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How to Use the Internet of Things for Your Garden


Everybody's talking about the fancy new Internet of Things -- but what does that mean? And how do you get ‘Internet of Things’ functionality into your hydroponics setup?

Essentially, the Internet of Things is simply an idea that has been ripe for development for some time now. The idea is that you can hook up machines and appliances to the Internet the same way that you do with devices. Then the functionality of the machines and appliances is connected to data ports that can send information around the net.

This benefits us in an enormous number of ways. We can get geolocational, climate and operational data all at our fingertips. We can get data from our refrigerators and toasters and washing machines right to our smart phones. And this has a number of astounding applications hydroponics as well.

Plan Your Setup

When you're looking to get Internet of Things installations into your hydroponics garden, think about what is vital for your needs. Do you need to know what the temperature is inside a grow box? What the pH value of a reservoir is? Or do you need to know how tall plants are getting or how close they are to harvest? You plan your IoT installations around these details.

Set Up Sensors

Next, you want to get the sensor technology and install it where it can do the most good. For instance, if you're looking at monitoring water used for a pump, you install the sensor near the area of pump operations. If you're using a sensor to check temperature, figure out where you can put that particular sensor. You need to get these embedded into your environment in order to achieve that Internet of things functionality.

Link to Software

This is the tricky part -- those physical sensors need to be linked to software that can help you to parse results, send data, and even, in some cases, to control operational aspects of your grow area. But how is this done?

Unfortunately, you'll have to look through the box and check the owner's manual for how to really set these sensor technologies up correctly. Here is a tip -- some broader platforms like Arduino make sensor implementation easier because they streamline your learning curve with a comprehensive platform approach. So that can cut down on your study time for figuring out how to get your sensors working the way you want.

Linking Acquired Data to the Internet

Once you have the data coming from the sensors into the software platforms you've selected, you need that data to get to specific places on the Internet. Most commonly, you want the data sent to your smartphone or other mobile device. That way, you can get information about what your plants are doing even while you're away from the space. So you need to maybe download an app, or figure out some other way to get that data streamed into your own small mobile device desktop.

For more on the ins and outs of technology with hydroponics, check out Dealzer and what we offer to a growing community of gardeners.

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