Case study

Smart Vertical Farm Lighting and Monitoring Solution

We’re developing a vertical farm lighting solution that uses artificial light to automatically illuminate plants and monitor their growth

AgricultureInternet of ThingsMachine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

Project highlights

  • Monitor plants with image recognition
  • Control artificial lighting to improve growth
  • Optimize climate conditions for vertical farms
IoT, AI, UI/UX, Vertical farming
Team size:
8 engineers
Munich, Germany
2019 – present 

Business challenge

Our client is a world leading provider of lighting and electrical engineering solutions for cross-industry needs. In their constant research into global challenges that can be solved with technological innovations, our client recognized the critical need for alternative resources to feed a growing global population. With this in mind, they started exploring possibilities to apply their core expertise to LED lighting systems for indoor growing.

Working with scientists from Michigan State University, our client started developing a comprehensive indoor horticulture lighting system to illuminate plants and monitor their growth. They have already designed a set of hardware tools for artificial lighting to grow plants in unsuitable environments, including on space stations. Currently, our client is using their vertical farming lighting systems in collaboration with NASA to conduct a wide range of experiments on cultivating plants in specific space conditions.

To complement their hardware tools with the possibility to remotely control and monitor vertical farms, our client needed to develop a web application for indoor agriculture lighting. We offered expertise in developing vertical farming solutions together with experience in IoT connectivity and sensor-based technologies. This expertise was critical for integrating a new application into our client’s IoT platform that would process billions of measurements for end customers who install our client’s hardware and software for horticultural lighting.

Vertical farm lighting solution delivered

Intellias took full responsibility for the UI/UX design and architecture of the indoor horticulture lighting solution. While conducting in-depth research on user personas, our designers and engineers visited local vertical farms to observe work processes and cover all requirements that may arise during development.

As a result of our research, we recognized that managers of vertical farms belong to a tech-savvy group of farmers who are already experienced with AgriTech solutions. This led us to adopt a specific approach to web app design and suggested we needed to offer more comprehensive functionality. Our client encouraged us to focus on accessibility features for users with specific needs, such as weak eyesight and an inability to distinguish colors.

Intellias engineers developed a microservices architecture for our client’s vertical farm lighting solution that uses artificial light to automatically illuminate plants, improving their growth. The high level of flexibility offered by the microservices architecture allows our client to apply it both to the web solution and to the future mobile app.
Smart Vertical Farm Lighting and Monitoring Solution

Using IoT sensors and cameras, the indoor horticulture lighting and monitoring system can capture photos and videos of plants. Built-in artificial intelligence algorithms analyze data by matching images with a huge database. As a result, LED lighting in agriculture ensures production of healthy food and efficient use of land and resources thanks to vertical farming technologies such as:

  • Temperature, carbon dioxide, and humidity measurements with automatic adjustments
  • Automation of horticulture lighting systems to optimize climate conditions for indoor growing
  • AI algorithms to analyze crop statuses, including image recognition from photo and video monitoring data
  • Lighting scheduling for timely illumination of crops
  • An intuitive template-based user interface for farmers, which allows them to create the right conditions for specific crops

While our engineers were developing the web application, our designers were asked to create a user interface for the future mobile application that would enable farm managers to monitor plant conditions by measuring certain parameters and applying plant image recognition technology using only their mobile devices.
Smart Vertical Farm Lighting and Monitoring Solution

Using a farmer-friendly interface, users will be able to observe deviations in plant development and remotely adjust artificial lighting to improve conditions for plant growth. The indoor horticulture lighting and monitoring system also includes algorithms that can automatically adjust climate conditions within vertical farms to eliminate potential hazards to plant health. In addition, the vertical farm lighting solution covers all stages of plant growth, from seeding to maturing and blooming, adapting conditions to each stage.

Business outcome

Intellias successfully delivered a web version of an indoor horticulture lighting solution that allows users to manage an entire vertical farm in just one click. Our client is now planning to proceed with developing a mobile version of this solution.

Our client’s sensor-based vertical farm lighting software provides growers with real-time insights into farm conditions, including temperature, humidity, ventilation, and other vital factors and can automatically adjust lighting using AI algorithms trained on collected sensor data.

The vertical lighting solution can be used for farms operating on skyscraper rooftops, under extreme weather conditions, and in space. Farm managers can experiment with cultivation cycle features to design the best recipes for growing particular crops under certain conditions.

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