During HortiContact in February this year, Grodan launched e-Gro. E-Gro is the brand new software platform from Grodan to better support customers. The result: a detailed overview of the situation in the greenhouse 24/7. There is more monitoring, so that well-founded decisions can be made. A software platform from a stone-wool manufacturer seems an unusual combination. Wednesday we spoke to Vincent Deenen from Grodan. He explains how this plan came about and how this plan will be implemented.
Back to the basics
With its products, Grodan wants to contribute to the solution to be able to continue to feed the world population. This means that the substrate is produced sustainably and that their products are used in a sustainable way. And then we soon arrive at the ‘Grodan word’: Precision Growing. Vincent: "We want to give the plant as much water as is needed. Not less and also certainly not more."
How do you know what's optimal?
How much water does the plant need? And when is the best time for irrigation? And why? Fortunately we live in the digital age. We have already made quite some progress in that area. We're already talking about Industry 4.0. Horticulture must keep in line with that, it can be scaled up to Horticulture 4.0. The grower can profit from this. We are constantly improving the measuring techniques. And thanks to the calculation power of computers, we can derive our benefits from it. Vincent: “With the power of big data, we can take Precision Growing to the next level. There is room for this improvement, so that the plant has an optimal growing environment. This means that we are moving towards ‘data-driven Precision Growing’. We see that happening. That’s what we believe in.”
And that's how e-Gro came about. With e-Gro, various systems are combined. The obtained dataset is read out, so that the grower is advised about the action that he can take. Results: harvest forecasts, product and business optimization. It seems very promising.
Grodan has made the platform available to everyone. It is open to everyone. On the one hand, that makes it exciting for the developers. On the other hand, it offers opportunities to realize the ambitions. And surely there are ambitions. Vincent indicates that ultimately only a few players will remain in the market. And Grodan will be one of them. Vincent: "It's a challenge. And I don't have a crystal ball. But I do have a very good feeling about it. We can start from scratch. Because we can build it up from the start, we can be very flexible. We do not make concessions. That is not necessary, because it is a clean slate."
It may be clear that a software organization entails a completely different culture than a stone-wool factory. Grodan has organized e-Gro in a different way than the production site in Roermond. Young employees have been recruited, working together as a team to further develop e-Gro. Currently 20 individuals are working on e-Gro.
Want to take a look at the software platform? That’s possible. Go to www.grodan.nl/e-gro.