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IoT & Smart Devices can become Monthly Costs at any time.

My Dad has kind of a green thumb. He loves planting all kinds of exotic crap in his backyard. I’ve never really had the knack for keeping our yard 100% maintained but would still keep a majority of the plants alive haha. I’d say every summer for the past decade I’ve probably lost at least one plant. Now I could attribute this to poor maintenance but the water clock was always a PITA. Around the time I had this epiphany that I don’t know how to take care of plants; My dad told me about a device called SkyDrop. It was a smart watering controller that you could use from your phone. I’m a computer programmer but for some reason walking up to an old school watering clock gave me nightmares. Eventually I got the hang of how to use these things but they’re always very clunky and in the worst spots in your garage when you’ve got tons of crap right in front of it. Southern Nevada water Authority is giving a rebate for any qualifying devices that you install. You can see the $100 smart water controller rebate and list of approved smart water controller devices at this link here. No where on this list is this project I just found recently called OpenSprinkler.com which only costs $150.

A service man who was a contractor for SkyDrop came down and installed the device. From the beginning it was a pain to get working… We first installed the Halo model which was the UFO looking device. It didn’t work with my Wi-Fi at all for some reason. He said my router was too far even though my garage door is working just fine with it. He then instead pulled out a different older model that he called the Legacy unit. He stuck it on my wall and went about his way. At first I had the smart watering feature on in the app that is supposed to detect the weather but in Vegas this is a terrible idea. You really need an external device that truly detects if it is raining. Going off the weather station isn’t reliable in places like Vegas where it rains very spotty throughout the valley. I had plants start to die on me because of this feature (not so smart now, huh). I turned that off and try to remember not to water when it rains but yea…

Then I get this email…

TLDR; In less than two weeks they will implement a monthly fee to use the device from your phone. This not only completely deceives the purpose of why I purchased the device to begin with; but feels like a complete bait and switch campaign to pull profits from customers. These devices installed in homes were being pushed through poorly structured rebate programs to ended up costing you more than saving in water. The fact that a public program was used to push these devices out there to only turn around and turn these damn things into dumb bricks. They took away the basic feature of controlling the device with your phone! I’ve got to pay $2 a month for that which I am not going to do with all the other options out there. Not only can anyone not get a refund, but upon asking about the new cost and lost features; I got a “too bad” response from the company. (I guess I was at least expecting some discount or other app to use the device without weather data…)

We are sorry we are now charging you to use basic features of your controller…

SkyDrop should have offered basic features on the app but charged for cloud features/data. Also blame to be made at SNWA for not properly overseeing this rebate program and using their customer pool as chum buckets for private companies. The fact they don’t even cover OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS LIKE “OPEN SPRINKLER” should go to show you that Southern Nevada Water Authority needs to be washed clean of it’s executives and re-organized. The people who set this program up and who architected the approval process needed to be investigated for fraud.

I’ll make updates with how I make out with other solutions like Open Sprinkler.