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Parrot's Flower Power Brings Gardening Online

11/03/2013 07:00:00 PM Eastern

PARIS — Parrot is bringing the Internet to the garden.

The company next month will launch Flower Power, a Bluetooth Smart wireless plant monitor and a dedicated app to help grow and maintain healthy plants.

Used in a pot or in the ground in close proximity to the plant, the monitor connects to a mobile device running the free app, developed in collaboration with international botanists. The app records data on soil moisture, fertilizer levels, ambient temperature and light intensity. Based on its library of more than 6,000 plants, trees and vegetables, the app analyzes data in real time and offers guidance in the maintenance of the plants, alerting the user to any action required. It also alerts to extreme conditions of heat or cold, or lack of light, among others.

One device can monitor as many Flower Power units as there are plants, or several plants can be monitored with a single sensor, as long as the plants are all homogeneous for watering and conditions such as soil drainage, sunlight/ sunshine and temperature, like in a window box.

When the app is launched, the screen of the mobile device shows a user’s garden, with a list of all connected Parrot Flower Power sensors as well as the pictures of the associated plants with an agenda list of all the tasks required that day and predictions for the coming days in terms of watering, addition of fertilizer, etc.

The range of the Flower Power is 16 feet to 82 feet from a device, depending on conditions, the company said.

Garden condition data is available in real time via graphs and icons, and the data is transmitted to the “Parrot Cloud” for analysis by algorithms. Data is symbolized to the user by icons, whose colors vary depending on the actions needed.

Parrot tested the system on 1,000 plants in the laboratories of Wageningen University in The Netherlands; the Center of Urban Horticulture at Washington University; the greenhouses of Agrocampus Ouest in Angers, France; and on Topager’s urban vegetable garden located on the roof of the AgroParisTech school in Paris.

Flower Power will ship next month with a $59.99 suggested retail, rolling out in Verizon company stores and in Brookstone stores and catalogs. Then units come in green, brown or blue. The sensors meet IPX5 and IPX7 water-resistant standards, are temperature resistant from 14 to 131 degrees F, and have a six-month battery life on one AAA cell.

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