CES 2018: Orbit Adding HomeKit to Lawn and Garden Watering Systems

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Apr 12, 2001
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Orbit at CES 2018 this week announced that it is adding HomeKit compatibility to its new B-hyve smart hose faucet timer and a new version of its B-hyve smart sprinkler timer that will be released later this month.


iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users will have the ability to control the lawn and garden watering systems through Apple's Home app or with Siri.

HomeKit will enable users to control basic watering functions, such as turning on or off sprinklers. In the Home app, users can schedule their sprinklers to run at specific times, and find out when the next watering is.

Orbit's new HomeKit-enabled B-hyve products will be available to purchase from Amazon, The Home Depot, and Lowe's in the United States.

HomeKit added support for sprinkler systems and faucets in iOS 11, and the first accessories compatible with Apple's smart home platform are beginning to roll out, including Kohler's new Sensate kitchen sink faucet.

Article Link: CES 2018: Orbit Adding HomeKit to Lawn and Garden Watering Systems
 

mac.cali

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2012
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Glad to see more HomeKit products. I guess the timer will keep the same look as it’s previous model. Too bad they couldn’t update the firmware for existing users.
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2009
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As someone who is obsessed with having a well-watered lawn this product excites me.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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As someone who is obsessed with having a well-watered lawn this product excites me.
A nice advantage for those who also live in a drier environment where they can activate this without even being home during the hottest part of the day to keep the grass/garden area hydrated.
 
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swm

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2013
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my eib/knx automated smart home - incl the lawn watering - got homekit enabled all at once by installing homebridge :) down to every single lamp, room thermostat, heated, cooler, power outlet, window sensor, even mailbox monitoring...
 

WinstonRumfoord

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2014
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I could see these products being a great way to help me ensure our garden stays hydrated and happy!
 
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imola.zhp

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
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Mud Island (Memphis), TN
Awesome... I guess.

Love our Rachio Iro, have had it for about 3 years. Kind of a set it and forget it device, which is how I think a smart sprinkler controller should be. Not sure I would get any use out of home kit for ours, it runs at 3am.
 

gsmornot

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Sep 29, 2014
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I hope the integration can tap into the rain info for the week so I can set an amount of water per week versus just telling it to run at the same hour each day. If not, I will be one of the people watering the lawn in the rain just because I don't want to change the timer or make it manual.
 

imola.zhp

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
971
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Mud Island (Memphis), TN
I hope the integration can tap into the rain info for the week so I can set an amount of water per week versus just telling it to run at the same hour each day. If not, I will be one of the people watering the lawn in the rain just because I don't want to change the timer or make it manual.
Rachio Iro has this capability, but we don't use it. It might rain across town and think we need to skip a watering cycle at our house where it did not rain, so if we happen to think about it we just open the app and tap "rain delay." Close the app and go on about our day.

My plan has been to add a dedicated rain sensor, they are pretty inexpensive on amazon, I just haven't done it yet.
 

BrentD

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2010
275
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I hope the integration can tap into the rain info for the week so I can set an amount of water per week versus just telling it to run at the same hour each day. If not, I will be one of the people watering the lawn in the rain just because I don't want to change the timer or make it manual.
They already do that without the HomeKit capability. Well, the controller does anyway, I can't speak for the faucet timer. In fact, pretty much every "smart" sprinkler controller does that with or without HomeKit.
[doublepost=1515531246][/doublepost]For an item that you rarely have to interact with, I feel like HomeKit support is rather useless for these. The Orbit B-Hyve (which I've owned and loved for a full summer season now) has its own app already. You pretty much go into it, set it up based on your sprinkler types, soil type and what you're watering (plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, etc) and tell it what zip code you live in and it handles the rest. It decides when to water based on the forecast and the current precipitation. The Orbit model, too, does have similar issues at times like the Rachio that imola.zhp mentioned in that it can sprinkle for 3 minutes, but it will set a 24 hour rain delay because it rained any at all. But you can quite easily turn that off when it notifies you that it is in effect.

My question now is will it still cost the same as the smartly priced current models or will HomeKit integration be cause to raise the price by $49 or more? (I think I know the answer...)
[doublepost=1515531454][/doublepost]
Orbit's new HomeKit-enabled B-hyve products will be available to purchase from Amazon, The Home Depot, and Lowe's in the United States.
I believe I'd delete the link to Amazon, lest you have upset readers who purchase from the link thinking it's the HomeKit model when it is not.
 
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nmincone

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2018
6
10
I believe I'd delete the link to Amazon, lest you have upset readers who purchase from the link thinking it's the HomeKit model when it is not.
I called Orbit today and was told HomeKit support will be provided through a firmware upgrade to existing customers with compatible units...
 

BrentD

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2010
275
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I called Orbit today and was told HomeKit support will be provided through a firmware upgrade to existing customers with compatible units...
Did they mention an ETA on that and which units were "compatible"? Because HomeKit requires a hardware implementation to be in place to be compatible, so Orbit would have to have been manufacturing with this in mind for a while already to say that.
 

nmincone

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2018
6
10
Here is the response I received- not certain about HomeKit requiring hardware to operate, names withheld for obvious reasons...
Hello Nick,

Thank you for contacting Orbit product support. I will be assisting you today.

When the home kit compatibility is available, it will be a firmware upgrade. Any of our bhyve timers will be able to have that upgrade.

Thanks for contacting Orbit Product Support. If you need any further assistance, please reply to this email. You can also call us at 1-800-488-6156 and select option 1 for Tech Support. Our normal hours of operation are: 7AM to 5PM MDT Monday through Friday.

Best Regards
 

nmincone

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2018
6
10
UPDATE: Apparently until there is a software version of the HomeKit API available from Apple, the orbit timers with ABCD timer options are the units that are eligible for a firmware upgrade for HomeKit compatibility.

Of course both units will work with the Orbit app, but HomeKit and Siri control will require the newer units at present.
 

mac.cali

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2012
1,374
301
UPDATE: Apparently until there is a software version of the HomeKit API available from Apple, the orbit timers with ABCD timer options are the units that are eligible for a firmware upgrade for HomeKit compatibility.

Of course both units will work with the Orbit app, but HomeKit and Siri control will require the newer units at present.
It’s not live the firmware to update the timers is it? Also noticed the indoor timers are for sale. Are those HK out of the box?
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2009
1,826
5,395
USA
Checking in from the future. It’s 2020 now and still no HomeKit support. I can’t imagine a way for Orbit’s app to be more complicated and less intuitive. Sorry came across this old article through search.
 
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