Offer a cellular ready Rachio for remote locations. Weathermatic offers residential controllers with "air cards " basically a cellular package. There is an annual fee for controllers greater than 16 stations, but free for residential. Rachio has an untapped market with HOAs, light commercial, or anywhere with no Wifi connection. Find a way to offer this.
Cheap hotspot with a freedom Pop sim card could achieve that.
If Rachio could sell or endorse this option, they will find themselves tapping the light commercial and HOA market. Right now the only company that offers an aircard or cellular point to the residential light commercial market is Weathermatic.
Hope Rachio is listening.
I completely agree.
It’s a hardware decision though, and Rachio has many times said it wants to be a s/w, not f/w firm. Thus, I’m not sure this is coming any time soon. In spite of upside opportunity that I think you’re correctly identifying.
I setup a hotspot and use it for an HOA. I signed up for a hotspot under an old T-Mobile promotion that offered free data for life (200 MB/month). If I were doing it again today, I would use FreedomPop.
How did you install it inside the controller? This is a good solution. I would like to hear more.
It’s a separate device that would need power and a weather tight box somewhere within wifi range of the controller. Some might be small enough that they could be mounted inside the iro box. Just do a google search for cellular hotspot. Any unlocked GSM one would work with most discount carriers.
Ok. I am wondering how Weathermatic does this with their aircard.
Cellular carriers, I assume all, but I know verizon offers low bandwidth cellular modems/services for remote locations. M2M (Machine to Machine) is how they are referred to. Utilities use these for controlling remote pumping stations and such where only a few KB/s of bandwidth is needed. This is a wholesale type service not offered to the general public.
Here’s what I posted back in July, in another thread, regarding implementing cellular.
… don’t wait to proceed until you can get h/w enhancements from Rachio (LCD screen face, other things mentioned above, etc.) There’s no reason to not proceed now.
I work in energy monitoring and reduction areas. For our real time energy monitoring, we use a ‘black box’ approach exactly as Rachio does. The ‘black box’ has connected wires, it does processing, and it needs an Internet connection to function properly.
For the internet connection most of the time we connect our ‘black box’ to the customer’s Internet. But sometimes, the customer won’t allow for this, or there isn’t an Internet connection available. In this case we use a Wi-Fi to/from cellular communications ‘box.’ Work fabulously well.
We use CradlePoint’s COR IBR600 Series units - https://cradlepoint.com/products/cor-ibr600-series3 . We don’t bother with external antennas - performance in metropolitan cities where you have Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. is excellent.
We buy our units through distribution so I don’t know cost on retail market. I looked on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/CradlePoint-COR-IBR600LE-VZ-Router-Verizon/dp/B00BCLCSJW1 - $645. A bargain for HOAs and commercial properties and areas where there’s acres and acres to be watered.
Slip in a SIM card, spend 5 minutes configuring the WiFi to ‘talk’ to the Rachio Iro, and you too are now in the business of running a sprinkler controller network without any wires. And it’s doable this moment - …
Put the Rachio in ‘automatic’ mode (flex daily), configure the Rachio, and 'let ‘er rip.’
I posted this on another thread as well… I may be late to the party on this thread, but just happened to stumble upon it. I work for a company that may be able to meet the demands for a plug and play cellular communications option. We have external cellular routers that would be able to plug into an ethernet jack on any controller. If this is still an issue for you, please let me know and perhaps we may be able to help.