OSRAM acquires Fluence

– Osram acquires one of the world’s leading suppliers of smart grow lighting
– US-based Fluence expands Osram’s portfolio of horticultural systems
– Osram is pioneering the digital automation of smart farming solutions by
combining intelligent lighting, sensors, and smart software

Osram is taking the next step in its quest to become the leading provider of
intelligent plant growth solutions by acquiring Fluence Bioengineering, Inc.
of Austin, Texas. Fluence was founded in 2013, has approximately 95 employees
and its 2017 sales were in the mid-double-digit millions of dollars (USD). The
company specializes in LED-based horticultural systems, using Osram LED chips,
for a wide variety of applications including vertical farming, especially in
urban areas. Potential crops range from salad greens and herbs to medicinal
plants. Osram and Fluence have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

“Fluence is opening the floodgates to a huge future market,” said Stefan
Kampmann, CTO of OSRAM Licht AG. “Fluence’s extensive knowledge of the
horticulture market and possible applications, combined with Osram’s expertise
in lighting technologies, sensors and connectivity, will position us as a
leading horticultural solutions provider.” Associated smart farming software
can be integrated into Osram’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform
Lightelligence, which brings the digitalization of lighting control to a new
level. By combining and analyzing sensor data, Lightelligence enables
significant progress in automation and intelligent applications far beyond
lighting.

Increasing population and continued urbanization are intensifying the demand
for fresh food, especially in densely populated cities around the world. To
meet the needs of these areas, growers must tap the potential of greenhouses
and vertical cultivation systems, utilizing smart lighting, sensor systems and
artificial intelligence. In addition to growing healthy and tasty food,
vertical farms reduce the need for long-distance transportation routes. They
also lessen the need for pesticides, fertilizers and excessive water use, and
ultimately reduce spoilage. These technologies, which also can be used for
growers of medicinal plants, contribute to the goal of sustainable
agriculture.

LED-based solutions from Fluence help growers meet their yield and
sustainability goals by increasing harvests up to 25 percent, reducing energy
costs by as much as 50 percent and, through the targeted use of light,
improving the quality and nutritional content of plants. Considering also that
approximately 40 percent of food is spoiled between the producer and the
supermarket shelf, there is an additional ecological aspect to benefit the
smart farming approach.

“In the future, self-learning software algorithms will create and optimize
digital plant models in order to cultivate tailor-made salads and herbs for
platform partners such as supermarkets, online grocery shops and
pharmaceutical companies,” Kampmann said.

Osram has increased its involvement in the horticulture sector over the last
several years. The company has developed research and specialty luminaires
that enable tailor-made light recipes to be controlled for specific plant
types. In 2017, Osram invested in the Munich-based startup Agrilution which
develops plant cubes with LED lighting for home use.

Fluence Bioengineering, upon closing, will be positioned within Osram’s
Professional and Industrial Applications segment in the Specialty Lighting
business unit. “We are excited to be teaming up with Osram to drive forward
this global expansion and expand our digital product portfolio. Our new and
existing customers will benefit from our partnership with Osram in all matters
relating to light and sensors”, said Fluence CEO Nick Klase.

Ramin Ebrahimnejad

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