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.


Growver intelligently waters lawns, even beyond Sesame Street

Homeowners rely on lawn sprinkler systems to maintain their lawns. But those systems tend to waste a lot of water, can be costly to maintain, and sometimes do a mediocre — or worse — job of actually keeping grass alive.

patent-claimedGrowver is a lawn-watering robot that saves water by irrigating the lawn as it goes. Water sensors in the robot detect which areas of the yard are dry so that Growver can revive them. It works in conjunction with an Android, iOS and Windows app that enables users to track how their lawns are doing over time, adjust water levels, and also control Growver remotely.

The robot drives back and forth over the lawn and waters a 20-inch wide path. First, Growver’s sensors guide it along the boundary wire. After watering the perimeter, the product fills in the entire area using patent-pending sensor technology to follow the wet-dry transition. Measurements via grass moisture sensors and water-flow data also let Growver intelligently adjust watering depth. It stops automatically when the entire area is watered.

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.