Sowing the right IoT architecture to create a better farm
Companies around the world are actively taking advantage of the opportunities offered by high-performance computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence convergence. We are not talking about big companies around the world. SMEs are very important in this game – to a large extent.
This is the case with AeroFarms, a US-based company whose goal is to build and operate environmentally responsible farms around the world through large-scale local production.
This young company is committed to providing safe, nutritious and delicious food to the community. To fulfill its mission, AeroFarms operates the world’s largest indoor vertical farm with 390 times more production than traditional field farms – all farms have no sun, soil or pesticides, and all water usage is reduced by 95%.
AeroFarms builds vertical farms in urban areas that are not known to agriculture – such as Newark, New Jersey, which has its global headquarters and indoor agricultural operations. Among these and other facilities, AeroFarms demonstrates that green-green vegetables can thrive in indoor farming through high-tech, data-driven methods that spray nutrients directly onto the roots of plants and direct the appropriate amount and wavelength of artificial light.
Of course, all of this requires more than just great ideas and excellent execution. There are a number of great technologies that take advantage of the data that helps AeroFarms gain insight into operations and make informed decisions. This is the goal of Dell Technology. By partnering with Dell Technologies, AeroFarms is well positioned to apply the right data-driven mechanical technology to industry-leading processes. Using data related to temperature, humidity, airflow, nutrition, light, water and food safety, AeroFarms can automate and analyze everything from seed to packaging.
The IoT journey
To begin the IoT journey, AeroFarms worked with Dell Technology Consulting to identify its use cases, design a technology architecture that meets its business needs, and then develop an implementation roadmap to achieve the company’s business goals.
From an IT architecture perspective, AeroFarms faces several unique challenges and considerations. Here are some of these higher level questions and how Dell technology can connect with them.
As part of the architecture, we recommend using the Dell Edge Gateway for IOT to help research and produce farms to accelerate the analysis of plant health instrument data. We also include the Dell EMC PowerEdge 740xd high performance compute node to support artificial intelligence, deep learning and advanced custom analysis. These features help AeroFarms improve growth conditions – for example, by automating image recognition and classification to adjust phytonutrients, light and other factors.
In the end, AeroFarms is a technology company that uses science and engineering to redefine the possibilities of agriculture. In this task, the company is also committed to not only harvesting its plants, but also collecting its data to gain a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between biology, the environment and technology, and to promote better performance.