Flex Notifications


#1

Just learned in working with Support that there are no Notifications for Flex schedules. Would really suggest adding them as there is no other easy way to track changes, particularly as the calendar doesn’t even show past days watered yet alone by which schedule and any changes/skips.

While Flex never technically “Skips” and just delays, would think to most users if the scheduler looks at conditions and decides to not water, that is a “Skip” and/or adjustment and would like the option to be notified of these.

This is even more confusing to users as the first option under Settings > Notifications sounds exactly like this i.e. “a scheduled watering time is skipped”

If I look at the app the day before and it shows its scheduled to water tomorrow - then it doesn’t due to conditions - makes total sense that first option would alert me?

At the very least if this is not added - need to update the Settings screen & Flex Schedule setup to make it clear that “Flex schedules do not get Notifications”

Thanks


#2

I’m not sure I understand why you were told that. I get notifications the morning that my Flex schedules are going to run, when they start that day, and when they end.


#3

I too get notifications when my Flex Schedule will run that day. I do agree that I wish the calendar kept a record of when it watered after watering so that I wouldn’t have to use an IFTTT applet to record the info into a Google Sheet and/or a Google Calendar for watering.


#4

Sorry - meant specific to changes or “skips” in schedules - not the actual schedule ran notifications - thx


#5

@arkley68, I’m guessing that it’s because the concept of ‘skips’ is due to a fixed interval schedule, which Flex does not have. Flex is constantly changing due to climate conditions, so there’s no real reference point in terms of watering days. Does that make sense ?


#6

After re-reading your post @arkley68, I see that you understand how flex is moving around. There may be a bit of a semantics issue with the option you point to. What you see in the app for Flex indicating a watering tomorrow isn’t ‘scheduled’, but instead is a prediction. So it’s technically not skipping a scheduled watering, since it wasn’t scheduled to begin with. However, I see your point on how it can be confusing to those just getting into Flex.


#7

Yes, but defined above how this could/does apply to Flex too i.e. if on any given day the scheduler opts to not water on a day that was planned then that to most users would be a “Skip” or “Schedule Altered”

Example: Tonight your schedule shows it will water tomorrow, but at midnight the logic decides not to due to conditions, so tomorrow it you should get a Skip notification or something similar


#8

We both posted at the same time! Please see my prior post.


#9

A couple of years ago Rachio confused things a lot when they became convinced that a fully automatic controller that doesn’t use a schedule, that waters only when the soils needs water, was a concept too complicated for its existing and future customers. Cost for support (to answer the questions) was higher than Rachio’s investors were comfortable with.

To cut support costs Rachio made a strategic decision to no longer offer ‘fully automatic.’ Everything had to be on some kind of a ‘schedule.’ This made it like those familiar with past technology controllers, always based on a timer/schedule, easier to be a Rachio user.

But a few people, or maybe some portion of people, objected to losing ‘not on a schedule - only waters when needed’ capability. Some number, like me, complained and abandoned Rachio because ‘not on a schedule - only water when needed’ was the whole reason for purchase. I was insulted that the smart Rachio leaders would try to ‘market speak’ how the new ‘always on some kind of a schedule’ was superior to ‘only water when the soil needs it.’ It became clear to me that the real problem Rachio was fixing was support costs too high.

Then Rachio decided to bring back ‘not on a schedule - only water when needed’ capability. But the marketing / investor decision makers wanted it named ‘flex,’ and urged ‘flex’ only for advanced users.

I think this whole subject area has been the one strategic error Rachio has made so far. But, if it’s the only one, then they’ll prove to be smarter than most. Product development decisions are hard. Especially when you want to be a s/w company producing a h/w controller and you’re going to try to model soil moisture condition algorithmically, with no hardware sensors. Tough, tough mission.

What you’ve commented on are what I believe two areas that can be improved quite a bit. Clean up the screens (user inputs) such that the holdover from when everything for a while was schedule based is eliminated. And simplify terminology such that ‘fully automatic,’ not ‘flex,’ etc. is what ‘only water when needed’ actually is called.

IMO, for steady state situations, not running the Rachio on ‘fully automatic’ (‘flex’) substantially diminishes the value of investing into a Iro.


#10

Great feedback @a0128958 and agree particularly on your point that believe many if not majority are looking at Rachio very much for that “smart” & efficient watering.

To that end there are some easy fixes to the UI that make that easier to use and importantly also, for users who want to, to learn from the system. Part of that ease I believe for many comes from knowing at least some of what the system is doing so you trust it and/or can adjust it where needed, where inputs may be off, etc. Any trouble with that and then you lose people to manuals schedules, no doubt losing satisfaction too, then word of mouth and not to mention efficient/optimal results.

Also strongly believe that the Rachio platform has a solid core as does the app so getting it to this next level is well within reach if it takes more the general consumer mindset in approaching the UI and process. Can readily think of other products in similar verticals that are well off track because they lost that focus - don’t think that’s the case here at all. High hopes and this forum is great indication of that too.

Looking forward to more!