Sollum Technologies’ new CPO excited to champion new innovations
Yvan Hamel recently took on the role of chief product officer at Sollum Technologies.
February 13, 2023 By Logan Caswell
The biggest challenge for greenhouse-focused LED suppliers is to innovate and offer solutions for everything from climate change to maximizing plant productivity. The industry is best described by change, or flux, but in Yvan Hamel’s world, the new chief product officer at Sollum Technologies, photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) is the main commodity-driven criterion in this emerging new market of greenhouse growth. According to Hamel, the problem with this behaviour is that low-cost devices focused on a commodity environment stifle innovation, especially when the solution is a race to the cheapest cost of goods (COG).
“In my opinion, the trend is for changes despite the horticultural lighting market focusing on the lowest cost of devices with maximum PPF,” says Hamel. “It’s this low-cost mentality that is stifling innovation and preventing the industry from growing.”
Countering a low-cost barrier requires relevant industry experience and a strong team to support growth. The innovation that Hamel is championing is as unique as the plants themselves. Sollum Technologies has a line of devices that help with zone management, pest management, energy savings, and more. Plant-specific solutions are ideal for an industry craving year-round unique multi-zoned dynamic lighting.
Achieving optimal plant growth in a highly productive greenhouse is challenging to achieve without dynamic grow lights. Hamel says maximizing crop productivity according to plant type is the optimal path forward. Sollum Technologies is pushing the boundaries by embedding other greenhouse control solutions with strategic alliances and delivering the required amount of colour PPF in a given time according to the needs of each crop.
It’s important to understand that colours do different things to plants. Across the light spectrum, scientists have separated light into wavelengths, which correspond to the following colours; far red light (720 – 740 nm) can penetrate canopies to support the growth of leaves located lower on the plants. In addition, exposure to IR light reduces the time a plant needs to flower. Another benefit of far red light is that plants exposed to this wavelength produce larger leaves than those not exposed to light in this spectrum. Red light (630 – 660 nm) is essential for the growth of stems, as well as the expansion of leaves. This wavelength also regulates flowering, dormancy periods, and seed germination. Green light (500 – 600 nm) also penetrates through thick top canopies to support the leaves in the lower canopy. Blue light (400 – 520 nm) must be carefully mixed with light in other spectra since overexposure to light in this wavelength may stunt the growth of certain plant species. Light in the blue range also affects the chlorophyll content present in the plant as well as leaf thickness.
Light is vital in optimal plant growth and requires an optimal organizational structure. When asked to describe the team he wants to create at Sollum, Hamel cited employee empowerment and was clear about fostering a culture of trust, open communication, delegating, showing empathy, and supporting growth potential. Having plenty of agile product development experience, building strong vendor relationships, and keeping a strong sales team focused and driven are all within Hamel’s skillset.
“When I first spoke with Louis Brun, Sollum’s CEO and co-founder, I was inspired by the idea of contributing to more productive indoor farming in the context of climate change,” says Hamel. “I found the idea even more compelling after meeting the young and motivated team behind this great technological innovation, and the potential for growth sealed the deal. After 34 professional years in highly successful companies, I am excited to bring this experience into a venture that will revolutionize horticultural lighting.”
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