Fluence Leads New Trends in More Controllable Fixtures, Customized Portfolio Solutions Help Commercial Growers Succeed

Fluence, a leading supplier of LED horticultural lighting and business unit within Signify’s Digital Solutions division, has been committed to developing innovative LED horticultural lighting technology and providing customers with more customized lighting solutions. LEDinside had an opportunity to interview Jordon Musser, chief product officer of Fluence, to learn more about the company’s latest products, Fluence’s approach to the Internet of Things (IoT), and its specialized portfolio of solutions.


(Jordon Musser, Chief Product Officer of Fluence; image: Fluence)

Nowadays, Fluence offers time-varying spectrum control, which could reduce OpEx (operating expenses) and makes use of narrow spectral bands outside of the PAR range to produce the required morphological changes in plants. Fluence will continue to advance its monitoring and control solutions and invest in R&D to strengthen its capability to modify and customize a grower’s spectrum over time. “Fluence has collaborated with universities and research partners throughout Europe to conduct scientific studies about predicting crop morphological performance,” Jordon told LEDinside. The company also improves the performance of its LED horticultural fixtures to ensure even illumination, reducing hot zones underneath fixtures and spreading light evenly between devices. Currently, Fluence focuses on optics design, a way of approaching both photons and spectral uniformity to boost efficiency and save energy—which is critical in meeting growers’ demands for capital expenditure (CapEx) reductions. “You'll continue to see our team place an increased emphasis on higher outputs, uniformity and more controllability. Those are the three factors that we're looking at mostly,” Jordon added.


(Image: Fluence)

Pests and disease are another major problem that plagues growers, and there are a lot of lighting fixtures designed to increase the rate of killing pests and disease that have gained popularity in recent years, such as Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) light. However, considering the potential of UV-B light harming operators or plants, Fluence also explored how to design a lighting strategy that ensures the presence of natural predators to help farmers protect their crops from unwanted pests and disease. “Depending on the specific crop we are analyzing, we found that bumblebees or honeybees generally prefer a certain light spectrum and that if the greenhouse is run properly, with a few small changes in operating procedures, pests will not be produced by way of ‘natural enemies’, and thus, there will be no suitable environment for pests. Therefore, we can decrease the risks humans face from the more intense UV spectrum,” Jordon explained. This "Eco-Balance" strategy will produce positive outcomes for sustainable crop development.

In terms of the development of IoT applications, Fluence is actively developing the next generation of IoT data collection systems—which they call a "Digital Ceiling" approach—that will be a true horticultural IoT platform. This horticultural IoT platform can not only locate each crop and monitor plant health, but also monitor other locations. “If these sensors are installed near the crops, their accuracy will be higher. And our goal is to enable vendors of these advanced sensors to integrate with our products anywhere in the facility,” Jordon said. Fluence wants to provide a data backhaul so that its sensor network can communicate with a climate control computer in real time. In the future, Fluence will provide a wireless network that can meet the bandwidth requirements of these devices, allowing more consumers to expand the platform. Such technology could facilitate total visualization control for a facility, highlighting valuable data that will further help the development of agronomy, botany and biology technology.

Developing customized portfolio solutions is the key feature of Fluence's product management strategy. The company has a professional and experienced customer service team that provides the most optimized solution for each customer's specific growing method. Different growers have different lighting needs. For instance, commercial growers for traditional crops are more concerned about total cost because their crops are less profitable by orders of magnitude and require less functional integrity for spectrally generalized lighting products. Specialty crop growers, such as cannabis growers, have different cost sensitivities and are more interested in factors like light intensity. Furthermore, as more growers continue adopting greenhouses and multi-layer or indoor single-air facilities in the U.S., product lines are actually starting to merge. “Fluence has also released research white papers about intercanopy lighting and continues to explore a variety of different cross-lighting approaches,” he added.


(Image: Fluence)

Regarding global horticultural market trends, Jordon is hopeful for the future of the LED horticultural lighting market, and he believes that the total new installed LED horticultural lighting penetration rate may continue to grow exponentially as growers see the benefits firsthand, and that the lighting supplier market will continue to move toward consolidation. “We've seen a recovery and stabilization through 2023 following energy price volatility in Europe and changes to cannabis legislation. But we’re seeing that our customers are now getting comfortable with the new normal, and we expect the market will perform better in the next year. Horticulture lighting is more sensitive to government rebate trends and energy prices compared to the general lighting market,” Jordon told LEDinside.
Fluence supplies unique, customized LED horticultural lighting solutions to growers in North America, Australia and throughout EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), helping them to achieve their cultivation goals.

 

TrendForce 2023 Global LED Lighting Market Analysis-1H23
Publication dates: February 10, 2023; July 31, 2023
Language: Traditional Chinese/English
File format: PDF and EXCEL
Number of pages: 100 (in each publication)

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