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Global Electronic Companies are Growing Their Business through Hydroponics Patents

Hydroponics Patent Forecast®

June 29, 2021

TITLE SUGGESTION -  Global Electronics Companies Betting on Hydroponics

When you think of sustainable urban farming, a global electronics company is probably not the first to come to mind. However, Panasonic is quickly becoming a major player in the hydroponics industry. With 20 patent assets ranging from the hydroponic growing unit itself to lighting and pest management, Panasonic is well-positioned to compete with other growing system manufacturers, particularly in Asia.

In 2017, Panasonic installed a hydroponics warehouse in Singapore to grow lettuce and has continued to expand the operation to the nearly 13,000 square foot property that exists today. Panasonic’s warehouse produces 80 tons of produce annually and selling to local grocers and restaurants in an attempt to alleviate Asia’s issues with agricultural land scarcity and sustainability. 

Interestingly, Panasonic isn’t the only electronics company to enter into the hydroponics sector. Fujitsu, a Japanese IT communications company, has 11 patent assets relating to its hydroponic growing system dating back to 2014. The electronics company recently had a new publication in 2021 relating to a hydroponic growing unit with the goal of improving space utilization in hydroponic cultivation warehouses.

While it may seem like a major shift for electronic companies to enter into the hydroponics sector, when you consider the technology and processes used for indoor hydroponic systems, the connection becomes clearer. Global electronic companies are experts in manufacturing and scaling up enterprises, which has been a concern for hydroponic systems that are designed for smaller applications. These hydroponic warehouses also operate under the same clean-room protocols that electronic manufacturing does. Moreover, key hydroponic system components, such as lighting and environmental condition sensors, align closely with electronics that Panasonic and Fujitsu already manufacture. For example, Fujitsu is using its cloud-based software to collect data from sensors in its hydroponic warehouse and monitor the condition of the vegetables, allowing for more precise lighting and nutrient level adjustments. [LOOKS LIKE IT'S CONSUMER ELECTRONICS COMPANIES WITH EXPERIENCE IN ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS - NOT JUST ANY OLD ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURER]

Patent activity leads market activity, and the steady stream of patent applications from Panasonic and Fujitsu suggest that they are continuing to invest in the hydroponics sector. With such an overlap in technology between hydroponics and electronics manufacturing, it is likely that other large electronics manufacturers will join the market in an effort to quickly scale hydroponic warehouses to meet the needs of consumers.  NEST?  JOHNSON CONTROLS?

To keep up with trends and emerging leaders in the hydroponics space, check out the Hydroponics Patent Forecast®.

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