This project's funding goal was not reached on March 17, 2013.
About this project
Available for pre-order at www.ordergreenbox.com
Smart irrigation for everyone
Greenbox is a revolutionary smartphone-controlled irrigation system. It includes a physical controller unit, a free iOS app, and a supporting backend in the cloud (also free for Kickstarter backers). The controller is compatible with standard 24VAC in-line solenoid valves, so it can easily be installed using existing irrigation infrastructure.
Update: new version & added features!
There are a few awesome updates that are not mentioned in the video:
- We've created a new Remote Access version of Greenbox that enables you to monitor and control your Greenbox from anywhere in the world
- We will provide a web interface for use with the Remote Access version - this will enable users on Android or other platforms to access
- Both versions support 8 zones at no extra cost
Why did we make this?
A few things happened that drove us to create Greenbox:
- A lot of devices in our everyday lives come with a poorly designed user experience. We believe that every device should provide an intuitive and enjoyable experience.
- It's already 2013, yet the whole "smart home" concept still hasn't caught on (some Kickstarter projects are making great strides, though). We're passionate about coming up with ways to make people's lives easier through technology.
- Our experience with existing irrigation controllers was extremely frustrating. There's no excuse for how difficult it is to use these devices.
- The smartphone enables us to provide a great user experience without making the user pay extra for yet another low-quality display and keypad.
- Traditional "dumb" controllers don't use weather forecasts to determine their watering programs, yet weather data is easily accessible through smartphones and tablets. Why not build a controller that connects through the user's existing mobile device to a backend with weather data and personalized watering recommendations?
- Existing smart controllers are extremely expensive and unattainable for most home owners, and often still provide a poor user experience.
- Wired irrigation controllers require the user to go outside to make adjustments to their watering program. An inexpensive wireless controller would change this.
- Now that the Bluetooth Smart protocol has become widely integrated in smartphones and tablets, home automation devices can be built with a fast, reliable, seamless communications solution. It also makes setting up remote access to a Wi-Fi connection much faster and simpler.
Greenbox allows you to wirelessly adjust your irrigation controller from the comfort of your home. No more need to go out in the rain, cold, or blazing summer heat to make adjustments to your watering programs.
Greenbox is built with Bluetooth Smart wireless communication. This is the technology that Apple decided to adopt across all of its computing products (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac). The free app will be compatible with the following devices:
- iPhone 4S/5
- iPad 3rd/4th generation, iPad mini
- iPod touch 5th generation
The technology also exists in an increasing number of Android models. We plan to provide a solution for these users as well following the product launch.
Greenbox has a built-in microcontroller and flash memory that stores the watering programs, so your mobile device doesn’t need to be around for Greenbox to work. It also has a backup battery for power outages, so the time and stored programs aren't lost (note: like all AC irrigation controllers, Greenbox will not be able to water during power outages).
Greenbox is by far the easiest irrigation controller to program. This is thanks to its friendly, elegant design and its simple, intuitive flow. Anyone who's ever programmed a traditional controller can tell you what a nightmare it is trying to figure out what each knob, button, and on-screen indicator means. Using a sleek smartphone/tablet app instead to do this is light-years ahead of the old generation controllers.
Greenbox gives you all the advantages of a traditional controller, but without the frustrating experience of programming one. Set up unique programs for each station in your system, and Greenbox will handle the rest.
The built-in 7-day local weather forecast allows you to adjust your watering programs in order to reduce water waste, and with constant connectivity to an online weather service, the Greenbox Cloud sends you notifications about weather events that require adjustments in your watering program.
The Greenbox Cloud, which will be available for free only to Kickstarter backers, also saves your watering programs and preferences. You can log into your user from any compatible device. Throughout the year we plan to introduce additional features related to the backend, such as watering recommendations and comparing your watering programs to those of other homes in your area (using data approved by users for sharing).
The app even shows you the number of watering hours you've saved since installing Greenbox. This helps you keep track of how much money you're saving, and how much you're helping the environment.
Push notifications can be received for system events, such as rain forecasts, reminders for stations that haven't been watered recently, or alerts about excessive manual watering.
We built Greenbox with a long-term vision, and we intend to continue expanding the app's functionality. This vision includes:
- Import/export programs (will be ready by launch) - this will enable both home owners and landscape professionals to easily share and receive watering programs.
- "Greener grass" feature: You won’t need to wonder why your neighbor’s grass is greener anymore, since the Greenbox app will enable you to view other watering programs in your area and optimize yours based on your favorite yard.
- A watering recommendation engine that will adjust your watering program according to weather, local climate conditions, history, and user feedback.
- More surprises (but no spoilers!)
With its massive endorsement from Apple, Bluetooth Smart is a revolutionary communications technology that's positioned to take the home automation market by storm. Bluetooth Smart is a part of the Bluetooth 4.0 protocol which is being adopted globally by almost all handset manufacturers. We decided that Bluetooth Smart is the right solution for Greenbox, based on its speed, seamless in-app connectivity, and reliability.
What will we do with the funds?
- Complete development of the Greenbox controller
- Purchase tooling, such as a plastic injection mold for the enclosure, the PCB tooling, and test fixtures
- Add more features to the app, such as import/export and completing the backend
- Get the certifications required to achieve regulatory compliance
- Produce the units pre-ordered by Kickstarter backers
We've already invested a considerable amount of money in bringing Greenbox this far, and we need your support to get it across the finish line.
Is Greenbox right for me?
Need help figuring out if Greenbox is right for your yard? Contact us and we'll be happy to assist you.
This video shows a demo of a Greenbox prototype connected to a simulated home sprinkler system.
- Greenbox controller size may differ
Backers are responsible for any customs and VAT fees that may apply
Risks and challenges
Greenbox is mostly finished and already functioning perfectly. We need to add some features to the app, complete the backend so it's scalable, and transfer the device to mass production. There are still certain risks related to this project, as any major project like it:
1. Tooling: The main tooling relevant to Greenbox would be the plastic injection mold, the PCB tooling, and test fixtures required for production. We've dealt with dozens of such projects throughout our careers, so we know how to manage these and push our suppliers to a timely completion while maintaining high quality.
2. Schedule: We already have detailed plans for development and fulfillment and took the required amount of time into account, as well as extra time for unexpected delays that may arise. We have considered the lead times for components and manufacturing. If funded, completing the device's transfer to production and the app will be our #1 priority. We will also be sure to place orders for the components immediately upon successful completion of this Kickstarter.
3. Development: Uzi, our co-founder and CEO, has been developing software and hardware products for 20 years. He's led the development of life-support medical devices with complex mechanics, electronics, and software. He successfully managed multi-million dollar development budgets. We work only with best-in-class developers and testers, and use rigorous development methodologies.
4. App Store approval: We have published several apps to the App Store already, and we have a deep understanding of the approval process. We always follow Apple's guidelines, and while Greenbox is not in violation of any of them, there is still the risk of rejection. We will mitigate this by being alert of any issues that may arise and addressing them immediately as required.
5. Fulfillment: We know a lot about fulfillment challenges. Dori, one of our co-founders, managed the supply chain for an international medical device manufacturer, and had to deal with the sourcing of thousands of unique parts, while getting them to production on time, often during major production ramp-ups. He has managed electronic contract manufacturers, overseeing budgets of tens of millions of dollars for many years. Dori has a total of over 13 years of experience in operations and supply chain management.
We know exactly where to go to purchase each electronic component, PCBs, plastic enclosures, and packaging materials. All of the electronic components except for the PCB and plastic enclosure are standard, off-the-shelf items. We've figured out the logistics of distribution as well. We have contacts for each of these needs, and several backups on top of those.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, get in touch and we'll provide you with the information you need to make a safe and informed pledge. We welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Greenbox was designed to be a smart, sleek, and affordable smart irrigation system. Bluetooth Smart provides the best user experience we've ever seen in communicating wirelessly with a smartphone.
Most people don't need to interact with their irrigation controller more than a few times a week, even when using a smart irrigation system that occasionally prompts them to update the watering program.
We do see the added value in allowing the controller to be online at all times, which is why we're also offering Greenbox Remote Access, which also comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, for power users. Even with Wi-Fi, having also Bluetooth Smart makes the Wi-Fi setup much faster and easier.
In addition, there are future applications that we intend on exploring, which can add even more value to the system. Just one example: wireless flow sensors powered by Bluetooth Smart (a.k.a. Bluetooth Low Energy) could enable much more accurate control of water consumption without the cost and hassle of dealing with wires. Depending on the application, Bluetooth Smart accessories can last up to 5 years on a single coin cell battery. This is a revolution waiting to happen.
Yes. You will need more than one unit of Greenbox, and through the app you can connect multiple controllers under the same user name. It takes just two taps in the app to navigate between different paired Greenbox controllers.
Not at the moment, though we plan to in the future.
Greenbox Remote Access will allow you to use our web app from any device connected to the Internet. Also refer to the FAQ about setting up the Wi-Fi connection.
No, Greenbox was designed for indoor installation. If you need to install it outdoors, you can do so using a weatherproof plastic enclosure, and it should work fine.
The official stated range is 50 meters (164 feet), which is more than enough for most households. Our tests have even shown a strong connection from upstairs to a Greenbox controller located outside in a plastic enclosure. Each house is different, and walls, among other things, may affect the signal.
Fear not, we've got you covered. Our Canadian backers will receive the version of Greenbox with a standard US power supply.
Add only $15 for shipping.
If the output of the soil moisture sensor is digital (i.e. if it provides a simple on/off command), then technically, yes. The best way to do this is by connecting the sensor to the relevant station's terminal serially.
You'll need an iOS-powered device with Bluetooth Smart in order to set up the Wi-Fi connection. This does not need to be your permanent device - you'll only need it once for setup, then you can access Greenbox via Wi-Fi using the Greenbox web app from anywhere with an Internet connection.
- (30 days)