By design, nobody else has the control of your garden. You are not tethered to any cloud service from small or big Internet of Things corporations. RainMachine connects itself to trusted National and International weather data sources and adjusts daily watering amount. The machine stays in sync with nature for optimal efficiency. 100% free data.
The Internet of Things (IoT) architecture is based on the notion that thin, dumb and inexpensive embedded sensors transmit data while the rest of the work is done by cloud servers. This model works well for data forwarding devices where costs and complexity has to be low.
However, this model presents a challenge for smart sprinklers because the cloud servers need to perform evapotranspiration computations (among other things) on behalf of the (thin) device. In short, you own a hardware device that is controlled by a third party server.
Should the third party server get compromised, the attacker will have full control of the evapotranspiration algorithm, valve ON/OFF control and can potentially cause havoc to the installed user base.
IoT devices are in constant communication with the master cloud server sending heartbeat information every few seconds.
Consider this scenario: You are at home, working on your garden and need to access your Smart Sprinkler. You reach for your phone and attempt to login to your device located 50 feet away, in your garage. A typical cloud connection is actually formed as follows: Mobile -> Cloud -> Device. This connection traverses several hundred miles (round trip), over many Internet routers and/or public servers.
As a result of this complex connection model, when a router or a server goes down, your cloud service becomes unavailable and sprinkler login session will simply hang 'forever'.
Our RainMachines are running fully featured operating systems and as a result the RainMachine can accept direct connections from mobile clients.
When our mobile application (iOS or Android) is launched, it sends a Local Network (LAN) broadcasts packet, asking if any RainMachine devices are available. The RainMachine responds and the connection gets formed over a local area network. There is no need to traverse hundreds or thousands of miles in order to turn a valve on or off, all traffic remains local, by design.
When connecting remotely (not from home), the traffic is tunneled via an HTTP proxy owned by us. In fact, this is the only cloud service we offer and this service is not essential by design.
Should our cloud service go down, your smart WIFI controller can still be fully accessed locally or remotely (albeit harder but not impossible, via creating port forwarding rules on our WIFI access point). In other words, should our cloud service be temporarily or permanently down, your RainMachine device will still operate.
As we make our evapotranspiration formula source code freely available, our work is verifiable and can be trusted. User contributions from around the world continue to support the RainMachine community and enhance the product.
By using Python—a high level scientific interpreted language—we encourage readability and provide instant verification, which are core values of the Open Source movement. All RainMachines run on hardened embedded Linux operating systems. The RainMachine is using only open data sources from Governmental, National and International weather research institutes.
We believe that free and open platforms are the only way to promote sustainability and advancement of the SmartHome.