Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Catching up with the Cloud: WiFi-based Irrigation Controllers

By Morgan Hopkins, FYN Agent UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County

Who would have thought that many of life's activities can now be accomplished with an app? From dating, to grocery shopping, and now irrigation scheduling - our hand-held computers (a.k.a. smart phones) have simplified so many of our tasks!

UF-ABE's Dr. Kati Migliaccio knows a thing or two about irrigation apps
Catching On
Within the last year or so, we (the Florida Yards andNeighborhood Program’s Urban Conservation Unit) have seen more and more customers from our Landscape Irrigation Evaluation and Rebate Program (LIERP) show an interest in WiFi or cloud-based irrigation controllers – attracted by the appeal of convenience and high-tech features.

A Rachio cloud-based timer with rain sensor in Coral Gables, FL
When in Rome
If we see it in the field, we need to know how to use it! So thanks to some generous brand reps, we’re now using and learning more about how these new cloud-based, smart irrigation controllers work. Once connected to a local WiFi signal, these controllers generate run times based on external information, such as area weather data. The WiFi capability allows homeowners and property managers to access their systems from an internet connection anywhere in the world. Each brand offers several different interactive features, and most simplify the timer programming process through user-friendly app design.

Miami-Dade FYN Agent Morgan Hopkins
Irrigate From Anywhere
As technology continues to advance, we will see these controllers change internally as well as externally - as in our perception of water management in the landscape. Here’s to hopping on the smart app band wagon and hoping that positive water conservation behavior change comes along with it!

Curious about cloud-based irrigation? This video introduces some basic concepts. 

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