Smart Irrigation Controller: BOMA 2019

06/24/2019 | By Christoph Trappe

Manage your water irrigation system from your phone using weather data to more accurately determine how much water to use. Some property managers have cut costs by about 35%. Jake Bryan from Smart Rain talked with me about the many benefits of their water consumption solution.

Listen to our conversation here:

Rather read the transcript?

[Start transcript]

Christoph Trappe: Hello, everyone. It’s Christoph Trappe at the BOMA Conference in Salt Lake City. And now I’m joined by Jake Bryan. He is with Smart Rain. Jake, thanks for joining us.

Jake Bryan: Absolutely. My pleasure.

Christoph: So, we want to talk about how do you actually—oversimplifying here like any journalist might—how do you actually water your grass for your light and heavy commercial building? And there is a lot more technology going on today as Jake will share with us.

It used to be, ‘Oh, I’ll go outside. It looks like I’ll have to turn the system on.’ And today, talk about the technology advances that are happening.

Jake: Absolutely. So, what we’re doing is we’ve created a smart irrigation controller. And what that does is it allows property managers as well as landscapers to control their whole irrigation system nationwide from an app on your phone or even a dashboard on your computer.

And then we use weather data, so weather ET data and the weather systems from IBM and the Weather Company to help us determine when we need to water, how much we need to water and if we need to at all.

So, on average, we’re able to save our clients about 35% on their water consumption. And then it’s been a really big help with landscapers as well as property managers, being able to control multiple sides from anywhere they’re at.

Like you were saying, instead of having to go out every day or every week and physically turn your clock and set your programs on all of your sites, as long as you have a computer or a phone in your hand, whether it’s one site or 1,000 sites that you have, you have full control from anywhere you’re at.

[On topic: Conserve Water, Save Money with an Efficiency Plan]

Christoph: So, of course, everybody goes on their apps right away and sees, ‘Is the weather moving in? Is it moving out?’ I mean, you’re on a plane or something, everybody does that. So, is it automated? Or do you have to pay attention to the weather? Or how does that work?

Jake: Yeah. So, with our system, everything is automated. We pull our weather data daily. So, it forecasts out about three days ahead. And so, anything over 70% chance of rain, we’ll actually delay your watering.

Then we’ll measure how much water actually fell. And then we will water determined on how much rainfall hit the ground. So, really minimizing on the amount of water that you’re using and things like that on your properties.

And just really furthering that water savings, especially in some of the western states where, obviously water’s been quite a bit of an issue.

So, we’re trying to get ahead of that trend and really help everybody out on that end.

Christoph: Very interesting. So, we’re automating some of the workflows that didn’t used to be automatable.

Jake: Absolutely.

Christoph: A lot of times when we talk about these new technologies, people say, ‘Oh my goodness. It’s taking people’s jobs.’ What do you say to that?

Jake: I don’t want to say that because the same guys that would be out there physically touching those clocks and doing all that work, we’re just saving companies time, we’re saving them money, and we’re allowing those guys not to have to physically have to go out there. And really minimizing that physical aspect of it.

I wouldn’t say we’re taking jobs, but we’re absolutely helping companies and helping their employees just make this whole process a lot easier.

[Read also: Connected Buildings Increase as Companies Prioritize Advantages]

Christoph: And of course, you can reallocate that time to do something else. And somebody still has to oversee it, right?

Jake: Absolutely.

Christoph: And how do you oversee it?

Jake: So, we have a dashboard that you can get onto from your computer or your phone. And from our dashboard, whether it’s one site or 1,000 sites across the nation, you have access to every single site that you have from your computer.

Like I was saying with the physical aspect, with that computer, most of the time, let’s say you have 10 sites you have to visit in a week, you have to drive out there, usually you’re taking 30 minutes to an hour per site.

With this, 5-10 minutes, you hop onto the site, you see if there’s any issues, you make any changes that you have and then you’re already on your way.

Christoph: And, of course, depending how far your buildings that you own are away from each other, I mean, just because it’s raining over here doesn’t mean it’s raining over there. So, it certainly can help from that perspective.

Jake, thanks for joining us. That was Jake Bryan with Smart Rain. Christoph Trappe here at BOMA in Salt Lake City. Thanks for joining us for another episode of our podcast.

[End transcript]

More BOMA 2019 Coverage:

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