How Hortilux Innovated the Greenhouse Industry Through IoT


on July 3, 2017

Disruptive technologies are reshaping the world in which we live and work. Many organizations know the potential of these technologies, but simply do not have the time and resources to adapt them. As a result, these organizations focus on maintaining their current operations rather than innovating their business.

What these organizations do not realize is that it does not require many resources to adapt these disruptive technologies with a rapid development platform. These platforms allow organizations to easily build apps and embrace disruptive technologies. There are many applications of IoT, organizations just need to know where to start. 

Read the following blog to learn how Hortilux innovated their business through embracing Internet of Things in their app.

How Hortilux Innovated the Greenhouse Industry Through IoT

Hortilux, a supplier and installer of high-quality grow light installations for greenhouses, improved their customer service by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT). To maintain their position as market leader and continue providing the high quality service they stand for, they started looking for ways to expand the services they provide to growers. Through the use of IoT, they radically transformed their business model.

The HortiSense app provides insight into greenhouse performance using sensors that are placed inside the greenhouses.

Hortilux Shifted From a Manufacturer to a Total Light Solution Provider

By adopting IoT into one of their services, they changed the value proposition for their customers. Where before, they were solely a supplier and installer of grow light installations, they transformed into a total light solution provider. To support this transformation, they created HortiSense, a digital platform for growers. The HortiSense app provides insight into greenhouse performance using sensors that are placed inside the greenhouses.

There are two major benefits to using HortiSense. The first is that it monitors and safeguards the hardware used in the greenhouses. This provides great insight into the workings of the fixtures, transformers, and electrical panels. The second is the real-time insight into the performance of a grower’s greenhouses, so that they can continuously optimize their growing strategies to achieve the highest possible yield per square meter. These benefits allowed Hortilux to significantly increase the efficiency of the grow light installation and secures the operational reliability of the electrical equipment of growers.

The application predicts the remaining life-time of the lights and sends automatic repair alerts, reducing the cost of service and maintenance activities.

The HortiSense platform enables smarter operations through newly connected products. IoT endpoints – such as sensors in greenhouses, gateways, and actuators – are connected to industrial greenhouse computers. These computers connect to IoT software on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which stores the data. The HortiSense platform is an IoT app built on the Mendix platform, and retrieves and presents AWS data to growers in a series of dashboards.

Hortilux’s IoT Platform Provides Real-Time Insights to Growers to Optimize Their Growing Strategies

Through these dashboards, growers can easily check the performance of their greenhouse. The sensors collect several valuable types of data, like the temperature, the CO2level, and the power quality of the installation. Through these sensors, HortiSense monitors the power quality and costs, and provides automatic intervention in case of low power quality. Moreover, it predicts the remaining life-time of the lights and sends automatic repair alerts, reducing the cost of service and maintenance activities. All these insights drive smarter operations and result in a more cost-efficient greenhouse.

Besides enabling growers to run a more cost-efficient greenhouse, the application allows Hortilux to strengthen the customer relationship. The application provides real-time insight in the amount of light that reaches the crop, both from the sun and from the grow lights. Moreover, the growers can monitor the sugar production in a plant, which takes place by means of photosynthesis. This knowledge, combined with, for example, weather forecasts and energy prices, allows growers to optimize their grow light strategies for energy cost and yield per square meter.

In just two months, Hortilux and First Consulting created the Minimum Viable Product of HortiSense.

They Use Mendix to Continuously Expand Their Application and Maintain Their Leadership Position

In just two months, Hortilux and First Consulting created the Minimum Viable Product of HortiSense. Through iterations, Hortilux expanded HortiSense with new features based on customer and employee feedback. With the flexibility of a low-code platform, Mendix, Hortilux is continuously expanding their application with innovative technology to maintain their leadership position.