09.16.14Alan Harris

How iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch and iOS 8 Will Disrupt Irrigation Management

iPhone 6 plus, Apple Watch and iOS8 will disrupt the way we do many things. Will irrigation management be one of the functions disrupted? iPhone 6 plus, Apple Watch and iOS8 will disrupt the way we do many things. Will irrigation management be one of the functions disrupted?

Will the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch and iOS 8 really disrupt the way we have approached irrigation management for the past 50 years? Probably not…yet, but if Apple Pay can replace the way credit cards have been used for the past 50 years then why not? If someone told you five years ago you could access your irrigation controller via your smart phone would you have thought it would be possible?

App for that Irrigation Controller

We reviewed several cloud based irrigation controllers in Water Conservation in the Cloud which all have an app for their irrigation controller. Richard Restuccia, Director of Water Management solutions says, “Neighbors and people passing by are amazed when they see me using my iPhone to control my irrigation system. Often they will stop and ask me, are you turning your sprinklers on with your iphone?” Today there are over 20 apps to control irrigation systems in the iTunes App Store. Most of the apps use weather data to automatically adjust the amount of water distributed to the landscape. There are even more apps for irrigation if you happen to be in the world of agriculture and use central pivot irrigation.

iPhone 6 plus and Apple Watch

The iPhone 6 plus and Apple Watch have a unique interface not seen…or felt before. The Apple Watch has the ability to provide a gentle sensation on the wrist. Imagine an IrrigationKit that in addition to allowing you to program your irrigation controller will also provide biofeedback if you are wasting water. Here are a couple of examples of how IrrigationKit could work.

  • If the wind is currently blowing more than 10 mph and your irrigation system is running your Apple Watch may “nudge” you for input. Your option could be to discontinue or suspend until the wind is below 10 mph.
  • Rain sensors are a great way to keep from wasting water, are highly recommended, but sometimes rain sensors fail. IrrigationKit would use readily available weather radar and automatically suspend the irrigation if rain is falling at your location.


These inter-connective abilities are not in the too distant future. If This Then That already allows users to integrate two services. I use several IFTTT recipes including if Nest detects I am away from home then turn off the Hue lights. The Weather Channel is already a channel on IFTTT. All that is needed now is for the irrigation controller apps to allow IFTTT to automate changes.

Apple A8 Processor and Other Small Details

The Apple A8 processor is another significant innovation. The A8 processor is smaller, more powerful, faster and more energy efficient. However, they still require power. Some day processors will be self-powered, cost mere pennies to produce and be able to broadcast a signal. That day is here. Maybe tomorrow these devices will be on a continuous tape installed with the mainline instead of wires.

The iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch and iOS 8 may not disrupt irrigation management today, but disruption may be here sooner than you may think. If you have liked this post please share it with a friend, check out my previous posts , follow me on Twitter @h2oMatters and check out water stories I am reading on Flipboard:


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Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our Director of Sales Operations for our landscape maintenance division. In addition to his contributions to this blog, Alan keeps his hand in water management as a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine and speaker at WaterSmart Innovations Conference.


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  1. Tuesday, 12:22 Ginny Shaffer

    Sure hope that what happened to beds with remote controllers doesn’t happen to irrigation…my brother-in-laws remote adjusted the settings on the neighbor’s bed!!! Remember the day when a garage door remote could work all the doors on the street? Someone could have a real party taking charge of people’s water systems.

  2. Tuesday, 5:49 Alan Harris

    @Ginny – my mother still has the old style garage door opener which had the same code as a neighbor. As the neighbor drove down the street they would open their garage door and her garage door would go up as well. We reprogrammed the code and the problem was solved. I had the same issue with a remote for the ceiling fan in the master bedroom. The neighbor used the same code and we would end up turning each other lights on and off.
    Thankfully today most devices have a digital revolving code and the chance of having the same code is highly improbable.

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