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Helping ideas grow with Plant Buddy


Jun 30, 2019 #Business, #Environment

How can gardeners and food growers use less water without affecting the quality of what they produce?

That is the question being asked by Northumbrian Water and IBM during a sprint at this year’s Innovation Festival.

‘Plant Buddy’ combines an information sharing ‘platform’ and sensors to allow growers to share tips and advice and receive specific information about how much water they need and when. This will help growers to maintain their plants and crops without over or under-watering, and ensure water does not go to waste.

Now, Northumbrian Water and IBM want to test ways of taking Plant Buddy even further, providing more ways to help plant lovers and food growers to use less water without compromising quality.

One way of doing this may be to provide a way for people to share plant tips. There is an opportunity to create a community of growers who can support each other to save water using Plant Buddy.

Led by IBM, the sprint will develop new opportunities for Plant Buddy and new ways for Northumbrian Water to create a strong community for green fingered customers.

Elaine Erskine, Strategic Research and Assurance Manager for Northumbrian Water said: “Water is essential to the growth of healthy plants and food, but we want to work with producers and horticulturalists to help them use less water without affecting the quality of what they grow.

“Plant Buddy is a fantastic piece of technology that can really make a difference, providing vital information about how much water plants need. We want to develop this even further and see if we can create a virtual community of growers helping each other to use less water while still producing excellent results.

“We’re really looking forward to working with our sprint partners, IBM, at the Innovation Festival, as well as our special guests, Incredible Edible, to ‘plant this seed’ and come up with some really creative solutions that we can take forward.”

Darren Bentham, Executive Partner, Global Business Services, IBM UK and Ireland, said: “We want to find ways in which Northumbrian Water can provide a platform for growers to share ideas and create a community beyond the allotment. If we do this, it will work for growers, help Northumbrian Water to support plant lovers and influence the amount of water that gets used.”

The Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival 2019 takes place from 8 to 12 July at Newcastle Racecourse.

To find out what the team comes up with during the Innovation Festival, you can follow the action on social media by following @NorthumbrianH2O on Twitter and Facebook, or by visiting www.innovationfestival.org.

By NWater