Is there a benefit for growers to switch to all LED lights compared to the traditional lights used for growing?
The jury is still out on this one, although LEDs do seem to be where the industry is headed. The technology has come a long way, and growers understanding of how to best utilize this technology has as well. Interestingly, some recent research seems to show that a more mixed spectrum seems to be better at canopy penetration, but the LEDs become less efficient compared to reds and blues. As we learn more about various spectrum combinations and their impact on grows, we believe you will still see a mix of lighting solutions for some years to come.
You recently launched some new technology called Soleil Technologies that will give clients specific information on each plant. Can you tell us more about this technology and what it will mean for the cannabis industry?
Soleil Technologies, we believe, provides the most advanced cultivation technology in the industry today. We’re essentially borrowing the same technologies Silicon Valley is applying to industries like manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare. That is, large volumes of very specific sensor data, which serves as a resource to the cultivator to make immediate, real-time decisions about their facility, as well as serve as the basis for future machine learning and automation of a grow.
There are two separate products under Soleil Technologies: Soleil Sense and Soleil Control. Soleil Sense consists of very advanced wireless sensor networks in a new architecture known as a High-Density Internet-of-Things (HD-IoT) model. While sensors have been used in agriculture for decades, these sensors are far more advanced, because you can deploy them at the per-plant level and scale those sensor networks to millions of square feet. They use a proprietary wireless protocol that is ultralow power, but capable of leveraging the sensor next to it to provide a detailed map of the microclimate and other conditions in each grow. This information is then sent to our Soleil 360 platform, a cloud-based interface that enables cultivators to view this map and take immediate action from anywhere with an internet connection.
The second product group, Soleil Control, is a new style of environmental control system with an open architecture that makes it capable of controlling almost any aspect of your facility. Out of the box it works as a fertigation mixer and controller, but lighting and other attributes can be deployed over time. Together, Soleil Sense and Control solutions represent an unprecedented end-to-end platform for connected agriculture capable of generating new levels of productivity, compliance, and return on investment (ROI) for large-scale precision horticulture.
Do you have any advice for people just getting started with their cannabis growing facilities or people in states that just legalized medical or recreational cannabis?
Do your due diligence. Attend as many conferences and panels as you can. Speak with everyone you can with experience in this industry. That means people that have experience running large grow facilities, cannabis or otherwise. Leverage the wealth of knowledge that’s out there. And, just to be a little self-serving, you can do a lot worse that partnering with design and technology experts like urban-gro. We bring a wealth of experience to the table and can solve a lot of your headaches.