Smart Home

Netro relies on the cloud and the sun to water your garden

Many homeowners rely on lawn sprinkler systems to water their gardens and lawns. However, traditional lawn sprinkler systems tend to waste a lot of water and don’t always do a great job supplying water exactly where it’s needed.

Netro is a watering system designed for easy use in residential irrigation and is made up of the Sprite cloud-based watering controller and Whisperer, a solar-powered plant sensor. It works in conjunction with an app for Android and iOS mobile devices. Netro helps to reduce unnecessary water usage and keeps gardens healthy.

Home Smart Home

Moderno Eco-Home takes an ecological spin

With all the devices out there to make your home smarter, it’s about time that these special tools begin to pull more weight. If not, the alternative is a device full of independent devices that all need to be switched on in order to function.

The Moderno HCS1 Home Control System is a simple interface designed to combine three key aspects of the smart home: climate control, irrigation, and home security. With a single touch screen panel that can be mounted inside and access through any smartphone or tablet, the HCS1 is easy to use, adjust, and set up.

These three systems also work in cooperation with each other: for example, the HCS1 uses its security cameras to know when nobody is home and turn off the climate control system to cut down on energy. Moderno Technologies is raising $150,000 to develop, test, and manufacture the product. No reward tiers offer the actual product at this time.

One has to applaud the combination of multiple smart home functions into one device, but the lack of a physical product reaching backers and the lack of further expansion options make this kind of product one that’s better to wait until the market matures.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Eve smart irrigation system gives plants what they crave

The Premise. Why should the indoors reap all the benefits of automated smart home technology? What homeowners can also use is something that makes their lives easier when it comes to home and garden maintenance, while also cutting back on utility bill costs.

The Product. Eve is a smart yard system that uses real-time data to determine when to water a lawn or plants. The Eve itself is a control panel that can control smart sprinkler systems and monitors weather forecasts to make a decision on whether to water or let mother nature handle the job. Eve’s field operatives are little green ground pegs called Adam sensors, which can be pushed into soil at any location and will monitor soil moisture both at the surface and at the level where a plant’s roots will be. In combination with Eve’s eye on the weather, the Adam sensors report back to Eve to let the system know when a watering is needed. Better still, Adam sensors have a battery life up to one full year without being changed.

The Pitch. Eve comes right out and points out the shortcomings of other outdoor smart watering systems as little more than glorified timers. Getting into further detail about the Zigbee and SmartThings systems that Eve runs on, developer Plaid Systems makes a strong argument for why their product stands as the first truly smart irrigation system. Plaid Systems is raising $75,000 to finance molding and production.

The Perks. Adam sensors start at $55 with $50 added for each additional sensor. The Eve controller can be picked up to support as many as 16 zones for $100, but both Adam and Eve require a SmartThings Hub. To get everything required, the $295 tier bundles an Eve, 1 Adam sensor, and a SmartThings Hub, with the hub arriving in October and the Adam and Eve arriving later in March 2015. Multiple tiers are available offering varying multiples of each product.

The Potential. As the campaign points out immediately, this feels like one of the first smart yard systems, offering a combination of weather data and soil moisture to determine when to water and how much instead of just controlling timers with a smartphone. The requirement of a SmartThings Hub feels more like a setback for most homeowners, save those who are already using the platform and other Zigbee devices in their smart home. The devices can work without the trio assembled, but lack a strong degree of the functionality that will sell people upon looking into Eve and its campaign.

Smart Home

RainCommander supplies water via the other kind of cloud

raincommanderThe home sprinkler system is such a herculean labor to set up that usually once it’s in place, most people don’t bother adjusting it ever again. This can lead to wasted water where it isn’t needed and an increase in utility bills. The RainCommander is a wireless irrigation control system that can be used to schedule and control waterings more effectively. From any mobile device or tablet, sprinklers can be paused, turned on, and run en masse or just targeting a specific area of the lawn. The RainCommander will be available in May 2014 and will require a minimum pledge of $159 to get the base system.