Technology bloomed in the massive exhibit hall at the International Floriculture Expo in Miami Beach, FL, last month. Booths were drawing curious groups of visitors to view time-lapse videos of tulips growing from bulbs to full flower in 90 seconds, 60-second videos in living color on the care and handling of spray roses, and a virtual decorating program that allowed guests to place virtual plants around a living room to see how they would look.
And for the traditionalist, there was even a new stem trimmer, made in Germany, which produced a razor-clean cut that prevents bacteria growth while angled to allow best water absorption.
The time-lapse video of tulips growing was at the Bloomaker booth, played on the screen of a four-foot-tall cell phone model, which also helped draw traffic to the booth. The bulb grower in Waynesboro, VA, uses the videos of his flowering bulbs grown hydroponically and shipped in water, to overcome the problem of selling flowering plants shipped in the pre-bloom stage, so that the supermarket customer cannot see the plant in bloom.
Bloomaker has developed a new patent-pending process with QR tags that allows the shopper to scan the tag at the store with their smartphones and instantly see, without an intermediary trip to a website, time-lapse videos that compress several days’ growing as the plant moves from bud to blossom in 20 to 60 seconds.
At HOSA International’s booth, a TV monitor played a video of care and handling information for the Miami-area importer’s products that can be accessed on the consumer’s smartphone when they scan the QR tag. Larry Abramowitz, head of HOSA, said the videos are being offered on a trial basis and run from 60 seconds to 90 seconds. The booth also had a QR code that would, at the wave of a smartphone, automatically add visitors to the HOSA mailing list.
The technology at the Costa Farms booth included Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, “How-To” videos and a website program where customers place virtual plants around a photo of their rooms to see how they would look. Marta Marcia Garcia, marketing director for the houseplants, bedding plants and perennial grower in Goulds, FL, said its website had 20,000 visitors monthly, twice the average last year, and they stayed four minutes, double the time spent in 2000.
The Flower Power stem cutter, made in Solingen, Germany, costs $6.99 and handles stems almost half-an-inch thick. The user inserts the stem to the desired length and cuts it with a simple pull. Its stainless steel blade lasts for 1,000 cuts, according to its importer, Questa Corp. in Marietta, GA.
Perhaps the most sweeping grocery-store technology was described by Alison McClelland, an IFE presenter from Sunshine Bouquet, who said that South Korean subway walls have become virtual supermarkets where commuters use smartphones to scan the QR codes of products, place orders and make payment for same-day home delivery. Online sales for the chain involved, a Tesco subsidiary, jumped 130 percent. “That could work well for flowers,” she said.