Dependicies on Rachio servers


#1

Thinking of purchasing and installing a Rachio irrigation controller. However, I am curious (AKA, need to know before purchase) to the general architecture of the system and the dependence on servers you control. If you go out of business or get bought out by another entity that decides to discontinue the controller and shut down the server (AKA, Nest being purchased by Google), would my controller still work locally or does it become a lump of useless plastic?

-EM


#2

the gen 2 would still work in a VERY basic way, even more basic then your probably current controller.

Gen 1 would not work at all…


#3

@beaker353

Good question. It’s a great debate when it comes to tech start-ups. What if I buy this product and a year later the company goes kaput? Heck, I have a Zune, which I am pretty sure is the most expensive paper weight in my home.

I would like to put your concerns to rest. No one can definitively predict the future, but currently, we are the market leader in the space. Therefore, if we were bought out it would be unlikely that the buyer would shut everything down. In addition, we are experiencing tremendous support and growth because of the wonderful users on the forum, and persons like yourself who are interested in what we are doing.

Worse case scenario and servers were to be shut down you could run the controller from the manual controls on the Gen 2 unit.

I hope this makes you feel better about purchasing one of our smart controllers. Have a great day!


#4

@ghctim Thanks for the assist! You rock!


#5

@george Have you guys ever considered providing a basic PC-based programming interface that could be used over an Ad Hoc or hub-based WiFi connection? The program would configure Fixed schedules to the Rachio that a user entered on his PC. I’m not sure how it would gel with your current interface. Maybe if a user connected to the Rachio using a PC-based program it would disable, or even completely wipe out any web/app-based schedules. The advantage to having a PC based programming interface would be two fold.

  1. Users concerned with Rachio units being bricked due to a Nest/Revolv type of situation would rest assured that they could revert to a local programming interface if they wanted. Although it might be simple, it should be just as good as any ‘dumb’ controller.

  2. It could be used by contractors for new-home installs where internet is not available yet, or for homeowners new to a home that don’t have their internet connected yet.


#6

I think worse case scenario would be an expensive wall decoration for those with Gen 1 like me. Let’s hope nothing changes!


#7

@azdavidr

Thank you for reaching out. I really like your product suggestion. I am going to forward this on to our development team for future iterations. We strive to offer our users the best product and the best experience possible.

Thanks!


#8

@Modawg2k

I agree let’s hope nothing changes. You’ll have an expensive and retro piece of art, and I’ll be out of job.:wink:

I don’t think either of us want that to happen.


#9

Having been part of 3 buyouts I highly doubt this would happen, I’m sure gen 1 over time but that is Avery quick way to alienate your existing customers and doesn’t make good business sense. I shutter at the thought of them being bought out. i mean anything is possible.

If that did happen I would book 3rd class on value jet to Colorado and show that whole state what a mushroom cloud laying ma fucka looks like…then if I ever make it out of jail, I’ll verify if the controller validates the cert fingerprint of the server and if not start reversing the protocol. Probably will fail, but hey, I reversed vmwares ha protocol to build host simulators so there is hope :confused:


#10

Define what you mean “…run the controller from the manual controls on the Gen 2 unit.”. How manual are we talking? Would it be able to operate at the same level as any cheap off-the-shelf unit I can purchase right now from Home Depot and Lowe’s? Be able to set, change, and keep day-of-week and time even during a power loss. Able to set, change, and keep standard level programming options like water at 6pm and 6am on Wednesdays and Saturdays? In other words, I am far from convinced this is a safe choice…

-EM


#11

I think he means sneaker net. Run out start the zone for a few minutes, go back out start another while soaking, rinse repeat.


#12

I honestly would not worry about this at all. If this is a concern it is no less mitigated by any other smart product. You can always go back to a dumb unit. You will save enough money in 2 season to more than pay for the device (assuming you are actively watering your yard)


#13

@beaker353 I’m guessing that @George was referring to this: http://support.rachio.com/article/476-limited-schedules

If you’re looking to have the same operation as you would a Hunter Pro-C for example, the existing setup won’t allow for that. That’s why I proposed what I did above. Rachio is doing a great job looking for ways to improve, and they’re getting market penetration, but the risk you mention is certainly there. Personally, I have faith that they’ll continue on and even perhaps provide a fallback solution in future revs. You may not have the same risk tolerance, which is understandable as well.


#14

@beaker353

I apologize that I was unable to assuage your fears.

The link to the scheduling I was referring to was provided by @azdavidr (thank you for that!). If after reading that article and you are still on the fence about purchasing a unit. I would take a minute to consider whether this is something you truly want. I can only speak for myself, in the past, when I have made a purchase that I was not sure about. I ended up regretting that purchase. I cannot say that would be the case for you, but I would hate for that to happen to you.

I can only say that everyone here loves what we are doing and does not plan on stopping anytime soon.


#15

I wish you all the best, George. It is great to know your products are manufactured in the USA. And really like the no subscription charge. I was involved with the company who had the original smart controller. It used a pager signal. That was 15 years ago. They deserve the credit for getting the ET controller evolving to what it is today. Oh how far technology has come. While the big guys in irrigation were asleep at the wheel you bring products on par with other home technologies. I’ve been impressed with your product support and enthusiasm of your employees. I have Gen 2 and really like it.


#16

Be careful not to confuse risk-analysis for fear. Risk-analysis is a process of objectively weighing benefits verses liabilities and the likelihood of each. Fear is when you lose your ability to be objective because you don’t have needed information to act rational. Now that I know that there would be enough basic sans-server functionality to give me enough time to come up with a other solution without killing my plants, I feel confident to purchase a unit. I prefer facts to vague opinions. Many people do. As much as I’m sure you all love your products and what you might have in the product pipeline, anyone can be be coerced to handover control for a large enough check. The industry is littered with the carcasses of many great small companies swallowed and dismantled up by behemoths of Google and Apple. It’s all part of the life-cycle of a tech startup.

-EM


#17

@beaker353 Thanks for asking these questions. I’m Franz the CTO @ Rachio. If you have any other technical questions please feel free to ask, and welcome(?) to the community.

:cheers: :colorado:


#18

If you really want to provide customers some assurance, you should build into the legal ownership of the server software, a trust or other structure that owns the code with provisions that on discontinuance of services supporting customer devices, the server software reverts to an open source license.

This or something similar is what really protects customer interests and investments. It may reduce your share value in the short term but the legal team should be able to figure out how to do this properly and provide an option for customers to preserve their investment and keep operating.

I will definitely keep my controller for a few years to see how the industry evolves and how trustworthy your products and services become.


#19

This is a touch pedantic. The controller WILL pay for itself in 2 years. Might as well cut your teeth.

I think the only assurance I would like to see is a trust to run this forum for 1 year after a chapter 13 event so we the community can evaluate another product. The community is the most important part as there are some talented ppl here that I would like to hear from if things go tango uniform. Go look at other smart irrigation product communities like sky drop, oh yes, that’s right, they don’t have one. Etherain, try again.

The names I would like to hear from are too numerous to list.


#20

Curious @IaaC if there are other widely distributed IoT platforms that provide this type of assurance?