Our client is an international custom software development company that focuses on IoT in agriculture.
Detailed information about the client cannot be disclosed under the provisions of the NDA.
As autumn and winter approach, many people find themselves lacking fresh, nutritious greens, fruits and vegetables. While some grow greens and herbs in pots in their apartments, others regularly visit a supermarket to replenish their supplies of fruits and vegetables.
Planting, fertilizing, and caring for homegrown greens can be time-consuming, while the quality and diversity of products in groceries aren’t always satisfactory. In addition, nothing compares to homegrown foods in terms of freshness, affordability, and availability.
Our customer is an IoT service provider that specializes in delivering smart solutions to manage digital devices with minor human supervision. The client approached Innowise Group with the idea of integrating advanced IoT capabilities to grow greens, herbs, and flowers indoors without soil. A smart gardening system combining software and hardware would allow for cultivating plants at home, controlling light and watering, and monitoring nutrients.
In summary, the scope of work included:
Smart indoor greenhouse – Plaant
Simply put, a smart home garden is a box weighing 5kg (11lbs) and measuring 49.5 cm (19.5 in) x 24.5 cm (9.6 in) x 49.5 cm (19.5 in) with an advanced watering/ventilation system, humidity controls, and temperature sensors. It is equipped with pre-built web cameras that monitor all processes inside and gather information to diagnose issues and determine plants’ health. With its beautiful design and eco-friendliness, a miniature greenhouse IoT offers the best conditions for greens to grow from seeds up to natural sizes faster than they would outside. At home or at the office, Plaant takes up very little space and seamlessly fits into any interior.
When it comes to hardware, portable gardens are equipped with ESP32 and Raspberry PI microcontrollers. They allow for maintaining optimal conditions for plants and prevent temperature or humidity violations with both automatic and manual modes.
Smart indoor gardens feature a no-soil hydroponic system that feeds nutrition into the water tank automatically according to pre-set settings. As for the lightning, Plaant enables configuring an LED scenario-controlled light system adjusted to the selected plants in the unit.
Greens and herbs are grown in pods which are made up of coconut fibers and peat, allowing gardeners to grow up to eight plants concurrently and harvest them by cutting the top third each week, stimulating regrowth.
Smart gardens mobile app
Our team developed a mobile app for Android and iOS that connects to IoT-based smart greenhouse units and allows users to care for homegrown plants. After users complete the free download, they can manage their greens and herbs, adjust units’ settings, control smart irrigation and humidity levels, visit the online shop, and get connected with the Plaant community. Through the app, gardeners can enjoy the in-app blog and get inspired by new recipes, sharing experiences, insights, and plant health benefits. Additionally, Innowise Group configured a system of notifications that remind users about certain events and praise them for their success in gardening.
Online store of smart gardens
Last but not least, Innowise Group developed a Shopify-based online store to sell smart home gardens and available pods for them. The official website has a lot of API integrations with third-party services and allows users to buy smart greenhouses, order delivery to any country, and purchase units on a subscription. Moreover, gardeners can see the prices in their country’s currency and pay online using credit cards, American Express, PayPal, and other payment systems.
As soon as our team began working on the project, we encountered the difficulty of unclear requirements. Therefore, our project manager and business analyst partly played the product owner role, eliciting tech requirements and evaluating project feasibility.
The serviceability of greenhouse IoT sensors and microcontrollers was another challenge since it required many API integrations. Yet, our seasoned team ensured smooth compatibility and launched a full-fledged solution along with an online shop and mobile app.
As for the project management, we adhered to Scrum methodology with bi-weekly sprints, daily meetings, and intermediate results. While communicating via Google Chat, the team assigned tasks and monitored performance via Jira and Confluence. The customer tracked the project’s progress and gave regular feedback via Skype.
Currently, the project is ongoing, with smart gardens being sold and delivered across the globe through the official online store and mobile app. At the same time, Innowise Group fixes minor bugs, releases updates, and ensures post-launch support for a smart agriculture system using an IoT project.
In conventional soil conditions, plants require regular watering, optimal humidity and temperature conditions, fertilization, etc. Oftentimes, amateur gardeners lack time and skills to care for greens properly. With indoor greenhouses and an IoT plant monitoring system, they can maintain increasingly favorable conditions for plants to flourish, resulting in significantly more nutrition compared to greens and herbs found in supermarkets.
Plaant makes people feel like gardeners, allowing them to harvest up to 10 crops yearly. Besides providing greens and herbs on the family table, a smart indoor garden is a sophisticated piece of furniture that can brighten up any room.
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