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TUCSON, Ariz., – Users of Rain Bird controllers featuring the company’s LNK WiFi Module can now “talk” to their irrigation systems with Amazon’s voice-activated personal assistant, Alexa.
“Enabling Alexa opens up a whole new world for customers using our WiFi-enabled controllers,” said Nick Kelsch, senior product manager for Rain Bird controllers. “Now, homeowners can manage their irrigation systems with simple verbal commands. And with 130 commands available, Rain Bird is changing what you can ask of your irrigation controller.”
In the U.S. and Canada, Alexa commands can now be used with Rain Bird’s professional series controllers, the ESP-TM2 and ESP-Me, when outfitted with a LNK WiFi Module, as well as with ST8-WiFi controllers offered through retail channels. International availability is being planned for a future release.
After installing the free Rain Bird App on an Android or iOS smart phone or tablet, new users need to enable Amazon Alexa within the Rain Bird App settings, and log into their Amazon Alexa account to enable the new Rain Bird Skill. The Rain Bird App allows users to give watering programs and zones unique names of their own choosing. They can also request local weather forecasts and manage their rain sensor.
“Personalization is key for us, which is why we wanted to ensure that we can provide both custom program and zone names that mean something to our customers,” said Randy Montgomery, Rain Bird engineering manager. “Saying, ‘Ask Rain Bird to water the front yard’ is much more intuitive than saying, ‘Ask Rain Bird to water Zone 4.’”
Users can ask Alexa how to start managing their Rain Bird irrigation system, to list available commands, to list their property’s irrigation zones or watering schedules, to inquire on watering time remaining, or to ask about the status of current seasonal watering adjustments.
“Rain Bird’s WiFi controllers are backed by an extensive contractor network; easy-to-install, proven, high-quality hardware; and a simple, intuitive mobile app,” Kelsch said. “Those are advantages you simply can’t get elsewhere. And now, with Alexa voice control, we’re offering property owners yet another way to easily and efficiently manage their irrigation systems.”
To learn more visit rainbird.com.
Pictured above: Davey Tree also announced about 50 employees graduated from the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences. R.J. Laverne (right) awarded Joshua Bearman with the Golden Oak Award for having the highest academic performance in the program. Photo courtesy of Davey Tree.
Kent, Ohio – The Davey Tree Expert Company may turn an old golf course near its headquarters into an extended part of its campus and a museum on its history, tree samples and arboriculture research, according to the Record-Courier newspaper.
Davey Tree President and CEO Pat Covey told the Record-Courier that the company is in the process of developing its plans for the former Oak Knolls Golf Course in Kent, Ohio. Covey said the company is in early planning stages for this, but there’s a possibility of using the land to build a museum and training facility with classrooms and areas for research.
“We’re running out of space here; we’re out of space in downtown Kent,” Covey said to the Record-Courier.
Growth company-wide, particularly at Davey Resource Group, has been healthy, Covey said. Davey Resource Group has been growing at 12 to 15 percent annually in recent years.
Along with the company’s growth, nearly 50 Davey employees graduated from the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences last month. The month-long training program includes classroom and field exercises in climbing and safety procedures, tree and plant care, disease and pest diagnosis, management practices and team building. This year’s class also included sessions on how to lead effectively.
“(Davey Institute of Tree Sciences) is a unique opportunity available to Davey employees. Not only is the program a significant commitment and investment from the company, but it’s also a pretty impressive commitment from these students as they willingly leave their families and everything at home for an entire month of rigorous training,” said R.J. Laverne, manager of education and training at Davey.
As part of the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences graduation banquet, Laverne announced that Joshua Bearman received the Golden Oak Award, which is earned by the student with the highest academic performance throughout the month-long program.
To read more about the company’s expansion in the Record-Courier, click here.
Even though Outdoor Expressions PA has been open since 1990, the new owners, Lamont Hess and Kimberly Rowe essentially have a clean slate, and want to restore the once multimillion-dollar company.
The husband-and-wife team purchased the company in July of 2017 after the business had suffered a significant downturn. What was once a $3-million, award-wining company according to Hess and Rowe, dwindled to $200,000 at the end of 2017. But Hess and Rowe say they have what it takes to turn the company around.
Read the full story from the February issue here.
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