The most exciting thing for us was being able to leverage Onica’s expertise in AWS and IoT to build a product that works and is operating farms the way we need it to.”
Co-Founder & COO, Local Roots Farms
The future of farming
Local Roots Farms is a company that designs, manufactures, and operates high tech, vertical, indoor farming solutions near distribution centers in order to improve food access, reduce environmental impact, and produce better food at lower costs, with the overall mission of improving global health.
Operate more efficiently by remotely managing farms with AWS Greengrass
Local Roots farms wanted to leverage sensors to create an IoT solution to remotely manage their farms and operate more efficiently by eliminating the need for manual inputs and control. They hired Onica to design an IoT solution on AWS that uses automation to coordinate the communication of farm environments and remotely control environmental factors such as temperature, CO2, water, and light. We also created a series of tools and processes for when a new container comes online and developed APIs for data ingest and storage in order to utilize data for future machine learning applications.
Onica began by creating an 8-week POC that demonstrated the deployment and utilization of AWS Greengrass for an IoT controlled container environment.
The project was largely split into two parts. The first was focused around AWS Greengrass and the sensors inside the containers. The goal was to integrate the sensors to coordinate communication with each other, then transfer relevant data to AWS Greengrass and create a way for AWS to send commands down to the correct container when changes in the environment were needed. This resulted in the creation of tools and processes for the onboarding of new containers to the existing environment so that communications would be established securely and easily.
The second component of the project was around creating APIs to feed collected data to Local Roots Farms’ web and mobile applications. We helped design the API, which would later be used with AWS AppSync, and coordinated the provisioning, management, and automation associated with it.
Onica created value by allowing Local Roots Farms to remain lean while leveraging Onica’s AWS expertise to build a product that helped operate farms in the way they needed. The system allows Local Roots Farms to operate more efficiently by eliminating the need for manual inputs and control. Every farm brought online would normally require the equivalent of two full-time employees to operate the environment. With the system in place, one expert horticulturist can control the environment of multiple farm containers from the cloud.
The control from the cloud also allows for better, more consistent control of environments, leading to higher yields of food while using less power and water. Remote monitoring creates reduced down time and crop loss in the farms, increasing cost savings. The cloud also collects and stores sensor data that can be used with future machine learning to produce and improve healthier crops.
In the future, Local Roots Farms hopes to leverage machine learning with the data sets collected from crop sensor data to be able to visually measure nutrient content of plants, then tune the environment to increase the desired nutrients.
Onica is one of the largest and fastest-growing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partners in the world, helping companies enable, operate, and innovate in the cloud. From migration strategy to operational excellence and immersive transformation, Onica is a full spectrum AWS integrator. Learn more at www.onica.com.