Digital Horticulture

Digital Horticulture

Date
July 3, 2021
Tags
Digital HorticultureAutonomous GrowingAIIoTAdvanced Controls
Publisher
GreenhouseGrower.com

Digital Horticulture

Kenneth Tran and John Chang

As written in the article on the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in greenhouses, a well-designed and correctly-implemented AI system can help growers achieve higher yield while lowering the unit cost of production, hence enabling farming to be more sustainable. By generating insightful analytics across innate greenhouse operation, AI can support growers in making informed decisions based on data and empower them to be future-minded about efficiency and sustainability. The next revolution of agricultural practices is significantly dominated by the combination of artificial intelligence and human wisdom.

[In front of the fast-paced crossfire between technology and industrial landscape],

In the age of cloud, mobile, and internet of things, digital horticulture will be essential for farming businesses to stay data-driven, efficient, and resilient. This is especially relevant to the COVID-19 global crisis, as food producers reportedly demands more decentralized and effective production control. Koidra, as a representative of the AgTech domain, lays the foundational knowledge of Digital Horticulture, the critical bedrock for future-minded horticulturists to build their sustainable enterprise upon.

It is said that there's No AI (Artificial Intelligence) without IA (Information Architecture). In horticulture, IA would mean Digital Horticulture. Data is the fuel for AI. The more sophisticated the AI (rocket ship), the greater the need for large amounts of high-quality, clean data (jet fuel). requires a solid foundation in data manage. But amid the rush to jump on the AI bandwagon, companies (and even data scientists and machine learning specialists themselves) overlook the critical need to build a solid foundation for how data is captured, consumed, and shared within the organization. This includes both technical infrastructure as well as operational processes to ensure data quality.

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The Essential Features Of A Digital Horticulture

Digital horticulture mainly describes the digital transformation of horticulture; the transformation of the production of cultivated food and ornamental plants. During the digital transformation of horticulture, data-enabled initiatives are coordinated by AI to diffuse through the farm's operating model. Such a platform includes the following principal components:

  1. Data Gateway: The primer for data exchanges between sensors and the cloud. Digital horticulture is the fisherman casting a net to gather all domain knowledge of a greenhouse operation.
  2. Cloud-Based Data Management: A platform with APIs (the application definitions and protocols that program the software for businesses), for data exchange and application interoperability. This is where the fisherman will sort out the big catch when he comes ashore.
  3. Business Intelligence: Insights from data, available in any devices to monitor and analyze data. Now each of the fish will get a good treatment, and the fisherman is then ready to serve useful analytics to the greenhouse growers in tending their crop.

An IoT Suite, as we call it at Koidra, would carry all three of the above principal features. It is a combined hardware-and-software system that collects and utilizes data from multiple sources (sensors, legacy control systems, auxiliary databases, etc.). The system stores data on a cloud storage, allowing businesses to analyze historical as well as real-time data from anywhere with internet access. This, in turn, provides businesses with actionable information that helps growers make informed decisions. If implemented correctly, a digital horticulture platform should enable business owners to control their indoor farm from anywhere in the world. And as Internet of Things gets more sophisticated, more valuable data are exchanged, and growers will be the one to benefit from Digital Horticulture, which will seamlessly transition into a full-fledged AI-powered farm.

How can businesses adopt digital horticulture to their greenhouse? The solution to this question depends upon answers of the following questions: Is the greenhouse designed with extendability and autonomous growing? Can advanced data analytics be deployed on top of this infrastructure? And, most importantly, why should my business adopt digital horticulture?

At Koidra, we believe that answering the why question before an at-scale business direction hugely characterizes the future of the business. Once it is understood why, the rest will follow. As stated at the beginning of this article, the expansion of technology to agriculture concurrently entails leveraging data to drive sustainable business performance and to allocate appropriate resources and skills for the fast-paced agenda of the global food supply chain. Integration of digital horticulture to the innate agricultural supply chain is an investment with one clear objective: getting the most return-of-investment (ROI) from a clear digital transformation roadmap.

Koidra's Digital Transformation Roadmap for Horticulturists

A Koidra Roadmap - Progression of data analytics: digitization, digitalization, digital transformation.
A Koidra Roadmap - Progression of data analytics: digitization, digitalization, digital transformation.

This roadmap is a strategic mapping of phases laid out to help greenhouse growers achieving their digital transformation goal. There are 3 modules in the roadmap.

  • The first module is "Connected", where we all get plugged in and see what’s happening. Academically speaking, this first stage is digitization, where analog or physical information is conversed to a digital format. All horticultural data are gathered and integrated into Koidra's specialized dashboard, which can be accessed from anywhere with internet access, on any device. This is the first phase in the illustration above, where businesses have descriptive analytics to assist with crop management decisions. To continue with our fisherman metaphor: the fisherman is out to the ocean, casting his big net. We can curate his catch of the day and see what's good for dinner in the next phase.
  • If you like his fish, you can even have him bringing in the fish at any time. At the second phase, "Digital Twins", Koidra uses real-time data feeds to run simulations and predictions. Historical data of the domain are run through advanced analytics to study causes and impacts in the past, while smart censors and predictive modeling continuously predict what will happen in the future. This module corresponds with the second phase on the chart, where predictive analytics will contribute to more integrated and much complex insights from the farm. The fresh fish should be available, ready to be dressed into various dishes.
  • And how about cooking the fish into delicious dishes? The third module is "Decision Making", a problem with many solutions, of which Koidra uses "physics-guided reinforcement learning", a secret juice, to optimize the digital assets. At this stage, the 3 modules have completely merged into a digital ecosystem that will make smart executive decisions for businesses, from crop-tending job to crop-harvesting plan. The regular fisherman has transformed into a formidable chef.

The strength of this implementation roadmap is to guarantee that each stage is a self-contained success, which must yield high ROI in itself while waiting for the next one to be assessed and installed. For example, growers at the first stage have already gathered enough critical data to aid their human decision making process, which is the gist of Digital Horticulture. The second one could involve machine learning, harvesting historical data to make predictions for the future. When we evolve to the next and final, integrated stage, full-fledged AI would empower the growers with its various automated decisions.

Experience, The Currency for The AgTech Age

At Koidra, autonomous growing is the innovation objective. Digital horticulture is the foundation on which we tread our first step toward the transformative future of the food supply chain, becoming the fisherman that helps farmers fishing and saucing tailor-curated data. Koidra thrives to provide and caress custom-made experiences via our IoT and λuto Grower.

For more consultation on how to implement a bullet-proof Digital Horticulture platform with extendability for Autonomous Growing, do not hesitate to send us an email at [email protected]