Networking

Smart greenhouse shows the power of IoT automation in business

IoT automation

Demonstrator shows how smart networked devices offer ways for your company to save money via IoT automation using a standard WiFi connection

The extent to which the Internet of Things (IoT) can help automate your business or work place was demonstrated via a rather impressive automated mini-greenhouse at IOT World Solution Congress in Barcelona in October 2017.

The demonstration greenhouse was fitted out with sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure and light levels and these can automatically control actuators to control a heater, turn on lights, open a window, turn on a fan or turn on a mister, all controlled via a normal WiFi signal.

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The people behind the greenhouse, IoTechnics, a hardware and software design house focused on the IoT market, were asked to create a ‘smart building’ demo to show the breadth of factors that can be controlled from often off-the-shelf IoT devices.

As Principal Software Engineer Steve Cutler at IoTechnics Ltd told us: “The greenhouse shares many similarities with other types of building: office space, schools, hospitals, warehouses. In nearly all cases there are a number of similar environmental factors that need to be sensed and a similar set of responses can be made to keep the environmental factors within accepted limits.”

All of these measurements can also be monitored and manually controlled via a customisable online dashboard, which, thanks to cloud technology, would be accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

IoT automation
The online dashboard makes controlling the conditions in your workplace easy – from wherever you are

Automation for efficiency

Of course, things like timed automatic switches and thermostats have been saving businesses money for years, but nowadays, the massive range of small low-powered internet-connected measurement and controlling devices available can give you incredible flexibility on how you control the conditions in your workplace. And once the system has been set up, the low-energy sensors can run in the background for years, and should the worst happen and they get damaged, they are relatively inexpensive to replace.

The level of automation offered by these smart systems can be changed to suit your business needs too. You can have the sensors notify you when conditions are changing so you can adjust them manually, go fully automatic and use actuators to change the conditions to match the internal conditions by following a set of rules. Or you can even plug the system into other internet services that can monitor things like local weather news and change the building conditions pro-actively to suit.

Cost savings

With more companies discovering that for a small initial investment, by automating their businesses or just their offices, smart devices can make them run more efficiently and potentially with less manpower, is it time you put your office WiFi to more use than just email and surfing the net?

 
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