Elgato is today its expanding its Eve range of smart home accessories with the Eve Aqua, one of the first HomeKit accessories to take advantage of the sprinkler accessory type introduced in iOS 11.2. The Eve Aqua is a network-connected valve that fits over a hose; the valve can be opened or closed remotely with the Apple Home app, or Siri. As well as on/off, you can set an integrated timer to let the water run for 10 minutes before turning off, for example.
The hose could be pointed at your garden’s flower bed, or hooked up to your sprinkler system as is common in the US. Integrated irrigation is just one more aspect of a smart home to make your life easier. The Aqua is available to preorder today ($99), with first units shipping in June.
The Aqua unit simply attaches to a standard outdoor faucet, with IPX4 water resistance to withstand the outdoor weather. It is powered by two AA batteries that should last for several months before needing to be replaced.
As it is battery-powered, Aqua relies on Bluetooth Low Energy — not WiFi — to communicate with HomeKit. Bear this in mind as garden hoses are more likely to be out of range of your iOS device or HomeKit hubs, especially as it is larger properties that tend to have gardens in the first place.
You can add the Aqua as a HomeKit accessory in just a few taps with the Home app, installed on iPhones and iPads as standard since iOS 10, and immediately start controlling your spigot by tapping on the tiles or using Siri. Inside the Home app, the UI for the Aqua resembles a switch with the addition of the shutdown timer. The device itself has a physical button if you want to turn it on or off manually.
The shutdown timer helps to prevent flooding and general wastage of water. Regardless of how the valve is enabled, it will close after a set period of time. This timeout window can be customised in the Details view inside the Home app. What’s important to note here is that the timer is controlled by the unit itself; even if all iOS devices and HomeKit hubs go offline for some reason, the timer will still disable the valve — a good safety feature.
You can of course set up custom HomeKit automations with the accessory too; if you want to start the sprinklers at a set time of day on the weekends, you can.
Through the manufacturer’s Eve app, you can see additional information including statistics on how much water has been sent through the valve, so you can get an approximation of your water consumption.
Find out more on Elgato’s website. The company has also announced a new multi-color HomeKit smart lightning option called the Eve Flare, similar to a Philips Hue Go in style, but it’s launching only in Europe. Hopefully, it will hit the US (and UK) soon.
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