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Thank you IoT for saving our office plants!

Thank you IoT for saving our office plants!

As the digital transformation pushes forward full steam ahead, some of the cleverest innovations are popping up to make life safer, simpler, or just more entertaining. When I decided to tinker around with IoT, I was looking to accomplish just that. So now I present to you: Smart Planting.

To many of my colleagues, I’m the official office geek. Some people like to scroll social media or read a book in their free time. I like to experiment with electronics, create new programs, and build networks. So no one was surprised when I decided to put IoT to the test. And what better way than with our office plants! Because here’s the issue with office plants: no one really seems to know who’s responsible for watering them. So no one does! And that usually means we only notice them when they’re nothing more than a pile of dead, brown leaves in the corner. My Smart Planting system was designed to fix all that.

I decided that sensor technology would be the best. IoT and sensors are basically made for each other. There are sensors for detecting humidity, mildew, smoke, fire. And they all send alerts to our mobile devices to let us know when they need some attention. Sensors are also the backbone of predictive maintenance. They’re what Coresystems field service management software rely on for urgent real-time service. And what greater emergency is there than a dying office plant?! So I started by building a sensor and writing a simple program for it. Once it was ready, I placed the sensor in a potted plant. When the soil was dry, the sensor sent a service call to our solutions center. Water me, please! I’m not quite sure my colleagues of the development team appreciate the extra work, but our plants are definitely happy!

Are you intrigued? Do you want to create your own Smart Planting system for your office? It’s simple and affordable! Here’s what you need to get started:

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- ESP 8266: microcontroller with WLAN
- Moisture sensor, ideally made of non-corrosive refined metal
- Cable
- Batteries (or power source)
 Total: max. 16 EUR

 

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Once you’ve gotten everything, it’s time to start putting all the pieces together.

1. Use a soldering tool to connect the microcontroller, moisture sensor and wires.
2. If you want to receive notifications, write a program and define the values using Arduino, an open-source physical computing platform, or something like it.
3. Use a connector like Zapier or IFTTT to forward the signal to the application relaying the signal - in our case, we connected the sensor to our solutions center to trigger a service call.

If you would like to learn more about IoT, we suggest reading our White Paper: The Shift from Reactive to Proactive Service with Data Analytics and Internet of Things:

White Paper The Shift from Reactive to Proactive Service with Data Analytics and Internet of Things

Author: Samuel Barabas, Cloud Operation, Coresystems

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