Efforts for Increased Yields
Maintaining and managing a greenhouse is not an easy endeavor. With all the complex, often costly and time-consuming practices that it requires - from cleaning and sterilization to irrigation and ventilation - comes also the need for daily observations and regular monitoring. This whole process would be almost impossible to execute successfully and smoothly if not for modern software solutions. The lack of the latter was what drew our US-based partner to apply for our services.
The company was having a hard time addressing the needs of its clients when it came to providing them with the right software tools for greenhouse management. Thus, they came to us with the need to develop a solution that would help their clients safely monitor their greenhouses and detect any possible issues before it’s too late. The main goal was to develop a user-friendly tool that could gather, update, and present data from sensors and IoT devices in the greenhouse environment. The app was supposed to function in an offline mode since most greenhouses have limited internet connectivity.
Our team took on this challenge with a strong determination to deliver an app that would ease the lives of greenhouse owners and enlarge the loyal client base of our partner.
By leveraging the capabilities of the Android platform, our team built a tablet app that helps horticulturalists monitor and observe their greenhouses on a daily basis from anywhere, anytime. Thanks to this solution, our partner team is now able to provide its clients with a highly responsive and intuitive app that releases them from the need to be regularly on-site in the greenhouse in order to detect the existing or newly arising issues. Moreover, the app works offline, thus releasing its users from having to handle the complex issue of having high-quality internet connection inside a greenhouse.
With this new tool, nothing goes unnoticed or discovered too late, for that matter - the clients get daily reports on the state of their greenhouses as well as on the plants, vegetables, and fruits in need of constant care and attention.
Some of the main functionalities of the tablet app are as follows:
- The app uses a Wi-Fi manager to establish a connection with a specific network aimed at greenhouse management. This network provides a controlled and secure environment for seamless communication between the tablet and the greenhouse.
- There is a QR code scanning technology incorporated into the app which can retrieve essential information about the greenhouse. By scanning a specific QR code associated with the greenhouse, the tool instantly captures and extracts relevant data, thus providing users with comprehensive insights. Additionally, the app uses a local database which ensures seamless data access and the offline functionality. The database serves as a secure storage repository for all the information obtained from the QR code scan. It efficiently stores important greenhouse data, such as plant details, environmental parameters, and other relevant information.
- The app also comes with a smart update mechanism to ensure that the users have the latest version of the app at all times. By leveraging specific information obtained from the greenhouse, the app proactively evaluates predefined criteria to determine if an update is necessary. This approach eliminates the need for manual checks and keeps users informed about the availability of new features, enhancements, and improvements.
How It Works
A quick overview of the software structure that our team created for our client:
- There is a client data management service for each greenhouse. It is a custom hardware module with its own custom software which provides APIs through the local Wi-Fi connection to the tablet app from one end, and from the other end it is connected to the internet to provide and sync data to a centralized backend. Thus, this client data management service acts as a decentralized backend for each greenhouse (or a cluster of greenhouses). It also acts as a gateway to provide communication between the centralized backend and the web portal from one end and to the greenhouse workers using the tablet app from the other end.
- The tablet app gets the necessary information from this service for each greenhouse, processes it, lets the user make changes and modifications as per their needs, and then sends it back to the service.
- Then there is the back-end portal which also receives information from each service, filters it, and sends it to the front-end portal to display.
- Lastly, after the needed changes are made on the front-end portal, the data goes back via the back end (processing and filtering applied if needed) to the client data management service.
The main features and functionalities of the software solutions delivered to our partner include the following:
- Daily reporting
- Wi-Fi manager
- QR code scanning technology
- Possibility to operate offline and sync the progress once connected back to the internet
- Task scheduling for on-site employees and regular reporting on the work progress
- Greenhouse system overview and daily observations
- User account management
- Smart update mechanism
- Project Management
- Quality Assurance
- Front-End, Back-End, and Mobile Engineering
- UI/UX Design