Photo: © irina88w | iStockphoto
With the tap of an app and a few swipes, you can adjust irrigation system run-times and change the colors of individual outdoor lights illuminating the landscape. (That includes opting for your favorite team colors before the big game.) If there’s a problem with a sprinkler head, an irrigation service technician gets a notification and a work order is automatically submitted – and even managed remotely.
This is what smart, connected systems and services look like, and businesses like Quality Services in North Ridgeville, Ohio, are purposely disrupting their own business models to make way for technology. “Do I think this will work for every customer – no, absolutely not,” says John Newlin, owner of Quality Services. He expects about 5 percent of his customer base to jump on the bandwagon of Wi-Fi irrigation controllers.
But, Newlin’s accounts include second homes along the Lake Erie shores, and these residents are grappling for the type of technology that allows them to control home systems when they’re not around, he says.
Newlin says he’s an early adopter, and he’s excited about the potential of smart home features that can make outdoor enhancements and systems (like irrigation) run with even simple voice commands. (Think Siri in the landscape.) “We’re looking for customers who want us to manage their water and fertilization programs – smart technology will be a higher-end niche,” he says.