You might not be thinking much about customer experience tech when up to your elbows in tulips, tomato vines, and rosebushes, but the Internet of Things has slowly but surely pushed its way in to gardens across the country. It’s really no surprise – IBISWorld pegs the American home gardening industry at a whopping $41 billion a year in revenue, which makes it a tempting target for both IoT start-ups and established players alike.
Even beyond the business potential, a connected garden presents a unique opportunity for individuals to interact with and care for their plants, flowers, and vegetables on a level that has traditionally been impossible. Let’s take a deeper look at how IoT is putting down roots in the home garden.
1. Precision watering
Too much of a good thing can easily spell doom for even the most carefully-nurtured plot. The Missouri Botanical Garden explains in detail how over-watering can kill plants just as easily as letting them dry out, which means gardeners have to walk a narrow line between care and neglect when planning out sprinkler systems or watering schedules.
Smart irrigation systems, however, are able to not only take into account how moist soil already is thanks to the use of sensor information drawn from the area immediately around the plant, but also incorporate weather cycles and forecasts to avoid spraying H2O onto already-soaked gardens. The best part of this customer experience technology? Some of these Internet-connected controllers can be attached to an existing sprinkler system, which is a huge convenience and cost-saver.
2. Data, data, data
Of course, soil humidity is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what garden sensors can tell you about your plants. Sensors can also keep track of the amount of sunlight hitting a particular patch of ground, temperature, the electrical conductivity of the soil, and even nitrogen levels. With the right system monitoring all of this data, customized care schedules can be created for individual plants, based on an analysis of what each species needs. Some apps can even recommend which flowers and vegetables to plant in what part of your garden, rating their chance of success in your yard so that you don’t have to go through the heartbreak of another wilted crop.
3. Digital scarecrow
Of course, if your garden is successful at growing delicious treats, it’s bound to attract a few pests – and this is another area where customer experience technology steps in to ease the burden. Instead of having to run out between the rows with a broom to shoo away rabbits, deer, and other nocturnal animals determined to munch on your cucumbers, motion sensor-activated electronic scarecrows can spray harmless but frightening bursts of water at incoming creatures and help make sure you get to decide who enjoys the fruits of your labor.
Just as combine harvesters, tractors, and manure spreading machinery revolutionized commercial farming, so too does IoT technology promise to make an important impact in home gardens – and in much the same way. By automating certain aspects of caring for your plants based on data, you can still enjoy the gardening experience without having to guess at what your flowers and vegetables actually need to survive and flourish throughout the season.