by George Nott

Autogrow API plus Amazon Alexa creates ‘world first talking AgTech system’

Jun 12, 2018
APIsBusiness IntelligenceCloud Computing

New Zealand agtech company Autogrow has launched what it claims to be the ‘first ever talking automated growing system’.

The company – which makes a range of hardware and software aimed at indoor growers – has connected its cloud-based IntelliGrow app’s API with Amazon’s Alexa so growers can ask for updates on greenhouse conditions and instruct it to take action.

“We think this is the best use-case of artificial intelligence today. We’ve basically turned a vocal sound into a machine command and proven integration of different systems is possible,” says Autogrow CEO Darryn Keiller.

“We have done it with Alexa, but we can also integrate with a growers HVAC or lighting system. The possibilities are limitless,” he added.

The system can answer a variety of questions related to readings from Autogrow’s range of sensors including EC, pH, humidity, temperature and light as well as action a release of nutrients into aeropnic and hydroponic systems.

Users can also ask ‘How’s the climate?’ for a summary of readings, and ‘List devices’ to be told all active sensors and equipment.

“One of our growers noted how modern apps like Apple’s Siri allows you to interact and how great it would be if he could ask his controller to update him on his crop environment but also instruct it to take action if required,” said CTO Jeffrey Law.

“Our solutions architect, Lee Dunn, relished the challenge and chose Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service due to their commitment to enable developers to voice-enable connected products.”

The company, established in Auckland in 1994, launched its cloud-based IntelliGrow application late last year. It utilises an open API to integrate with its own control systems and those from third-parties including lighting, HVAC, sensors and machine vision systems.

“This is a new tool we can build on to give our growers more flexibility and control in their business and from here, the possibilities are limitless,” added Keiller.

“At the heart of it, our burning drive is to help producers of crops grown in non-outdoor environments produce more yield, better quality crops, all year round. They can then generate more profit, enabling them to produce crops that the consumer wants, and when they want it,” he said.