Smart Agriculture IoT Applications Enable Grow Facilities to Scale

by | Aug 16, 2017

Written by John Shindler

New smart agriculture IoT applications will transform the cannabis industry by enabling grow facilities to scale while improving on quality, sustainability, and ROI. |

As a provider of IoT technology and integration services to advanced industries worldwide, SensorInsight was a natural choice for True Harvest to deploy a custom IoT application for their grow facility.

This collaboration led to the design and implementation of an indoor precision agriculture solution based on the latest innovation in environment sensors and software. SensorInsight provided all of the hardware configuration and installation, data integration, and solution deployment services so True Harvest could focus on their bottom line. SensorInsight provides users with access to real time data from sensors inside the greenhouse, giving them the ability to monitor all the key components of the growing process 24/7. The system measures and monitors critical factors throughout the grow cycle for medical cannabis operations.

|True Harvest|

True Harvest, a medical marijuana operator, is a large investor in medical cannabis operations. The legalization of marijuana in various US States, coupled with the emergence of several new markets and continued overall growth on the medical side could boost overall state-legal cannabis sales to $6 billion by 2018. To be successful, True Harvest recognized the importance of setting themselves apart by producing the highest quality marijuana through the management and analysis of their entire medicinal marijuana growing process. To achieve this goal, the company was looking to aggressively invest in best practices and precision agriculture to provide maximum yield and high-quality results that deliver the best quality product in its industry. 


Medical marijuana plants require the precise balance of light, temperature, C02, and soil conditions to thrive and produce maximum yields in both quality and quantity. True Harvest needed a fiscally sustainable way to manage and eventually, scale their operations while tracking and adjusting to changing growing conditions to improve overall plant quality and quantity. With True Harvest's forward-thinking approach, they understood the potential of using sensors and the cloud to build a connected farm that could monitor conditions in real time, and requires less manual intervention, thus saving time and resources. True Harvest looked to SensorInsight® as an experienced IoT partner they could trust. 


1 Marijuana business factbook. (2013). Pawtucket: Marijuana Business Media. 


SensorInsight® and True Harvest collaborated to provide a precise, indoor agriculture growing solution. SensorInsight® provided hardware configuration and installation, data integration, and solution deployment services. SensorInsight® Air Quality Monitoring Stations, using Libelium sensors, were installed to track environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and CO2 level. Additional Libelium sensors were deployed to track luminosity, particulate matter and contaminants, and water quality parameters, such as pH, ORP and salinity. In addition to environmental information, data points can be collected manually by the growers such as plant height, added chemicals, or other unmonitored parameters in the environment.

The complete SensorInsight® system collects and monitors data on critical factors throughout the grow cycle. Users of the system can receive alerts via email or SMS so adjustments can be made and continuous, optimal conditions for growth can be achieved. The access to real-time data throughout the farm allows growers to audit the key components of the growth process 24/7, and adjust as needed to maintain maximum quality and efficiency. Data can be analyzed over multiple crop cycles to identify the parameters of light, temperature, humidity and time that allow each crop to grow to its fullest capabilities. 


|Next Steps|

In this growing and newly regulated industry, there is additional emphasis on growers for compliance and transparency, such as the requirement for facilities to account for each plant on a daily basis. With large operations, this can become problematic keeping up with the demand to constantly monitor and track each plant. SensorInsight® is prototyping a low-cost state-of-the-art plant sensor that will tag each plant individually so that it can be tracked and reported as it moves through the growth stages within the facility. In addition, basic plant conditions can be monitored, such as soil moisture and temperature, alerting growers if any individual plant needs corrective action. True Harvest hopes to see a 15-20% increase in savings over the next 2 years with the implementation of SensorInsight®. 

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