When talking about data in greenhouses, the collecting of data might not be the issue nowadays, with many tools being available to do so. Using the data is the real issue: Making the numbers accessible to the right persons at the right time, and being able to respond to it in the correct way is more of a challenge. That’s something the team with Argus addressed when developing their new tool Argus Live. The new tool was launched by Argus during this year's Cultivate and gives growers a customized and mobile accessible application to control their operation anywhere and at any time.
Argus Live is geared towards giving people access to their system from wherever they are on a mobile device. “When you’re walking through a greenhouse you are able to see all information available in the Argus System and actually take action”, says Argus VP and General Manager Michael Heaven while showing this on a giant touchscreen during Cultivate. “The ease of use will hopefully help growers, especially younger ones, get a better grip on their growing environment.”
He shows how the company worked on optimizing this. “We’ve paid a lot of attention to the user-friendliness. It’s sometimes the little things, like not having to go back to the main screen when adjusting settings, a night mode to lower light exposure when you check in on your phone and being able to customize the opening page to see whatever is most important to you. Then it’s also a lot about accessibility. You are able to collect serious amounts of data with any service, but making people able to work with this data, is the next step. Thanks to the latest graphics concepts you’re seeing dial indicators instead of a table of numbers. You can see that the dial is between the minimum and maximum, a range of which you can define yourself. This makes it a lot easier to read the data that the service provides.”
Michael Heaven with Argus Live
Currently with the upscaling of many greenhouse companies, a head grower might want to give his team access to the climate computer – but not opening up everything. On the other hand, smaller growers might want to use the benefits of automation but not want an expensive and complicated climate control system. For both types of growers an Argus Live subscription could be the solution.
“When working with standard-setting, the Argus Live can be an easy tool for growers to collect lots of data from their greenhouse and use this in their cultivation cycle. The service makes a lot of different data from the greenhouse available on your mobile phone or tablet. It can generate standard reports that are discussed in the morning. You can go back to the previous grow data, to check historical data and see how certain changes have affected yields for instance. And you can drill down into particle elements that you want to hone in on – all very easy to access. This way the system can help growers more easily introduce best practices and standard operating practices.”
Of course, this can also be done for bigger growers – and there’s more to that. The system is built for companywide integration. “Argus Live allows people to set parameters of use,” says Michael. “A head grower can define who can do what within the system: he can define a custom landing page that all the assistant growers see first. So every person in the company can use the system with ease and without running into issues. The head grower then can access the audit trail, who made the last changes to the system, fertigation cycle, and more. It’s also possible to connect remotely to the facility so you can still check up on the system when you are abroad.”
Argus Live will be the first subscription service of Argus Controls. “We wanted to be able to keep updating the service and add new options as time goes on,” says Michael. “We will consistently be adding new content to the service, we’re thinking every three to four months. But we also wanted to keep the service affordable, because our clients are important to us. So a subscription service was the best option. We think that subscription-based solutions are the future for horticulture.”