Gardening

Smart Irrigation Controller

PlantQua’s Nievoo is a set consisting of a smart controller and accessories for the irrigation of gardens and greenhouses. The new series positioned itself as a compelling alternative in the smart home and garden market by focusing on technical possibilities, modular accessories, and user benefits.

Using smart devices like irrigation controllers can significantly reduce water waste by automatically adjusting watering schedules based on real-time weather data and soil moisture levels. This ensures that plants receive the optimal amount of water, preventing both over-watering and under-watering. As a result, gardens remain healthier with more robust plant growth and fewer incidences of water-related diseases, while also conserving water resources and promoting sustainable gardening practices.

Product Development

While there are competitors in the market, the development of new smart irrigation controllers presented an opportunity to address existing limitations and meet evolving user needs.  Our goal was to create a reliable, user-friendly, and efficient smart devices. The new set offers significant advantages, positioning it as a compelling alternative in the smart home and garden market. The most important features include Wi-Fi connectivity, weather-based schedules, remote control via app, integration with smart home ecosystems, water usage monitoring, and modular accessories.

Hardware Design:

Component Selection: Wi-Fi-enabled microcontroller, weather sensors, solenoid valve controls, power management systems.

 

PCB Design: Compact and efficient layout for a weather-resistant enclosure.

 

Enclosure Design: Durable, waterproof housing for outdoor use.

Software Development:

Firmware: Real-time operating system for stable performance and secure communication protocols.

 

Mobile App: User-friendly interface for control, scheduling, and monitoring on different platforms.

Prototyping and Testing: we developed and iterated prototypes to ensure hardware and software integration. For each iteration, we conducted functional, safety, compliance, and user testing to validate performance and usability.

Product Components and Technical Possibilities

1. Core Controller Unit

We used high-quality materials and components that comply with safety standards, ensuring long-term durability and safe operation under various conditions. The main controller:

  • A central unit with Wi-Fi connectivity and a microcontroller allows for managing irrigation schedules and operations.
  • Weather-Based Scheduling: Automatically adjusts watering schedules based on real-time weather data to optimize water usage and conservation.

2. Modular Accessories

When designing the controller, we also made a set of modular accessories that are sold separately and may expand the set according to the needs of a particular client. Additional modules expand the number of controllable zones, allowing scalability based on garden size, while weather sensors provide hyper-local weather data, enhancing the precision of irrigation schedules.

3. Software Features

We made a mobile app for remote control, scheduling, and monitoring, available on both iOS and Android platforms thanks to the Ionic framework. It allows to set:

  • Smart Zones: Customizable zones with specific watering needs, enabling tailored irrigation schedules for different garden areas.
  • Water Usage Monitoring: Real-time data and historical reports on water consumption, helping users understand and manage their water usage effectively
  • Advanced encryption protocols that protect data transmitted between the irrigation controller, the app, and the cloud.
  • Privacy Controls: Transparent privacy policies with options for users to control what data is collected and how it is used.

Environmental Advantages

1. Healthier Gardens:

  • Optimal Watering: Providing the right amount of water helps maintain healthier plants and lawns, reducing the need for additional resources such as fertilizers and pesticides. 
  • Preventing Over-Watering: Avoiding excess water reduces the risk of plant diseases and promotes stronger root growth.

2. Lower Energy Use:

  • Efficient Systems: Smart irrigation controllers optimize pump and valve operations, leading to lower energy consumption compared to traditional systems.

3. Reduced erosion

By applying water slowly and efficiently, smart irrigation systems reduce runoff and soil erosion, protecting the landscape and preventing pollution of nearby water bodies.

User Benefits

1. Enhanced User Experience:

A user-friendly app design that allows easy control, scheduling, and monitoring of the irrigation system from anywhere. Simplified installation process with step-by-step guidance through the mobile app, reducing the time and effort required for setup.

The system works seamlessly with major smart home platforms, ensuring users can incorporate the irrigation controller into their existing smart home setups without compatibility issues.

2. Advanced Features For Cost-Effectiveness:

  • Weather-Based Scheduling: Automatic adjustments to watering schedules based on real-time weather data for optimal water conservation.
  • Smart Zones: Customizable zones with specific watering needs, allowing for tailored irrigation schedules for different parts of the garden or lawn.
  • Water Usage Monitoring: Real-time water consumption data and historical usage reports help users understand their water use and identify opportunities for savings.

Conclusion

Developing a new series of smart irrigation controllers presents an opportunity to address existing market limitations and meet evolving user needs. By focusing on technical possibilities, modular accessories, and user benefits, the new series offers significant advantages, positioning it as a compelling alternative in the smart home and garden market. Additionally, the environmental benefits, such as water conservation, healthier gardens, reduced runoff, and lower energy use, make it an appealing choice for environmentally conscious users looking to contribute to sustainability efforts.

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