Cloud-based app lets farmers control operations from their phone
The aspects of farming continue to advance, as new technologies emerge to make life easier for growers. Autogrow, who have offices in New Zealand and the U.S., have been specializing in providing automated systems to greenhouse growers around the world. The products they supply include hardware, software and data solutions for indoor growing. They have now produced a cloud-based application, where customers who have these systems installed, can operate them from any personal device, such as a mobile phone or tablet.
"With our Intelligrow application, growers can monitor, manage and control their IntelliDose and IntelliClimate systems from anywhere," said Kylie Horomia, Communications Manager at Autogrow. "This includes temperatures, pH levels, lighting systems, moisture control, anything that greenhouse growers might need to control and monitor. Additionally, the program stores up to 5 years' worth of data, so growers can easily check and compare historical use."
"The app is available to view on any device, whether it is a tablet, PC, Mac, or Smartphone and is designed with a clean, easy to use interface," she added. "The app will send notifications to the customer's device if there an issue with one of the systems, for example if a preset alert is triggered."
Getting the app
The app itself is web-based and is easily accessible if the farmer already has the physical Intelli systems on their property, along with the computer software attached to it. It's then a simple matter of accessing and operating the app with their device. Once obtained, as long as they have access to the internet, the grower is able to control their systems from anywhere in the world.
"As long as you can open a browser you can use IntelliGrow," Horomia said. "You donít need a technician to set up access to IntelliGrow, you just need an internet connection and youíre away. Those growers that have PCs connected to their Intelli devices can simply install the gateway software. Those growers that wish to repurpose their PC for something else can get an Autogrow IntelliLink device which can connect them to the cloud (in place of a computer). Anyone who purchases a new Intelli controller can have the choice using the IntelliLink or using a PC they may have already. The great thing is that you donít need to purchase a new computer just to use with the Intelli controllers which is a cost saving."
"Whichever option they go for itís just a matter of simple configuration," she continued. "And of course we are on hand to help if they need extra support. There are no regional or geographical limitations. As long as you can connect to the internet then you can access IntelliGrow. Itís a globally available application, meaning you could be anywhere in the world, and have access and control over what's going on in your growing operation."
Associated costs and customer service
Although it has a free option which allows the customer to view systems, IntelliGrow is a subscription-based app that gives customers full functionality and remote access.
"There is a small cost associated with the IntelliLink and the IntelliGrow platform is a subscription based application," Horomia explained. "The controllers will still operate without IntelliGrow (so growers can still read off the screens), but you donít get all the rich functionality and remote access that you can through IntelliGrow."
With any of their systems, Horomia added that Autogrow promise excellent customer service and support, should users need any technical support, emergency assistance with their system, or to ask questions. "We have a good reputation for customer service so we want to make sure that continues," she said. "We have introduced the use of messaging platform Intercom which has been really well received and proven to be highly engaging. Of course customers can still email or give us a call."
Autogrow said they are continuing to find ways to improve customers' experience with their systems and, using the cloud platform, will roll out new features every 4-6 weeks. Launching early next year, they will roll out a multi-user view for IntelliGrow which will give growers the ability to grant access to multiple people.
"The multi-user view is something our growers requested and is ground breaking when it comes to controllers and remote access," Horomia explained. "Growers will be able to allow multiple people to access IntelliGrow and can set various permission levels. A grower may assign the ability to Ďviewí the data to some users and then others, like technical support, can have full control to make changes.Ē
ďIf youíre a consultant supporting 3 or 4 different growers (the actual number can be unlimited) you can be granted access and then see all the farms on one online dashboard," she continued. "Or another example could be administrators who want to monitor growing operations across a district or even the country. Multi-view has great applications for education and training purposes as well. There are a lot of other exciting things in the IntelliGrow eco-system that will roll out as new features are introduced (or invented) - taking original ideas and making them a reality."
For more information:
Tel: +64 (2) 173-3025
Publication date: 12/13/2017
Author: Dennis M. Rettke
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