Shared Access Use & Requirements


#1

@franz - I remember the conversations we had last year as you guys were developing a process of allowing landscaper access. This was implemented last year and I used it several times. I’ve trained my irrigation maintenance company how to use it.

They are coming out in the next couple of days to take care of a leak I have in one of my zones. I went to set this up and could not find it. I did find in FAQ that the feature was removed last month in lieu of a new approach. I have to say, I’m not quite fond of the new approach and hope I can convince you to take a second look.

My irrigation company is quite large. The person who comes out for maintenance is not always the same. I don’t think i’ll be very successful in requiring that their staff have the app for my IRO installed on each of their devices. As a matter of fact, even requiring that they have a cell phone is a ‘no go’ as they employer does not provide them (of course, everyone has one). As such, they are personal devices.

I’m also not crazy about not having to set this up in advance, with a time restriction on the use of the account.

Please reconsider the process and requirements. Using a browser is the best method when asking a services company to access a ‘proprietary’ system. Forcing them to install an app will not fly.

Thanks,
David Steinman


#2

Hi @SteinyD,
As you said, we’ve removed ‘Landscaper Access’. We’re moving all of our apps over to using ‘Shared Access’, though it not yet available for the web (we’re hoping to release it shortly after 2.0). Landscaper Access solved a lot of problems, but Shared Access provides a much better framework for us to iterate on and provide more functionality and control.

Apologies for the issues that removing Landscaper Access has created for you… I know that Shared Access doesn’t fit the needs of the situation you described, but if you get a chance to work with it we’d love your feedback…

Thanks,
Dan


#3

Thanks @Dan.

Just to reiterate this functionality will be in the webapp soon (logging in with shared access privileges) so landscapers, etc. will not ever have to download the native app.

:beers:


#4

@Dan

I’m happy to have a look at it with the intent of providing you feedback. However, that will not resolve the use case I provided which I have to imagine will be true of other maintenance companies.

If the shared access you are working on will be web enabled soon, then please restore what you had in place until that is ready. Essentially, you provided a feature and removed it before the intended replacement is ready. A bit premature. At this point, i now need to be home to allow maintenance to occur.

BTW, with the shared access I hope we are able to provide granular control to those sharing. In other words, I only expect my irrigation maintenance company to be able to turn zones on and off. I do not want them managing my plan in any other way.


#5

@franz @Dan - one other comment as I re-read the shared access information in the IRO app. It suggests the person I’m sharing the system with should ‘register’. Is that to register to access MY system and the registration remains with me? Is their registration used for any marketing or any other corporate purpose? Will the answer be stated in a policy that will be shared with the person ‘registration’ for shared access? Again, They are providing maintenance to ME. The information should only between the maintenance provider and ME.

The shared access that you are developing, should not allow the person who I am sharing the system with to have full access. I should be able to select what type of access I want them to have. Since I manage my own property and only use the maintenance company for break / fix, I only want them to have access to turn zones on and off, similar to what they had before. I should also be able to specify a date and time range that they can have access I have granted. This granular approach should be part of release 1.


#6

I just sent an invitation to a different email address I have. It seems that after the recipient receives the invitation and they have downloaded the app, they will register the app with their email address and the name of the IRO?

What happens if the person I shared access with also has an IRO or supports other customers with IROs? How do they switch between the systems they have shared access to?

How do I test this with my own IRO app, using the shared email address i just sent an invite to?


#7

@SteinyD If you give shared access to someone who already has an account, they just login and the device magically appears. If they don’t have an account, as soon as they register for an account using the email you provided, the device will already be attached to their account.

I’m working with @Dan on getting shared access into the webapp soon. We need to think in regards to limited access and how that would work on the web.

Shared access is great since it is one tap and you can remove all access from the device.


#9

I just logged out of my account and logged in with the access i granted to myself via a different email address. It appears I cannot re-use a username. It does require full user information to be provided and, it grants full access to the shared account.

I can’t live with this feature set as it is. I don’t think it is appropriate to ask a 3rd party to provide details as to who they are when I’ve already told them they can have access to my system.

I also do not want them to have full access to my system. I’m not worried about anything being done maliciously. I’m concerned for someone who wants to ‘play’ or changes something by accident. I only want them to have access to what they need to have access to.

I also don’t think this considers the potential for a maintenance company to maintain more than 1 IRO on behalf of multiple clients. They should only have one account per email address they need to worry about. This should be a common user name as well.

I don’t mean to suggest or sound like I’m asking you to develop a system around my needs. However, I think you need to consider this as one of many use cases. You’ve sold IRO as a consumer DIY product. As the consumer, I should have the ability to decide who provides maintenance (if not me) and what access they are granted. I also don’t think we should over complicate the situation for the maintenance company before they either deny support or, want to charge a fee because I’m using ‘non-standard’ product. If we require them to install an app, register with full account details, have different usernames per account, etc., I think we are going to ruin a simple experience that they become a bit hesitant to engage in.

What you had previously was ideal. No dedicated app, I provide the credentials, they click on a link in an email, they are logged in and it’s done. They have whatever access I allow them to have and there is nothing else to worry about.


#10

@SteinyD Appreciate the feedback. Sending this to our product owner for review, and to help him understand customer requirements. Thanks again!

:beers:


#11

Hi @SteinyD, I was just reading through your feedback to @franz and wanted to follow up on any confusion with the current features of Shared Access for anyone else reading.

Shared Access allows contractors one place to manager multiple Iros. They would simply switch between Iros via the left side menu (if running 1.x) – for details on how to do this, please see our support article on running multiple controllers. This was actually a use case for Shared Access that Landscaper Access didn’t allow for.

We agree. Shared Access allows the maintenance company to have one “Rachio” account that all of their field techs could login from and access homeowner A, B, or C. For more information on shared access, please see our support article on Sharing Access.

We totally agree and have plans to further develop the feature. We had use cases that Landscaper Access didn’t support, just as we have use cases that Shared Access is over kill for. I’ll discuss your feedback with the product owner and we’ll work to make Shared Access better. You bring up numerous angles we need to consider from an end-user’s perspective. We apologize if we overlooked any of these in the development of shared access. If you think of any other use cases in regards to Shared Access and 3rd party control of your system, please do not hesitate to share them with us. As you know my saying on support by now, we love feedback – good and bad. We’re listening.


Service Function
#12

@franz @emil - I couldn’t have stated SteinyD’s requirements any better. I used the web based Landscaper Access feature at the end of last season and it worked perfectly. I was disappointed to see it missing in the latest app as I have now needed to utilize it twice at the beginning of this season and couldn’t. I have had to stay home just to walk through the zones with the irrigation company to verify everything is working properly.

Please get the Landscaper Access back as soon as possible - Shared Access doesn’t cut it for the exact use case I, SteinyD, and i’m guessing many others have for their irrigation needs.

Thanks.


#13

@Jer, good morning. Thanks for your feedback and concern. If I may ask, does your landscaper not have an iOS or Android device to take advantage of the Shared Access feature? Or were you concerned with them not understanding how to use the app and/or having too much control?

I’ll share your feedback with our product manager and see what options they propose to address your use case.

Thanks, Emil


#14

@emil - the question should not be about what mobile device the service company carries. You as the manufacturer and I as the consumer / owner of IRO shouldn’t care. They could be carrying a laptop, tablet, device tethered to their truck, they can be using iOS, Android, Windows, etc. They aren’t reselling or distributing IRO. They are still selling and supporting non-cloud based devices sold by large commercial companies. They are often not using company supplied devices. They are personal devices (mine for work is personal also). They are many service people. Different service technicians could show up to support an issue with the irrigation system. They should not be required to install a proprietary app. I can’t make them do it and I can promise you their employer will not enforce it.

This needs to be as simple as it was created back in November of last year and taken away in the Spring. They should only be required to have a network connected mobile device with a browser. They will be provided credentials and a URL as provided by ME via your cloud service.

I need to have granular configuration of a ‘service account’. I need to be able to configure what it is I want them to control. I need to be able to define a date range and time range for them to have that access. It needs to self-expire or remain active at my choosing.

In the other thread that was responded to by an irrigation professional, I understand and expected his point of view. For commercial enterprises who earn a living by selling and servicing a product, they want the consumers to be hands off. This is true in home automation and many other industries. The truth is, the consumer is becoming better informed, more control is being provided to them (if they want it) and the control and decision of what the service provider does should be theirs. If the consumer ‘breaks it’, the service company charges to fix it.

So, i agree Rachio needs a solution that fits the services industry as you hope they will sell, install and service IRO. However, you have marketed and continue to sell it as a DIY solution. I need control of MY device in a manner I see fit. I do my configuration. My irrigation company provides break / fix for me.

I again strongly urge you to put back what was in place in November until your new solution is ‘fully baked’ and the strategy and use cases are well understood.

Thanks


#15

@emil @SteinyD - I have to side with everything SteinyD is stating above. His response is spot on.

Does my irrigation company have an iOS and/or Android device? yes, but that is not the point. The different techs that have come to the house have had both iPhones and Android phones but each one does not want to download an app that is of no use to them after they leave. They all love the app and what it provides when I show it to them but they have all said that they don’t want it on their phone since it’s a 1-time use for them at my house and none of their other clients houses.

The ease of use and limited control that was offered by Landscaper Access via a web browser was perfect.

I get the purpose of the response by an irrigation professional - and to be honest, they should use the Shared Access feature as a new line of business/biz dev to sell your product and service it remotely. However, this is from the commercial selling and management point of view - not the homeowner/consumer point of view.

The home owner has always had full control over who accesses their irrigation controls - albeit physical access up until recently. Think of it the same way. I don’t want nor do I need my irrigation company to have full access to my system - just turning on/off zones to test and do break/fix. Simple as that.


#16

@Jer - to add one point neither of us have touched upon - this is a network connected device. By virtue of my IRO being connected to my router, I appreciate it is working through a cloud solution that should be following ‘standard’ practices for encryption, security, etc., I need to protect my home network. I want credentials, I want to know who is accessing my system and when.

To be honest, this holds true for Rachio pushing updates to my IRO. I want to know in advance when they are pushing it, i want to know when it arrived, how long they were connected for and I want confirmation that it was completed successfully (or not).

It also holds true for all of my other cloud connected devices although they don’t provide the level of transparency I’m asking of Rachio.

We can leave security for another thread but thought I’d mention it.


#17

@SteinyD - totally agree. I have been in information security for over 15+ years and actually design “cloud”/SaaS security architectures. I am OK with and accept Rachio doing updates to their infrastructure in the “cloud” whenever they want. By choosing Rachio and their “cloud”-based model, I have accepted that and actually welcome the number and frequency of changes Rachio makes compared to other solutions that never update, never fix security holes, never push new features, etc. Would it be nice to see a detailed architecture diagram of how the IRO and the entire Rachio backend communicate? Sure, but that’s a bit much in my opinion.

What I am concerned with is - who I let access my Rachio remotely (other than Rachio). I want to mandate who has access, what they have access to, and have it expire just like you said and how it was implemented in Landscaper Access in the past.


#18

@SteinyD @Jer - I couldn’t agree more with your posts. The previous web based method was appropriate for allowing service companies who maintain the systems to turn on and off the zones as needed. They are not interested in downloading the app, nor do I want them to edit any settings I have established. Often the service companies will not have the same person maintain the system. Even the existing shared access feature should allow for permission levels. Lately I have had to be present during a service visit in order to turn the zones on and off. I look forward to you offering a web based solution again that offers a very easy interface for those who help maintain the systems.


#19

We are listening, and will get a version of this out again in the very near future.

:beers:


#20

@franz - as was said in another thread today, you guys DO listen and DO interact with your customers and DO respond. I hope other companies are paying attention as you guys know what customer service and listening is all about.

I do have to give ‘just-one-more’ example of why this is needed though I know you’ve heard us. I did have to call my service company to come out last week. I had to be here due to what has already been discussed. However, this service tech just switched from an iPhone to an Android phone and wasn’t yet comfortable with it. If I had to ask him to install the app in order to gain control of my zones, he would have had to leave without providing service. He wasn’t prepared to install it (wasn’t sure how).

It was also a bit painful as I did have to take an hour out of my work day (I often work from home) to follow him around and turn zones on and off while he was adjusting heads and making a couple of repairs.

Thanks again for listening!


#21

@SteinyD, if you (or anyone else) is ever in the pinch, and this is pain point for the service company coming to your house, our support team can help remotely as well with some notice…we’re just a phone call away :wink: