Tech-savvy Japanese agricultural workers can now look to the Cloud rather than the clouds for the latest updates on their crops thanks to a new greenhouse that can be monitored using a smartphone. Granpa Co. has recently teamed up with Japanese electronics giant Hitachi for the latest high-tech app to use its Cloud Computing service for their newest greenhouse and help farmers check on the status of their harvest without even having to step on the field. The greenhouses are linked to a server which automatically uploads data on the Cloud, allowing farmers to log in and view the information from a computer or smartphone, from anywhere at any time. Information relayed includes temperature in the greenhouse and the amount of sunlight on the crops.
The team is still deciding how much to charge for the server-linked Cloud Computing Service. At the moment, Granpa Co. designs soil-free systems for use in harsh environments such as deserts, some of which were used to grow vegetables in areas affected by last year’s tsunami in Japan. They say the system offers consistently high crop yields. The system in place in the Japanese city of Rikuzentakata sells for 35 million yen (£265,000) in Japan. The pair are hoping to sell ten systems in Japan and are looking to expand further into the Middle East and Africa.
Smartphones have already been used in other areas of agriculture. A partnership between PepsiCo and Cambridge University recently announced that it had developed a smartphone app that can predict potato crop yield by photographing and analysing the leaves of the plant. The iPhone app is currently being trialled across 46 UK potato fields that supply products to PepsiCo, particularly Walker’s crisps. In addition to using i-crop, PepsiCo is also using the Cool Farm Tool, a carbon emissions calculator developed by the University of Aberdeen.
Sources include: The Telegraph, Japan Daily Press, Wired
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