Fathom’s Bluetooth real-time location system accurately tracks plants to improve efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance for cannabis growers
Sept 27, 2017 – Vancouver, Canada and Los Angeles, USA – Fathom and Gimbal today announced they have successfully completed a pilot project that proves the ability of Fathom’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) real-time location system (RTLS) to provide reliable, accurate and automatic tracking of plants in a cannabis cultivation facility.
Traditionally, plant tracking has been performed using RFID. Fathom’s and Gimbal’s BLE technology can happily co-exist with these systems, but addresses several frustrations uncovered through Fathom’s interviews with growers, including:
- Failed readings due to electromagnetic interference (EMI) from the lighting system
- RFID tags being unreadable after becoming submerged in dirt or water
- Scanners picking up RFID tags on the other side of walls (resulting in reporting plants in the wrong rooms)
- Scanners needing to be very close to identify specific plants, which is particularly frustrating when searching for a plant during an audit
- Cost of manual labor and human error when scanning tags
Coming from ten years in the GPS location industry, Fathom spent $5 million over five years developing its subscription-based RTLS and collaborated with Gimbal to solve the problems involved in automatically tracking thousands of cannabis plants in a typical grow operation. The system had to successfully address real-world obstacles like signal attenuation through dense foliage, crowded grow rooms, humidity and EMI, while providing 100% room-level plant location.
The Fathom system was installed at a cannabis cultivation facility in Denver, Colorado. Fathom Hubs were deployed around the perimeter of each room and Gimbal’s S10 Bluetooth tags were attached to plants. The results showed plants in the correct room 100% of the time – even in the nursery where accuracy down to 6 inches (15cm) is required. Fathom’s system also detects unexpected plant moves and reports on system performance, such as warning when a battery needs replacing (approximately every 18 months with Gimbal’s S10 tag).
“Accurate location reporting of cannabis plants is a regulatory requirement in most jurisdictions,” said Guylain Roy-MacHabée, Founder and CEO at Fathom. “As the industry expands throughout the US and Canada, Fathom gives growers an efficient way to maintain compliance.”
“But this is just the beginning,” he added. “Once a plant is connected via BLE, additional sensors can easily be incorporated to report plant level information such as temperature, humidity, CO2 or soil pH. Knowing this information can help a grower increase both yield and quality.”
Fathom is now working with “seed-to-sale” solution providers to integrate their software with Fathom’s subscription based RTLS service. This will allow the plants’ locations to be automatically submitted to state-mandated systems such as metrc™.
“The availability of Bluetooth Low Energy devices has changed the way asset tracking is performed. We can now offer low-cost, automatic tracking to markets like cannabis cultivation so they can scale without risking increased compliance violations or incurring high labor costs,” said Don Norton, Chief Revenue Officer of Gimbal. “Our BLE tags offer the performance, extended battery life, and ability to work flawlessly in hot, humid, and high EMI environments. We are really excited to be working with Fathom to bring this innovative plant tracking solution to the cannabis market.”
About Gimbal Inc.
Gimbal is a marketing and advertising automation platform powered by physical-world data. Using its own hardware and software, Gimbal enables brands, media agencies, and marketers to improve their campaigns and provides precise location data for logistics and asset tracking customers. Gimbal was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing privately-held companies in the United States and operates offices out of Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago.
About Fathom Systems
Fathom represents the next generation of indoor location technology, utilizing Bluetooth to enable asset tracking and RTLS with 2 meters or better (up to 15 cm/6 inches) accuracy. Our subscription-based location as a service (LaaS) offering enables specialized Fathom Hubs deployed at a customer’s premise to locate any BLE device within the facility. Fathom’s cloud architecture provides reliable, scalable and simple integration with a customer’s existing asset tracking, business intelligence, compliance or control systems. Fathom provides greater coverage than RFID, better accuracy than Wi-Fi and a lower cost than UWB.
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Cannabis Plant with Gimbal Tag Photos