As horticultural lighting becomes more precise and efficient, so too are the control systems that manage it. A prime example is Sollum’s SUN as a Service™ application, which allows growers to modulate light recipes in real time by analysing ambient light and adjusting the fixtures’ output to meet targeted light conditions. The application is a part of Sollum’s smart lighting solution, which provides greenhouse growers with 100% programmable LED lighting.
SUN as a Service™ presents four main benefits to greenhouse growers: the ability to create an infinite number of light recipes, flexible greenhouse zone management and scheduling, real-time recipe adjustment and convenient system monitoring.
With respect to recipe creation, the application allows growers to design an infinite number of customized, crop-specific light recipes. While LEDs are known for their customizability, the Sollum lighting solution is unique in that its spectrum is not fixed. According to Patrick Ménard, VP Product at Sollum Technologies, competitors typically provide growers with a catalogue of fixed spectra to choose from, after which growers are sent light fixtures with the selected spectrum locked in. In contrast, Sollum offers fixtures whose spectrum can be modulated in real-time.
“We see a light recipe as movie; it is a series of spectra and scenarios that we modulate over time. Our clients aren’t buying a fixed spectrum; the grower has full control over the spectrum, light intensity and where the light is delivered. The grower has a library of recipes which can be implemented in seconds,” explains Patrick.
In addition, growers using Sollum’s technology can create an infinite number of lighting zones in their greenhouse. With SUN as a Service™, growers can easily visualise each fixture and create lighting zones through a simple drag-and-drop. Once the zone is created, growers select a light recipe from their library and apply it immediately. While the Sollum team is for support, the grower can implement any of these changes independently.
The application also presents the advantage of real-time recipe adjustment according to spectral readings. The system monitors actual light conditions and adjusts the fixtures’ output to meet the grower’s targeted daily light integral (DLI) and photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD).
Finally, SUN as a Service™ has a highly advanced monitoring capability which monitors the state of all fixtures at all times. Customer Support receives an alarm if anything is amiss, and Sollum’s team can remotely recalibrate fixtures, conduct software-related preventative maintenance and monitor fixture health.
All these advantages are made possible by the application’s stack of software which operates in the cloud, in the greenhouse and in the light fixture itself. This, as Patrick points out, means that “there is intelligence in the fixture itself. The fixture knows what to do and can operate without Internet once the recipes and controls are loaded.”
The resilience of Sollum’s lighting solution is particularly important as agricultural technology moves toward artificial intelligence, cloud operations and Internet-based functionalities. While cloud-based operations are greatly increasing agricultural productivity overall, Patrick observes that any production occurs in real-time and the system must be able to withstand shocks, including potential Internet outages.
For more information on Sollum’s lighting solution and its SUN as a Service™ application:
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