Manage Booking Hydroponics: The Next Generation Farming Approach

Hydroponics involves the process of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in sand, gravel, or liquid, without using soil. Due to the increasing success rates associated with the commercial hydroponics industry and the increasing difficulty of growing crops on soil, the hydroponics market is expanding exponentially. Many off-season fruits and vegetables can be produced around the year under controlled conditions using hydroponics. The main countries actively practicing hydroponics are the United States, Australia, Spain, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Mexico, and China. The major crops that are grown hydroponically are cucumber, lettuce, tomato, peppers, strawberry, leafy vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, etc. This method is widely adopted, due to its integrated pest management approaches.Hydroponics – Market DynamicsHydroponics is termed as one of the fastest-growing soil-less farming practice at a global level, wherein, a tailored nutrient solution, which is of superior quality, helps in the growth of a plant in a sustainable manner. One of the major growth drivers for the hydroponic industry is the documented higher yield as compared to the traditional agricultural techniques. Along with profit farming, growing consumption of exotic, salad crops, and increasing need for global food security are the factors that are expected to drive the market. Lack of awareness regarding the soil-less agriculture system and initial high cost are the factors that might hinder the market growth. Increased cultivation of medicinal plants, globally, and customized farming approach may provide future growth opportunities for the industry.


Will hydroponics revolutionize the way of irrigation?According to a report by a market intelligence firm, the global hydroponics market is estimated to record a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period 2017-2022, and the market value is anticipated to reach USD 30,849.83 million by 2022. The market growth of hydroponics is majorly due to the increasing focus on adopting innovative and efficient technologies to improve the yields. Tomato is one of the primary crops grown through the hydroponic system, globally. According to a USDA/ERS report, the volume of hydroponic tomato imports from countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and the Netherlands, has increased drastically, and the imports now account for a significant share of the total US fresh market tomato imports. Lettuce and leafy vegetables, pepper, cucurbits, and other vegetables, are being increasingly cultivated hydroponically.According to our analysts, Europe is traditionally the largest market for hydroponics, implementing advanced techniques in hydroponic smart greenhouse horticulture. The matured European market demand for hydroponics is led by countries, such as the Netherlands, Spain, and France. Asia-Pacific forms the second largest market for hydroponics, which is expected to grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. The North American region led by the United States and Canada, is expected to grow at an improved pace during 2017-2022.


Competition AnalysisThe global market for hydroponics is concentrated within major technically advanced regions. Greentech Agro LLC, Argus Control Systems, Logiqs BV, Koninklijke Philips NV, General Hydroponics Inc., Greentech Agro LLC, and Lumigrow Inc., are some of the major players that are active in the industry. R&D pertaining to the region- and area-specific requirements is being consistently adopted by industry players. Mergers and acquisitions are also one of the key activities that are adopted by the major players. Lawn-and-garden giant, Scotts Miracle-Gro, spent USD 136 million for Gavita, a Dutch grow lighting and hardware company. Through its subsidiary, Hawthorne Gardening Co., Scotts Miracle-Gro invested in companies, such as Boulder’s AeroGrow, an indoor gardening company, and acquired California’s General Hydroponics Inc. for USD 130 million. The company also spent USD 77.1 million to acquire Botanicare.

Artificial Intelligence and Our Humanity

We hear and read about it everywhere these days.

You hear people saying, “The future is now.”

“We have to give way to technology.”

“We’ll be better off and live better lives (maybe not even work) if we let AI do it.”

Yes, technology is here, and we are living at the dawn of the age of AI, and it’s a topic that we’ve seen and heard a lot more about this year.

I wonder what the opportunities will be for the average person. You know, the person who is not the founder of Facebook, Google or Amazon, which have placed such high barriers to entry that it will be rare for companies to break into that stratospheric league.

What’s Going to Happen with Humans?

Do you wonder what’s going to happen to the average person? AI are taking over customer service, writing, design, sales, law, and medicine. As a businessman and social entrepreneur, the reality is that if you’re looking at things in a purely bottom-line manner, using AI could make a whole lot of sense. They never get sick. They work 27/7/365. They never stop and can indeed produce more than any human can–in a lifetime. From a pure dollars and cents perspective, AI can make a lot of sense.

But then you have to wonder about the broader implications of AI, and I sense that society has not even started to get its head around the implications. If you pay even a little attention to the news, then you know that a few months ago Facebook engineers shut down and pulled the plug on AI that decided on its own to go ahead and develop a new language. It was more efficient for them to get the work done, but humans did not understand. It seems that the language was basic, but what happens if the AI had not been shut down? Would they have developed a highly sophisticated way to communicate and operate that completely excised human?

I agree that technology can be beneficial to society. I think most people would agree that we’d prefer to send a bot into a dangerous situation, say war, rather than ask our men and women to put their lives on the line. I think there’s something to be said for the rapidly expanding role of robotics in medicine. For example, the fact that we’ve started to print human organs with 3D is a significant advancement, and we have to hope that many lives will be saved.

The Deeper Issues Related to AI

My concern as I dig deeper into the issue of AI is what the implications are for the human race, and yes, that even includes how we in the philanthropic sector connect with each other and with the world we serve. As I noted in the previous article I wrote, the Partnership on AI, which is a collaborative effort between mega-companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and leading non-profits such as UNICEF and Human Rights are trying to lead the conversation about the implications of AI in all of our lives.

If you tune in even a little bit into the conversation about AI, you know that we have to deal with many issues, including some of the following:

Safety: We don’t want to be in a situation where AI is created, and it is not obligated to protect human life.
Transparency: We had the recent situation with Facebook where they shut down AI, but who rules (government or business) when someone says “Houston, we have a problem”?
Labor and the Economy: Whose responsibility is it to train people as AI develops and what will their work functions be in light of a much more powerful AI partner? Will people even have jobs?
Society: For communities around the world, which certainly includes nonprofit and philanthropic work, what will be the impact of AI on philanthropy, education, charitable work, science, private/public partnerships, etc.

The reality seems to be apparently developing that there are few areas–if any–that AI will not touch.

Humanity’s Competitive Advantage

When I read about issues related to AI, I think of one thing–humanity. I believe we all have to get into the conversation now about the implications of AI. I’m someone who likes and values people precisely because we are imperfect. There is a lot of prose and poetry in the human condition. AI cannot love, demonstrate courage, hope, dream, feel fear, etc.

In my mind, those qualities are what makes humans so much better than AI. Our values are our competitive advantage in comparison to AI. There is something intrinsic within people (some call it a soul or spirit, others connect the scientific dots of all the elements that make up our brains, hearts, and bodies) that makes us unique, and yes, even exceptional.

We have a serious conversation that has to take place about AI, but it involves all humans, and we have to pay attention before we have a situation we did not bargain for in the age of technology.

The Path for Humanity as it Greets AI

In many ways, I hope that AI begins to break down the things that divide us and that we discover that as humans, we are all the same. We are. Take away the issues of money, race, religion, gender and everything else; we all bleed red.

We all hurt.

We all hope.

We all dream.

The way I see it, the time is now for humanity. It can be our finest hours at the dawn of a new age–provided we all get out of our own way and engage in a global dialogue about humanity in the age of AI.