Brussels home to first IoT-connected urban vegetable garden
It’s the biggest rooftop vegetable garden in Brussels, but that’s not all: it also helps staff suffering from burnout as they recover. ENGIE has joined forces with B-Sprouts to use the Internet of Things to connect budding gardeners with their crops. Let’s take a look!
October 4 saw a lot of people on the roof of the Foodmet, the market located at the abattoirs in Anderlecht. Including Bianca Debaets. But what exactly was the Brussels State Secretary for the Digital Transition doing in the middle of a vegetable garden? Officially launching it, of course! Because this is more than just a garden… It is the largest urban vegetable garden combining digital innovation with social commitment.
Collaboration between B-Sprouts and ENGIE M2M
One of the goals of this new urban farm is to provide training in urban agriculture so that people suffering from burnout or exhaustion can boost their confidence and find greater peace and tranquillity. Workshops are therefore organised by Atelier Groot Eiland. But this social and professional reintegration project goes a step further by harnessing the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to boost crop yield.
“Urban farming involves small – sometimes even very small – cultivated areas, making it even more important to achieve maximum yield”, stresses Jürgen Coetsiers, CTO of B-Sprouts, the company behind the project. “What gets measured gets managed. Hence the importance of connecting the garden to the Internet.” In collaboration with ENGIE M2M – the ENGIE subsidiary deploying Sigfox, a high-capacity network dedicated to the Internet of Things – it developed prototype ‘node’ sensors. These sensors allow gardeners to monitor the growth of their crops online.
Harnessing IoT to maximise crop yields
Using this network, the sensors concealed in the garden can send the latest data – ground temperature, sunlight intensity, moisture level, and so on – to the cloud every 15 minutes. As a result, gardeners can take whatever action is needed to care for their vegetables and maximise crop yield.
As you can see, no area can escape the changes brought by the Internet and information technologies. With the Internet of Things, ENGIE aims to develop new solutions to innovatively and sustainably meet its customer’s needs.