Orbit wants to help you smarten up your sprinklers even if you only own a $10 oscillator attached to a garden hose. The company's new B-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer, on display at CES in Las Vegas, attaches to the other end of that hose, and lets you control your sprinkler with an app.
In addition to app controls, the Faucet Timer monitors the weather and can set a schedule for you and adapt it as the weather changes. It's compliant with EPA's WaterSense program so you could qualify for a rebate on your water bill, and it has an integrated flow meter so you can precisely control how much you want to water by volume or by time.
You can also control your watering schedule with your voice. B-hyve's current smart sprinkler, which replaces an irrigation controller for an inground system, works with Amazon's assistant, Alexa. Alexa controls will migrate to B-hyve's new hose model along with new functionality allowing you to control it with Apple's Siri.
In addition to launching the B-hyve, Orbit also announced HomeKit integration at CES. Apple's smart home platform will allow you to control B-hyve sprinklers with your voice via Apple's digital assistant Siri. Orbit's also launching a trimmed-down version of its original timer. The current B-hyve features full onboard controls and a weatherproof case. If you don't need those amenities, the B-hyve Indoor Timer refines the looks of the company's smart irrigation controller and trims the price.
You'll be able to find the Faucet Timer in stores in the first couple of months of 2018 for $40 (roughly £30/AU$50). The Timer doesn't actually connect with Wi-Fi, like the other B-hyve, but uses Bluetooth to talk to your phone directly. You'll still be able to control it with your phone if you're within range, but if you want to take advantage of all of Orbit's smarts, you'll need to buy it with a separate Bluetooth hub. Orbit's offering the Timer plus the Hub for $70.
The Indoor Timer can also double as a hub for the Faucet Timer when it launches this Spring. You'll be able to buy four and eight zone versions of the timer for $60 and $80 respectively. It'll feature the same smarts as the original B-Hyve, which costs $100 or $120 for six or 12 zones.
Orbit isn't the first to smarten up a simple hose-fed sprinkler. Both Wise Orchard and the Edyn Water Valve can attach to an ordinary hose. Given how easy it was to use the original B-hyve, I can easily imagine Orbit having the best smart Faucet Timer, and Siri is a nice bonus.
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