Team Point 6 were up bright and early on Wednesday, enduring stressful taxi journeys and never-ending Pret queues to jump on the early flight to Amsterdam.
But was the crack-of-dawn flight worth it? Definitely.
Our client, Signify, was showing at world-renowned exhibition GreenTech. Considered a global meeting place for all professionals involved in horticulture technology, it focuses on the early stages of the horticulture chain and production issues relevant to growers.
As well as our keen interest in all things light, we are always enthusiastic to immerse ourselves in our clients’ worlds. Visiting GreenTech not only allowed us to interact with the team at Signify Horticulture, but gave us valuable insight into this highly innovative and fast-growing industry.
With over 450 exhibitors and a constant stream of talks and discussions, there was a lot to see, so we arrived at the exhibition space ready to get stuck in.
We grabbed a coffee and settled in for a talk with marketing technology expert Gary Allen called “Advertising in Cannabis: Opportunities and Risks in the Global Cannabis Sphere”.
Medicinal cannabis was a huge theme at GreenTech, with society having seen a recent switch in perception of this wonder-drug. Used to treat everything from epilepsy to chronic pain, many horticulture companies are now more than happy to promote their products for this use.
Gary discussed how the principles of marketing can be applied to such a difficult subject. With growers and investors among the audience members, he explained how the consumer doesn’t want to associate the product with its conventional, recreational image. Meaning; replace the joints and stoner references with a clearer image of how it will improve people’s lives.
Recently it was announced that food-delivery giant Ocado is investing in indoor farming. Horticulture technology company Priva – based in Westland, the Netherlands – is one of the businesses involved with the new scheme, aimed at delivering the freshest produce possible, in the least amount of time.
Priva are huge in the vertical farming game. Their exhibition stand was also huge, dominating the space with its presence.
They offer a total, integrated solution consisting of hardware, software and services to control and manage any horticultural operation. Essentially, they cover the whole process from start to finish. We’re exhausted just thinking about it.
With a sleek stand (and an even sleeker website), Quick Plug were only launched one year ago, but bring together 75 years of experience. They design and manufacture plugs, textiles and trays to help stabilise young plants. Made from peat, coir or bio-based fibres, they ensure fast, effective and uniform growth.
Robots, robots, everywhere. Not the cute Wall-E kind, or the terrifying type that looks as though it will kill you in your sleep. No, these were conveyor belts on steroids, programmed to transport produce quickly and safely from one side of a greenhouse to the other.
The Green Automation stand caught our eye, with its hypnotising video showing how the machine transported luscious lettuces around the gigantic space. The automated system creates a more stable growing environment for plants by controlling the variables. For example, it adjusts the gutters between the uniform rows according to how much space the plant needs.
Scissor lifts grew and shrank around us. Robots designed to water crops moved of their own accord. Netherlands-based brand Buitendijk-Slaman even had a motorised trolley – called TRACKMAN – that could travel around the greenhouse unmanned, harvesting produce and delivering it to the relevant areas. Not creepy at all.
As we witnessed the mechanics around us coming to life, we decided it would be a good opportunity to make a swift exit and head back to the safety of rainy London.