IoT Outdoor Solutions - Smart Garden. Smart Premises. Smart Car.

Home automation is a way more far-reaching concept than most people think. Smart outdoor solutions also help make premises and car journeys safer and comfier.

Goes without saying that we at Conrad Connect have embraced home automation from the very early days onwards. So much, in fact, that we never really got it why the benefits of smart home technology should be limited to what’s inside your place. After all, things have moved on since then. Smart Home evolved into Smart Living. Means whether we are talking gardens, car journeys, sports and leisure activities, you name it, the IoT is now advanced enough to provide plenty of possibilities to make 21st century life safer and more comfy across the board. Today, we are going to have a look at both brands specialising in smart outdoor products, and some really nifty projects that use them.

Staying Smart Come Rain Come Shine. Automated Garden Irrigation & Plant Protection. 

If you really love your gardening, and tend to spend hours and hours nursing your greenery , the last thing you want is a spell of bad weather causing havoc among your pride and joy. This is where smart weather stations, automated irrigation systems and wireless smart mains plugs come in, helping you protect your plants from the elements. Needless to say that you can operate all those devices via app or voice control. However, automating at least some of the routines is really going to make your life easier. Check out these ready-to-use project templates shared by Conrad Connect community members.

Philips Lighting Hue Bewegungsmelder
When it comes to outdoor solutions, of course, we only recommend devices that are suitable for wind and weather and all family members, such as the Philips Lighting Hue products shown here.

 

Speaking of which, this project allows you to set up an all-around garden monitoring operation, switching the irrigation system on during the dark hours after it’s been a excessively warm day with very low RH levels. Also, whenever the temperatures drop to levels that incur a risk of frost, you’ll get a text message reminding you to protect your plants. And if the CCTV system detects unwanted bi- or quadrupeds visiting after sunset, the garden lighting flashes to scare them away.

Netatmo Presence WLAN IP Überwachungskamera
For example, the Netatmo Presence keeps track of your garden, driveway, etc. ...

 

Netatmo Presence WLAN IP Überwachungskamera
... is easy to install, set up, to integrate into smart projects ...

 

Netatmo Presence WLAN IP Überwachungskamera
... and can also determine at night who (or what) is on your property.

 

If you are looking into automating some routines only, no prob at all. Here’s a template that makes sure you won’t forget to water plants in your greenhouse if it’s hot and dry outside. Also works the other way around using this frost alert routine whenever temperatures drop below 4 degree Celsius. And this project takes thing to the next level by shutting down irrigation to avoid ice formation at sub-zero temperatures.  

Whilst sprinklers and plants are getting along well, things might be different when it comes to animals and humans. This project allows you to use a sprinkler as an animal repellent, turning the water on whenever your outdoor CCTV detects a four-legged visitor. However, if you don’t want to get soaked when stepping out into the garden, why not setting up this routine centred around a door contact temporarily shutting down the sprinklers when you open the back door?

Netatmo NRG01-WW Regenmesser
Help with the pouring? Possibilities of smart garden surveillance are manifold, as here e.g. with the Netatmo rain gauge.

 

Want to use apps, voice and automation to operate devices that do not come with built-in Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi-enabled outdoor mains plugs are an easy way to circumvent the problem. Just hook up the plug to a weather forecast to power down devices automatically as soon as the  weather turns nasty. For instance, this project uses a smart outdoor mains plug to switch off the water feature, to avoid the patio being flooded during  gale-force winds and heavy rainfall.

Showing Garden & Premises in a Good Light

Smart lighting isn’t just something that works indoors. These days, most bulbs, motion sensors, mains plugs and Wi-Fi cams are both water- and dustproof and, thus, suitable for outdoor use. 

Philips Lighting Hue LED-Außenleuchten
Of course you can enjoy the sun in the garden - but at night it's also nice: Especially with great garden lighting, as here with the Philips Lighting Hue LED outdoor lights, for example.

 

For instance, this project is centred around automated outdoor mood lighting and helps you create a mesmerising atmosphere in your garden on weekend nights. Alternatively, use the sun’s position or outdoor CCTV to turn on the lights.

If you want to prevent your outdoor knees-up from getting drenched by a sudden cloud burst, why not use this project that changes the garden lighting colour as soon as the storm clouds are moving in. 

smarte Gartenbeleuchtung
All bulbs in the outdoor area can be integrated with WLAN sockets into smart projects. Image by F.Schmidt | Shutterstock

 

smarte Beleuchtung Garten
Whether the way to the house and/or the terrace area is illuminated, and which light colour you prefer, you decide. Image by Grisha Bruev | Shutterstock

 

Smart Outdoor Sound

Garden parties without music are like Game of Thrones without Jon Snow. And if you hook up weather-proof speakers to an outdoor mains outlet, they integrate smoothly into your smart garden network. Also means you can power them down together with the garden lighting when everyone is ready to catch some z’s.

Philips Lighting Hue LED-Stripe
Whether barbecue or garden party: With the right lighting (like here with Philips Lighting Hue LED Stripe) AND the right music will evoke a good mood.

 

Recently, outdoor versions of smart speakers that support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have available that allow operating networks of smart garden devices via our platform by using your voice. If that’s not your cup of tea, no problem at all: Alexa and Google Assistant still respond to their respective apps when it comes to executing a Conrad Connect project. 
  
What’s more, and if you are subscribing to a Spotify premium account, you can actually automate playlist selection and playback volume settings on all speakers to fit the scenario you’ve got in mind. For instance, why not automatically turn down the speaker volume whenever a party invitee comes in through the garden door?

Smart Fitness: Being Coached by the IoT

When it comes to home automation, even the garden isn’t the limit. Nowadays, the Internet of Things goes where you go, and nothing illustrates this better than the increasingly popular activity trackers. Hard to find any fitness enthusiast that doesn’t wear one of these armbands.  If you are one of them, ever thought about linking your tracker to the IoT, to stay motivated, and to incorporate our exercise and workouts much more efficiently into your daily life.

Using this smart fitness project, you can compare the performance data from your fitness tracker with those of a friend - even if you use a different tracker brand or a different app.

Joggen_FitBit_Garmin_Polar
Exercising outside is good, seeing what you have achieved (for example FitBit, Garmin or Polar fitness trackers) is even better.

 

Like the above plant weather protection routine, your fitness will hugely benefit from interconnecting your training gadgets with cloud services. Here’s just one of many possible set-ups: let’s say you are still short of your daily step goal, and the weather outside is quite nice. Why not sending yourself an automated text around 3 pm that tells you to keep moving, to achieve your fitness goal for the day? Or what about the automated text being sent to one of your mates instead, notifying him of the fact that  you haven’t been active enough, telling him to get in touch and get you going? After all, most of us tend to follow advice given by a person close to us more willingly than act in response to some numbers issued by a fitness app. 

Joggen in der Gruppe_FitBit_Polar
Encouraging team spirit and a healthy level of competition: Sport in the group, with fitness trackers such as FitBit and Polar here, can motivate a lot.

Conrad Connect Goes Automotive

People spending a lot of time in their cars isn’t that uncommon these days. No reason to miss out on the perks of smart living though. The Telekom CarConnect adapter turns your vehicle in a Wi-Fi hotspot, constitutes a powerful anti-theft measure and allows you t use geofencing to operate your home automation system. Besides, hooking up the adapter to our platform hits the number of smart home options available to you right out of the ballpark.

Most of times you are told way to late that someone’s damaged your car, or your vehicle is about to be towed away. However, setting up CarConnect on Conrad Connect allows you to use a smart car alarm to relate the incident straight to your home security system. If you don’t have an alarm system installed at home, employ Sonos Talks voice notification service instead to tell you something’s afoot at the site you parked your car.

What about the heating system automatically turning off when you are out and about, an on when you return? CarConnect comes with geofencing means you can use this project centred around Honywell thermostats, or this one involving comparable products from Netatmo, with heating control being based on you whether you leave or approach your place.   

Carconnect_carconnect

However, there are many more things that CarConnect and our platform are able to help you with, such as getting a text whenever the car battery has run down to an extent that requires a replacement. Alternatively, there’s our Smart Ordering service that allows you to purchase a new battery straight away.

Main thing though is you avoiding being exhausted when you eventually reach your destination. This is why CarConnect reminds you to take a break every three hours non-stop behind the wheel. You can choose from different types of reminders. You don’t need to take it to the level of the guy who came up with this project. Besides CarConnect reminders  he also gets a call from his wife telling him to pull over, get out of the car and do some stretching.

There are few things more annoying than someone using your pre-booked or allocated parking slot. This projects helps you keep parking regulation violators off your turf. It uses a CCTV camera that detects any car parked in the bay or restricted area outside pre-booked time slots, triggering a smart fairy light to illuminate a large sign reading “No Parking – Tow Away Zone”. And if you want go the whole nine yards, also use a push message service to call in a tow-truck company.

Conrad Connect. Plenty of Outdoor Connectivity and Versatility.

Our platform supports a growing number of quality outdoor smart devices from a wide variety of manufacturers. As of May 2019, this includes brands like Fitbit, Garmin, Homematic IP, Innogy, LifX, Netatmo, Osram, Philips Hue, Polar, Telekom CarConnect and Telldus. What’s more, Conrad Connect also lets you use voice assistants and music streaming services provided by Amazon, Google und Spotify. The only thing you need to do is to use the app provided by the manufacturer to set up your device and a brand account, and then link the brand account to your Conrad Connect account. 

  • Amazon Alexa: At the moment, Amazon doesn’t do smart speakers suitable for outdoor use. However, plenty of other brands support Alexa, one of them being Ears.
  • Fitbit: Fitbit are among the pioneers of activity tracking. The brand comprises a large selection of products ranging from basic trackers to high-performance tech that rivals most smartwatches.
Fitbit_Outdoor_Activities
Fitbit tracks in the outdoor area far more than "just" your steps count - also cycling, surfing or volleyball are considered as sport for example.

 

  • Garmin: When it comes to designing digital sportswatches suitable for every and any sort of exercise, workout, or training, Garmin have been at the forefront right from day one. Current products also come as smart versions that connect to phones and mobile devices. The more advanced watches among them feature built-in GPS which allows logging exercise data without the need to keep a smartphone close by.
Garmin_Outdoor_Activities
Also with Garmin, in addition to jogging, many other outdoor activities can be tracked - whether swimming, cycling or basketball.

 

  • Google Assistant: Like Amazon, Google doesn’t supply any weather-proof outdoor speakers. However, other brands do means setting up outdoor projects on Conrad Connect using Google Assistant isn’t that big of a problem.
  • Homematic IP: The company’s eQ-3 system has been specially designed for those who are just starting out, covering a wide range of smart home products. This also includes motion detectors featuring a built-in twilight sensor, as well as an outdoor weather station. Using these products requires an Homematic IP Access Point.
Homematic IP_Bewegungsmelder_Wifi Steckdose_Fensterkontakt_Termostat
Homematic IP offers both smart out- and indoor solutions: While the motion detector fits in both areas, the socket and thermostat are designed for indoor use and - well - window or door contact sensors belong exactly in between these spheres.

 

  • Innogy: Planning to automate outdoor lighting control? Innogy helps by supplying a motion detector and an outdoor in-line connector. You’ll need a Innogy Smart Home hub though. 
  • Lifx: If you are looking for smart bulbs suitable for outdoor use don’t look any further. Lifix supply two versions of their BR30 product. Both are pear-shaped colour bulbs that come with a E27 base.
  • Netatmo: The company’s  CCTV camera and weather station make for a great addition to any smart outdoor scenario, with the latter being compatible with a rain gauge and an anemometer.
Netatmo_Outdoor
Also Netatmo products can be used outdoors, inside and in areas in between.

 

  • Osram: Flexible RGB strip lights. Garden lights in a variety of sizes. Wireless mains plugs. Osram offers a wide range of options for anyone who wants to create their very own smart outdoor lighting scenario. All Osram products come with an IP65 rating means they are weather-proof. And because Osram uses Zigbee protocol, the company’s products are compatible with Philips Hue hubs.
  • Philips Hue: One of the leading manufacturers in the field of smart lighting doesn’t just specialise in indoor fittings. The company now also provides a growing selection of outdoor lighting solutions, including RGB strip lights, outdoor lighting for garden paths, walls and ceilings and a weather-proof motion detectors.  Moreover, the brand’s Zigbee hub is also compatible with Osram products whilst Osram’s Lightfy bridge returns the favour,  working equally well with Hue smart bulbs. 
Outdoor Produkte von Philips Lighting Hue
Outdoor products from Philips Lighting Hue are comfortable and increase safety - and besides, they look really stylish.

 

  • Polar: Polar supply a huge range of sportswatches, bicycle computers and activity trackers and have gained a large following among athletes who want to log their training sessions and heart rates.
Polar_Outdoor_Activities
In the city or in the field - walking or by bike: Polar supports users in all kinds and in every environment during sporting activities.

 

  • Spotify: What about using Conrad Connect to enable outdoor streaming of your playlists and auto-control of speaker volume settings? There are plenty of speakers available that support this kind of thing so he choice is yours. However, best to make sure the ones you pick are weather-proof. 
  • Telekom CarConnect: This adapter allows you to interconnect your car and your home automation system using our platform and enables a wide range of set- ups including anti-theft measures, reminders to take a break, arrival notifications, home heating controls and placing smart orders.
  • Telldus: Smart mains plugs are key equipment when it comes to automating gardening routines. Telldus manufacture an IP44-rated water- and dustproof Z-Wave product supplied both with and  without a remote control.