Editorial Team   |   August 16, 2017

Advancements in Horticultural Lighting Technologies using IoT Platforms

Innovations in horticultural lighting technologies have advanced with the continued growth in many plant-based industries, including food consumption and pharmaceuticals. Among the uses of more advanced lighting science is the ability to control the min-maxing of photosynthetic light fixtures, improving yield and growth cycle duration.
Our CannabisTech writers come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a passion for cannabis and technology, matched only by their desire to educate the world about the cannabis industry.

Cloud-based Lighting: The Internet of Things

Automating the entire photosynthetic process allows for properly scheduled light cycles, giving full control dark and light periods Cloud-based technology allows digital connectivity to program light schedules and monitor environmental conditions, allowing cultivators the ability to tend to other logistics while remotely take care of the lighting cycles. 


Precision Control

Newer cannabis growing LED lights adjust power consumption, intensity and heat control according to the preferred growth profiles and infrastructure costs. Cutting-edge lighting technologies allow cultivators to choose between power and saving operating costs as one percent of North American power consumption goes to horticulture operations, part of lighting technologies goals is to reduce the energy footprint.


PAR, PPF and the Min-Maxing of Light Cultivation

Light is a cultivator’s most powerful cultivation tool.  Allowing yields to give the best return of investment is achieved by the principle of min-maxing. Min-maxing refers to maximizing usable parameters while minimizing less valuable areas for the best yield, highest yield quality and less growth times. This is exemplified by Photosynthetically Active Radiation or PAR – a wavelength of light that is utilized during photosynthesis, proven to be between 400 to 700 nanometer range. This can be measured in a light’s Photosynthetic Photon Flux (PPF) or a light’s ability to emit PAR.

New horticultural lighting focuses on PAR and PPF metrics, reducing the need to expend thousands of watts of energy, and instead focus on the development of fixtures that use photosynthetic light for plants. Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) is another metric that measures the amount of light particles under the canopy.  New lighting theories are answering many previously uncertain questions and refining the techniques surrounding electrical wattage, lumens and LED watts to create the highest quality, most efficient product. 


Indoor Agriculture and the Technology of Control

Horticultural environments have many variables to consider and precise digital control enables minimum of conditions to fine tune.  In the IoT era, greenhouse needs – temperature, humidity, lighting and watering – are in precise control of the operator. As each manufacturer has different needs to create different outputs, digital environmental monitoring and proactive adjustments are as important now more than ever.

As light research is on a further revolution, the best cultivation practices are on the grasp of the current. When fully realized, more innovations are expected and more technological developments lead the way for indoor agriculture.


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