A low-cost and flexible system for environmental measurement and control in greenhouses based on decentralized autonomous technics, Ubiquitous Environment Control System (UECS), was proposed in 2004. The UECS is composed of autonomous nodes as the minimum units of measurement and control. The nodes can connect with each other through Ethernet or Wi-Fi and can communicate information regardless of manufacturer or model. To realize automation and efficiency of protected horticultural production, two consortia for UECS development and extension were established. During the last 10 years, the UECS has been used to apply environment control in large-scale greenhouses and plant factories. The stability and utility of the UECS have been demonstrated and verified in these practical cultivations. Current research and development are being carried out to install information and communication technology (ICT) systems to improve productivity in existing small- to medium-scale greenhouses in Japan. The flexibility and concept of the UECS have been very effective to enable sophisticated environmental control technology to be applied to small- and medium-scale greenhouses. In this chapter, self-fabricated UECS, the renewal of old environmental control systems using the UECS, and Sub-GHz radio band use for communicating UECS nodes among distributed greenhouses are discussed.
Part of the book: Automation in Agriculture