For a plant retailer, IoT technology saves time and nerves
Limingan Viherkeskus is a garden centre in the Oulu region. Its plant nursery has two greenhouses and a seasonal greenhouse for saplings and perennial plants.
Finnish weather is harsh for plants, as conditions may vary wildly between seasons and even during a single day. Constant monitoring is essential, especially during the freezing winter months.
This spring, the nursery was equipped sensors provided by Digita that use IoT technology to monitor growing conditions. The sensors were installed in both of greenhouses.
“The four key indicators we track are temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide level and light,” explains owner Heli Kylli.
The sensors also have automated alarm limits for each measurement. If conditions in the greenhouses fall outside the set limits, the system alerts the owner’s phone.
“The plants require that we keep heating on well into the spring. When the greenhouse is full of plants, maintaining the right temperature is quite critical. Changes in temperature between day and night are high, but conditions in the greenhouse should be just right for the plants. At least in the spring and summer, then, temperature is the most important factor. I receive an alert by text message if the temperature is outside the limits.”
The sensors update once every fifteen minutes. This helps take the necessary actions. As the owner of the garden centre does not live close by, the possibility for timely updates on conditions without the need to visit the nursery is a clear advantage.
“The worry was how we could find out in time if a heater were to break down on a freezing night in March, for example. Losing tens of thousands worth of plants in such a way would spell the end for the business. Our original idea was to start developing a system for the problem, but after some research we found out that a solution already exists,” says Kylli.
For the business owner, monitoring through IoT technology gives, above all, security over the plants’ conditions and peace of mind.
“The sensors take an enormous burden off our shoulders. We can follow the situation and, should anything happen, act in time thanks to the alarm limits. For example, if a heater has malfunctioned and temperatures are dropping, there is still time for us to install a backup before any permanent damage is done. The system is very well-suited for our needs!”