Rachio smart sprinkler update reduces water usage, ties into Nest for fire protection

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It's not only your home that's getting smarter these days. Your yard can boost its intelligence too. Rachio, makers of the Iro smart sprinkler system, announced a new update to the company's companion smartphone app that promises to lower residential outdoor water usage by as much as 30 percent.

The new update, Rachio version 1.7, improves the Iro system's ability to monitor conditions on your lawn. Using what the company calls Evapotranspiration Technology (ET), the Iro system can monitor the soil's moisture loss between waterings. If a scheduled watering comes up and there's enough water in the soil already, then the watering is skipped.

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Rachio's smartphone app.

Iro also monitor moisture evaporation every week and makes adjustments for water usage. This is a helpful feature as the seasons change and the days get warmer or colder.

“We believe software can play a huge role in the fight against water waste,” Rachio CTO and Co-Founder said in a statement. “The enhancements made to our ET algorithms gets Iro even closer to identifying the absolute minimum amount of water needed to maintain a beautiful lawn or garden.”

Beyond water usage improvements, Rachio added Nest Protect integration. The new feature triggers the sprinkler system after the Nest smoke alarm goes off for an extended period of time. Rachio's system then automatically starts the sprinklers in an attempt to keep the fire from spreading to other homes.

The new update also adds a few upgrades such as new vegetation, soil, exposure (shade), nozzle, and slope options to create 168 different watering cycles. Rachio says the new upgrades can also reduce runoff and improve the system's scheduling.

The Rachio app is a free download available from Apple's App Store and Google Play.

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