The incorporation of digital sensors into Illumitex’s LED horticulture fixtures creates a unique data set that powers an open application market to help growers make better decisions faster, enabling higher yields, reduced variability and improved operations.
AUSTIN, TX (PRWEB) JUNE 05, 2017
Illumitex Inc., a leading manufacturer of horticultural LED fixtures, has received $4 million in equity funding from WP Global Partners and NEA to accelerate the development and deployment of its digital horticulture system. WP Global lead the recent $4 mm round of growth capital. "Under the leadership of Illumitex's new CEO, Jeff Bisberg, the Company is expanding into digital horticulture services that integrate technology-driven analytics into its LED product offerings," said Greg Oberholtzer, Senior Managing Director of WP Global Partners LLC. "Like other manufacturing sectors, agriculture and horticulture greenhouse growers will need Illumitex's technology to meet production standards and yield efficiencies," said Mr. Oberholtzer. WP Global Partners is private equity firm with investments across many industry sectors, including agriculture and food. WP Global has made several related investment in controlled environment agriculture, from seed companies to hydroponic greenhouses.
“Digital horticulture” is a term adopted by Illumitex CEO Jeff Bisberg to communicate the new capabilities of Illumitex’s products that go beyond controls, beyond IoT and beyond light, to create software tools that enable meaningful positive outcomes for its customers.
“Exponentially improving digital technology is breaking the boundaries of traditional computing devices,” Bisberg said. “This technology has become so powerful and so low cost that it can be used in everyday devices as simple as coffee cups and bike locks. With digital horticulture we use these powerful digital technologies that weren’t easily available before in the world of horticulture. Growing plants, at scale, is really hard and these technologies will absolutely help our growers to grow better and make better decisions.
“It may come as a surprise to some people, but the LED fixture is a natural logical place to locate digital technology in supplemented controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The light fixture is ubiquitous and is always there whether the plants are germinating, vegetative, flowering, or fruiting. We use its intimate proximity to the plants to gather data all of the time.”
Cameras and sensors to be heart of the digital horticulture data set
Bisberg said at the heart of Illumitex’s digital horticulture system is a unique data base that covers all corners and moments in the CEA space.
“Growers absolutely own this data in a secure architecture that allows them to give access to applications that want to consume their data to provide value and positive outcomes,” he said. “Growers will be able to develop their own applications or use partners’ applications to solve some of the problems that make consistent, high yield farming difficult. More information on partners and Illumitex’s introductory kit will be available later this year.
Improving the way growers grow
Photo: Illumitex’s IoT System Architect, Charlie Alicea, collects data from the in-house cherry tomato grow using Illumitex lights (credit: Illumitex)
Charlie Alicea, IoT system architect at Illumitex, said he is very excited about creating a digital horticulture system that will help growers predict, diagnose, monitor and improve all aspects of CEA operations.
“Whether a grower is producing indoors, in a greenhouse or in a vertical farm situation, we will have the ultimate collection of sensors to collect the best data,” Alicea said. “Making the system robust, reliable, secure and easy to use is a big part of our development. We are designing to deploy at scale to create a database that is truly unique and valuable.”