Early in 2014, an app-connected "smart sprinkler controller" called the Rachio Iro made a splash when it arrived online and in Home Depot stores. By the end of the summer, a lot of people -- myself included -- were raving about the device and how much water and money we'd saved. Well, there's a new kid in town on Kickstarter by the name of Blossom that hopes to take the savings even further.
One of the few shortcomings of Rachio is that it uses Wi-Fi for connectivity. While this isn't an issue in most situations, sometimes sprinkler controllers are found in places where Wi-Fi doesn't reach or even outside the home or business. Blossom is using two different ways to communicate with the world; Wi-Fi and Powerline networking. By adding the ability to communicate over IP through your home's AC power, Blossom can be installed in places that are not amenable to Wi-Fi. It's even designed for installation outside.
Like Rachio's product, Blossom uses real-time local weather data to make continuous changes to your watering schedule. The Blossom team notes that if you share your different plant types and yard layouts with Blossom, you'll receive a specific watering plan for each sprinkler zone based on the vegetation planted in the area. A simple front mounted LED display tells you when the device is in a ready mode, when it's watering, and if there's an error in communications.
The Blossom team, which consists of executives and engineers with previous experience at Skype, Nest, Microsoft, Spring, Boost Mobile, Vizio, Cisco and Linksys, has already achieved over a third of its $30,000 funding goal with 29 days to go.
Regardless of the company bringing the product to market, smart irrigation controllers like Iro and Blossom make a lot of sense, especially in the Western part of the United States where drought is a way of life.