Monitor Your Climate-Controlled Greenhouse From Your Phone
By Amy Beth Miller for America's Backbone Weekly!-- AddToAny BEGIN -->
One of the most powerful tools to manage your greenhouse today is your smartphone. Software applications are now moving beyond offering information about your plants, pest control and growing records, to managing the systems that control temperature, light, irrigation, ventilation and more.
App-controlled greenhouses aren't just for big growers either. Tech-savvy do-it-yourselfers have rigged monitors and automated controls for greenhouses using open-source computer platforms such as Arduino. (Watch an animation of how such a greenhouse control system works.) You can even find directions online for how to create your own system, complete with wiring diagrams and computer code.
Businesses are responding to small and mid-sized growers' desire to be connected to their greenhouses from anywhere. New smart control systems are relatively easy to install?without an IT expert?and are customizable and scalable. These remote systems allow for better monitoring and control, even when you're away from your greenhouse.
Here are some examples:
- SmartBee Controllers are designed to work with existing grow-room systems, collecting data through sensors and transmitting information wirelessly.
- The Growtronix System adds graphing features to data monitoring to map changes in greenhouse conditions and interventions. Emails or texts also alert you if motion is detected, such as an unexpected window or door opening.
- The Agrowtek GrowControl software can be used with up to eight cameras that can snap photos daily, hourly or on demand. Data graphing can be set at intervals as brief as five seconds.
The editor of GroZine magazine was impressed that a GroBot system alerted him to a dry reservoir in his hydroponics system by email while he was overseas. He recommends that before purchasing super controllers you consider the types of features you want, the ease of setup, and the possibility for expansion.
You will need a monitoring and control system that provides total coverage for the size of your grow room and all the elements you want to monitor and control. Because you will be transmitting data, ensure you have the right data plan for the data usage you expect for monitoring the greenhouse system.
Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) technology available at companies like US Cellular, now it's easier than ever to remotely and effectively monitor and manage your greenhouse(s).
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