days to complete these tasks, plus half a day transferring and augmenting data— including further potential delays in passing the information to sales. These time lags compromise data accuracy, and limit the impact of the model. Not to mention the cost of data acquisition. Data loggers are a step in making agriculture digital, but wireless sensor monitoring truly lowers the costs of acquiring data while improving precision, and the continuity of the feedback loop.

With ZENSIE, frequency of data collection actually increases savings.

Silos are for grain, not data

When data is siloed and difficult to analyse together, motivation for data-driven decision-making can suffer. One customer within our network has 5 greenhouses, each with a climate computer. Every week, an employee downloads the data from Priva into a dedicated report. This is then transferred manually into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet generates analytics for the group for yield prediction, cultivation benchmarking and comparison purposes. Because manually transferring data is costly and time consuming, only certain metics like average temperature and daily CO2 measurements are transferred. This risks key insights falling through the cracks. And because the spreadsheet slows with each data point added, there’s little practical incentive for data contribution. With a platform like ZENSIE, data is stored in the cloud (as opposed to a local computer) and does not require manual transfer. The ZENSIE API makes it easy to connect new data sources and technologies, augmenting the power of each data set.

UK growers: let’s discuss

Besides being accurate and consistent, to truly aid in decision-making, data needs to be captured, stored and interacted with efficiently, easily— and without excessive cost. 30MHz will be joining Fresh4Cast at the London Produce Show on June 5-7. Join us for a chat, let’s discuss how quality crop data can increase value across your agribusiness, including in the essential task of yield prediction.

30MHz and Hort Americas join forces to bring smart sensing to North American growers


Leading commercial horticultural suppliers Hort Americas, and smart sensing technology providers 30MHz are pleased to announce that they’ve partnered to bring the power of real-time, crop-level monitoring to growers across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico. Hort Americas is the first North American distributor of 30MHz technology.

The data platform for horti- and agriculture

30MHz provides agribusinesses with everything they need to start monitoring their crops and growing environment accurately and in real-time, with just minutes of setup. Customers choose from a variety of sensors sourced and developed with growers and agricultural research institutions (capturing metrics including VPD, dewpoint, temperature, humidity, soil moisture and airflow.) 30MHz also provides a private, scalable mesh network (with the option to easily add more sensors at any time) and an intuitive analytics platform with real-time alerts, visualizations, heatmaps, charts and graphs accessible on any device. 

With 30MHz technology, customers can deploy a wireless sensor network themselves, without technical expertise. Sensors arrive preconfigured— customers simply connect their gateway to a power supply and ethernet, and log into the platform to immediately start measuring.

Built to help agribusinesses of all sizes harness the full power of their environmental data, the 30MHz platform makes crop metrics accessible, shareable and actionable without the burden of juggling multiple interfaces. Real-time sensor data can be viewed alongside data from other sources, including climate control systems, shelf quality control and traceability monitoring and root zone monitoring software.

Empowering agribusinesses across the chain

The scalable and modular nature of 30MHz tech makes it a fit for growers of all sizes across agricultural verticals. With over 150 customers across five continents, 30MHz serves agribusinesses from farm to fork, in greenhouse, vertical (hydroponic and aeroponic), arable, ornamental, cold store, processing, packing, transport, retail and livestock. Based in Bedford, Texas, Hort Americas partners with leading suppliers of commercial horticultural products from around to world in order to serve the North American professional greenhouse and indoor ag grower community with the latest technologically advanced products from around the world. Hort Americas’ breadth of expertise across horticulture makes the company ideally positioned to bring the Dutch-founded 30MHz further into the North American market.

“We’ve seen the hunger for actionable data among North American growers— they’re constantly looking to innovate and make the most of their resources. But they don’t have time for overly complex systems that silo their data and take forever to get off the ground. Hort Americas understand the specific challenges and needs of North American agriculture, and how to translate Dutch agri-innovation into efficiency and productivity in local contexts” notes Director of Customer Affairs Cor Jan Holwerda.

“Hort Americas continues to look for cutting edge technology that solves problems and provides answers to the questions our grower partners are asking us.  With believe that 30MHz’s product portfolio does just that,” adds founder and general manager Chris Higgins.

Saint-Gobain Cultilene and 30MHz sign agritech partnership


New online dashboard gives growers granular real-time insights into root environment

Cultilene, supplier of rockwool-substrate solutions and high-quality diffuse glass, has joined forces with smart sensing technology provider 30MHz to give growers more insights into the root environment of crops. Using real-time sensory data, Cultilene can now offer agronomists an additional tool to optimise their irrigation- and EC management, taking production and crop quality to the next level. The two companies signed the partnership agreement on March 1st 2018. The dashboard, which was designed for ease of use, is currently being tested by a Dutch tomato grower, and will be made available later this year.

The online dashboard was developed to help Cultilene drive growers’ success beyond offering the best substrate solutions for contemporary horticulture. The company wants to support growers in optimising their growing strategy, and recognizes that maintaining a healthy root environment —which affects water and nutrition absorption— is crucial to this success. Cultilene recommends continuously monitoring five key metrics (“the Big Five”) during cultivation: soil moisture level, EC, pH, oxygen and temperature.

Pooling knowledge to help growers

This partnership brings together Cultilene’s 35 years of expertise in rootzone management and the real-time data captured by 30MHz wireless sensing technology, augmenting decision-making capabilities for growers. The 30MHz ZENSIE dashboards provides an intuitive way to visualize sensor data alongside other data sources, including climate computers and loggers.

Practically, this means that multiple sensors are placed in the roots of plants, and data captured by these sensors is displayed within the ZENSIE dashboard, which growers can access with their smartphones, tablets or laptops. Customers can view heat maps, graphs, visualizations and alerts on changing crop conditions in real-time.

Precise adjustments

Once collected, the grower doesn’t have to analyse crop data. Cultilene’s agricultural expertise is translated into graphs which area available to the customer in the same dashboard. Growers see soil moisture and EC distribution, mat saturation and drain. Crop data is compared with daily target values, much like in Framework (a breeding manual for substrate cultivation).

In this way, growers maintain a complete overview of their crop environment, and know precisely how to adjust their irrigation strategy, with support from Cultilene when needed. “The new online wireless dashboard gives the grower clear and real-time insight into what’s happening inside the rootzone,’ says Lucie Paulet, Cultilenes Innovation manager. “It serves as a decision-making tool for optimise crops, better productivity and improved quality.”

 

Integration empowers growers to augment any climate computer with sensor insights


Growers can now connect data from any climate computer to the 30MHzwireless sensor platform with Klimlink. 30MHz, the Amsterdam-based provider of smart sensing technology equips agricultural customers with all the elements needed to monitor and optimise growing and storage environments with physical data: wireless sensors, a scalable network, and a customizable dashboard with alerts and analytics, all deployable in minutes. Partnership and integration with Klimlink offers growers a deeper real-time understanding of crop needs on both macro (climate computer data) and micro (wireless sensor data) levels. The result is tangible insights customers can respond to, preventing crop loss and saving energy.

Breaking down data silos in agriculture

Any systems that generate data can be linked together via Klimlink, and made immediately available in the 30MHz dashboard, with heatmaps, graphs, and other interactive visualizations. “This is a major step in breaking down data silos in agriculture. Growers work with so many different climate systems, and have to read data per system without a central overview of their metrics. This is work-intensive, impractical, and makes it difficult to fully optimise. Integrating with Klimlink knocks down the walls separating this powerful data, making it immediately actionable in our dashboard.” says 30MHz Director of Customer Affairs Cor-Jan Holwerda.

Empowering growers with selective data sharing

Klimlink, developed by agritechnologist Wim van Vliet, enables growers to bring together large amounts of data available from greenhouse horticulture companies (most often from climate computers) onto a single, intuitive platform. Without high costs or subsidies, Klimlink opens the door to many additional applications, making data available for deeper analysis. With customizable data sharing features in the 30MHz dashboard, growers can get more value out of their measurements by comparing data with each other, while researchers and crop advisers can simply look over the grower’s shoulder without having to log on to different control systems.

Sercom and 30MHz partner to unlock greenhouse data for optimisation


Sercom Regeltechniek BV, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-end climate control computers and 30MHz, a rapidly accelerating provider of smart-sensing technology have recently signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen and improve the real-time remote monitoring and registration of environmental conditions across cold storage and greenhouse contexts. Bringing together the power of climate control systems and wireless sensing technology, Sercom and 30MHz can empower end-users to add real-time sensor checks to their cold store and greenhouse management, and leverage the insights from both systems in a central dashboard.

Maximizing the impact of environmental data

30MHz provides customers with all the elements needed to deploy a wireless sensor network: sensors, a scalable private network and an analytics dashboard with visualizations and real-time alerts on any device. Quick to deploy without technical experience and based on a subscription model, 30MHz smart sensing technology gives the end-user flexibility in what to monitor and when, how to scale, as well as full control over how to view and share captured data.

A central dashboard for agriculture analytics

When accessible in one central location, data from Sercom climate control computers and sensory data captured by 30MHz can provide end-users with the granular insights on environment and crop-level microclimate to better respond to changing conditions, reduce energy usage in heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation, and optimise water usage in irrigation.  Users have the option to view data and receive alerts in the 30MHz ZENSIE dashboard, or in Sercom’s SercoVision interface. It is also possible to adapt existing wired sensors, already present at the location, into a wireless version and incorporate data collected into the monitoring system.

Optimising greenhouse growing with real-time insights

30MHz technology has helped customers across cold storage, greenhouse, arable, vertical farming, and processing sectors use up-to-the-minute data on their crops and environments to maximize output, minimize loss and optimise irrigation and energy use. Using a modular approach to sensor monitoring, 30MHz has designed a smart sensing toolkit which scales with the customer’s needs and enables end-users to select the combination of sensors and metrics to fit their objectives. Popular metrics include temperature and humidity, micro-climate, airflow, object counting, light intensity and soil moisture. The company counts agricultural leaders Wageningen University, Proeftuin Zwaagdijk, Royal Brinkman, Rijk Zwaan, Syngenta and Svensson as customers.

Dutch innovation in agriculture

The partnership between Lisse-based Sercom and Dutch-founded 30MHz, which has its headquarters at the Port of Amsterdam, brings together two key areas of Dutch expertise: sustainable, innovative agriculture and accessible high technology. Together, the two companies can bring the power of data-driven agricultural technology to a global customer base.