GreenPeak powers wireless greenhouse of the future
Kronos selects GreenPeak's low-power mesh technology for mobile harvesting carts
April 22, 2008 - Utrecht – The Netherlands – GreenPeak Technologies, a leader in battery-free communication technology for wireless sense and control applications, today announced that Kronos – a global provider of human capital management solutions – has selected GreenPeak's low-power wireless mesh networking technology for one of their wireless terminals.
Hortimax, a Kronos VAR (value added reseller), is active in greenhouse harvesting management systems. In one of their projects, a harvest administration system is used to monitor the activity and location of individual mobile harvesting carts. This solution is based on the Kronos wireless terminal and uses GreenPeak's wireless mesh technology to transmit data from individual mobile harvesting carts to routers, which enables the data to be gathered and analyzed in a central coordinator unit. The wireless technology allows the monitoring of individual pickers' efficiency. Compared to the old situation, where only the average picking weight per corridor and not per individual picker was known, the new system was able to increase overall greenhouse productivity by 15%.
The ability to track which areas have been harvested and how much has been picked also enables greenhouse operators to quickly implement corrections in spraying and fertilizing patterns and scheduling, thereby allowing for a richer harvest. The system can also improve other greenhouse logistics such as scheduling of the packaging unit and just-in-time transportation to market, which results in better cost control.
A key factor in Kronos' decision to select GreenPeak's wireless networking technology was its excellent performance in radio unfriendly environments. GreenPeak's multi-hop, mesh technology enables each wireless sensor and actuator device, utilizing integrated mesh software, to act as a repeater for other wireless devices even if one or more are blocked by metal, dense foliage or high humidity levels.
The sensor nodes form a mesh network by sending messages through intermediate nodes from source to destination. This approach enables the network to span larger distances (even when individual nodes can only see a local area of the network), allowing site-wide wireless coverage throughout the greenhouse.
"We first tested WiFi, but the radio coverage in the greenhouse was not satisfactory," said Alain Van der hoeven, VP Marketing and Business Development Kronos Western Europe, "We also tried a ZigBee solution from one of GreenPeak's competitors, but that failed because transmission from mobile devices (the harvest carts) was not supported. On top of that, the local support was below our expectations, so we scouted the market again for a better supplier. We found that GreenPeak is the only company that can provide a wireless mesh network solution that really works and is well supported."
Kronos has been working with GreenPeak for more than a year now, but GreenPeak's technology advantage was not the only differentiator. According to Alain Van der hoeven, "In addition to GreenPeak's expertise and outstanding competence in the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee area, we also appreciate their high level of customer support and responsiveness. We enjoy working with their team, and we have built a partnership, rather than a customer/supplier relationship. I'm confident we will continue working with GreenPeak for other wireless applications as well."
Kronos Incorporated empowers organizations around the world to effectively manage their workforce. At Kronos, people are experts who are solely focused on delivering software and services that enable organizations to reduce costs, increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and ultimately enhance the level of service they provide. Kronos serves customers in more than 60 countries through its network of offices, subsidiaries, and distributors. Widely recognized as a market and thought leader in managing the workforce, Kronos has unrivaled reach with more than 30 million people using a Kronos solution every day. Learn more about Kronos at www.kronos.com.
Formed through the recent merger of Xanadu Wireless and Ubiwave, GreenPeak is a leader in battery-free communication technology for wireless sense and control applications. This revolutionary technology, based on the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee wireless networking standard, utilizes energy-harvesting to facilitate battery-free operation in a totally wireless environment, without the need for either communications or power connectivity. GreenPeak is based in Utrecht, The Netherlands and has offices in Zele, Belgium and Tokyo, Japan. GreenPeak is backed by venture capitalists: DJF Esprit (UK), GIMV (Belgium), Motorola Ventures (USA) and Allegro Investment Fund (Belgium).