When I return from a trip abroad flying over the Netherlands, I see the beautiful glass greenhouses often hundreds of meters long, below me. Our Dutch pride. Hypermodern production centers where growers, day in and day out, grow passionately beautiful, high-quality crops. Obviously, this is not an easy job. The industry is plagued by a chronic shortage of manpower. Production must be faster and cheaper. This also makes it difficult for growers to commit to volumes, prices and delivery dates.
As a result, the sector has to work smarter. As in other sectors, big data plays an unmistakable role in this. However, these essential data are often complex and dispersed available - via different systems and organisations within horticulture. In fact, there are 'data silos' that can have a negative impact for the grower. For instance, fewer opportunities for analysis, more difficult forecasting and a weaker starting position in negotiations.
Smart bundling of data
With these challenges in mind, we recently worked with our developers and progressive growers on a new, open web-based platform. This is to bundle available data on, for example, climate and root zone development. And to make this data accessible for analysis in a user-friendly interface. We call this platform e-Gro. I am proud of the official launch of e-Gro in the Benelux at HortiContact 2019. Growers, media and other interested parties will see a demo of this. I look forward to this.
Transition in cultivation
With e-Gro we are completing an exciting and yet new transition: from cultivation in soil to growing media solutions to smart solutions in data-driven cultivation. This development fits within our aim to realize a maximum result with minimal effort: Precision Growing. Only now supported by digitization. In this way, you can manage your horticultural business 24/7 with an open software platform. We are at the rise of further digitization of the sector. Terms such as horticulture 4.0, big data, machine learning and AI are buzz words that are no longer strange to the horticultural sector.
Several growers are currently testing our platform. The first reactions are very positive. That gives me energy.
Are you active in the field of data-driven cultivation? I would like to learn from your experiences and exchange knowledge.