Use Technology to Become a Better Gardener with Fliwer

August 30, 2013

1:00 pm

If you weren’t blessed with a green thumb, Michigan’s Inolve USA  can give you a helping hand. More than two years in the R&D making, the company has finally released a system that enables intelligent and sustainable plant care for gardeners of all skill levels.

Dubbed “Smart Plant Care,” Fliwer is a set of devices that allows users to not only care for their plants, but also to communicate with them. The Fliwer Sensor measures light intensity, temperature, soil moisture, humidity, and fertilizer levels so your plants can “tell” you what they need. Fliwer can be used on multiple plants in the same area, as long as they are planted in similiar soil.

With Fliwer Control, users can adjust their irrigation system to be efficient, according to plant needs and weather conditions. Fliwer is compatible with all solenoid valves, from 9V to 24V in DC/AC, and it can handle up to six of them. You can even access information via WiFi or 3G to Fliwer Cloud and the online platforms.

Fliwer’s Artificial Intelligence module allows the device to send tips and advice to users, depending on sensor information and weather forecasts. And, the my Fliwer Community offers a customized dashboard of users’ gardens, as well as a platform for sharing gardening advice with the Fliwer community.

I asked Marc Capilla, the founder of Involve, a few questions about his company, and I also couldn’t resist asking him for some gardening advice as well.  Here’s what he had to say:

Tech Cocktail:  What inspired you to start Fliwer? 

Marc Capilla:  First the fact that founders are R&D engineers that have been working developing consumer electronic products for multinational enterprises of the sector.

On the other hand we wanted to do a product that solves a problem to the society which is proper plant maintenance and optimal management of associated resources such as water and energy. All while taking care of the sustainability of our environment.

Fliwer was born to manage plant care intelligently and with knowledge of what is really happening to the plants. Managing efficiently the resources and avoiding irrigation timers or act by intuition which are unsustainable.

Tech Cocktail:  Are you gardeners yourselves?

Capilla  In our family there is a culture of farming and gardening, close family members are involved or working on this field.

Given this link, we realized that there were problems, and we believe that the technology could solve it.

Tech Cocktail:  What kinds of applications do you see Fliwer involved in, in the marketplace?

Capilla:  The system is designed to what we call “Smart Plant Care.” The system is fully scalable and can go from domestic users that have the plant in a pot or a small garden to a large city park, golf course, or a farm.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s the best plant(s) for busy entrepreneurs to grow, considering their busy schedules?

Capilla:  Fliwer can automate tasks, such as irrigation, and ask for user intervention only when it is strictly necessary. For that reason, Fliwer can act as a personal gardener for people with busy schedules.

But our recommendations are:

Indoor:

  • Neanthe bella palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Photos (Epipremnum aureum)

Outdoor:

  • Gazania
  • Geranium

Check out Fliwer for yourself by visiting their website, where you can see renderings of the technology at work, underground. You can also wrap your future green thumbs around your own Fliwer device in just a couple of weeks at Kickstarter, starting at $199.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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