The Internet of Things Has Thumbs – And They’re Green
It’s no surprise that technology, data and intelligent systems are transforming industrial agriculture. But did you know that the Internet of Things is helping people grow stuff on a much smaller scale? That’s right, now your average home gardener can harness the IoT for prettier pansies and plumper tomatoes.
A Growing (Pun Intended) Market
While the average home’s garden plot may be small, the market is anything but. People in the U.S. alone spent $36.1 billion dollars in 2015 on their lawns and gardens. Big box home improvement centers look to their lawn and garden departments to bring in more money than any other. According to Home Depot’s 2015 annual report, indoor/outdoor lawn and garden made up a combined 16.9% of their net sales.
With numbers like these, it makes sense that we’re seeing a surge of new technology options and gadgets for the space. Some of these offerings are from companies that focus on IoT, but some are coming from trusted lawn and garden brands that have been around for decades.
Worry About Water
Green thumb or not, anyone who has ever tried to grow anything will tell you that finding just the right amount of water is crucial. Too little and your plants wither and die. Too much and you’re faced with the dreaded root rot.
Automated sprinkler and drip systems are hardly a novel concept, but they have come a long way. Rainmachine, for example, offers a family of sprinkler control products that are Wi-fi controlled. Like other, similar products, Rainmachine boasts the ability to program watering specifications for a large number of different zones. The company’s differentiator, however, is its weather-aware intelligence. Rainmachine analyzes real time weather data and applies that data to the zones you’ve programmed. You’ll never again have to watch your sprinklers spring to life during a thunderstorm.
With so much of the country fighting drought-like conditions, a number of companies have recently released similar products, including, PeoplePower, a company that specializes in smart homes, and Scotts Miracle Grow, which is offering a platform that analyzes recent and archived weather occurrences to make watering recommendations.
Gardening For Dummies
A watering app assumes you’ve already planted something. What if you haven’t even gone that far? What if you don’t even know enough to take the first step?
Fear not. Enterprising developers have taken all the guess work out of the planting process with IoT products that wirelessly sense things like soil health, temperature, humidity, wind and light levels.
Edyn Garden Sensor is a handy gadget that looks like a spike with a solar sensor on top. You stick it into the soil in your garden and it will track a variety of environmental factors and create a plan for you – including recommendations on which plants you should consider and at which time of year.
After you’ve put the recommended plants in the ground, a product called FlowerPower will deliver health reports directly to your phone so you know when to water, fertilize and prune.
Flower Power will even tell you if temperatures rise or fall to dangerous levels so you can move or cover your plants.
These recent home gardening innovations are effectively taking the smart house movement, well, out of the house. Giving consumers the type of technology they’re accustomed to seeing in all the other areas of their life will inevitably boost an already growing market segment.