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Smart Gardening is more than simply installing an app

All of the important functions in and around the pond can be controlled centrally using Easy Garden Control. – Photo: Oase

Whether for outdoor lighting, lawn care, the irrigation of garden plants, shading systems for the seating areas or checking the water values in the garden pond – Smart Gardening is currently one of the top themes in the green industry. This is why the special exhibition areas IVG Power Place Battery and Smart Gardening World – that celebrated their premieres last year – are being considerably expanded at the international garden fair spoga+gafa 2018.

Already at the Media Day of the Garden Industry Association (IVG) in Cologne in the spring the market researcher, Klaus Peter Teipel, pointed out that although the market share of garden tools and machines declined in Germany in the year 2017 (-0.8%), the turnover with Smart Gardening solutions increased significantly. There are many reasons for this: The younger generation wants to have a beautiful garden – but with as least work and effort as possible. Above all monotonous and recurring work such as mowing the lawn or watering plants are unpopular. Automation is called for here and the trend towards the Smart Home is continuing in the garden. Smart stands for digital and connected here: More and more technical garden appliances can be linked up with each other and via corresponding apps on the smartphone also with their owners and they reliably report which work has to be done at that precise moment. Teipel: “What amazes me here is that there are an infinite number of manufacturers, who offer products and solutions, but that there are still no really competently aligned merchant intermediaries in this section yet.”

Robotic lawn mower – Photo: Gardena

Here, particularly the merchandise group of items to do with Smart Gardening holds enormous potential for the bricks-and-mortar trade and offers it the opportunity to assert itself against the online competition. “Garden centers, DIY stores and the providers of motorized appliances can impress with service offers and bind the customers especially in the case of ranges that require intensive consulting such as the Smart Gardening solutions,” according to the 2018 IVG Annual Report. Furthermore, here – contrary to the online trade – an optimal combination between consulting and services can be offered and the stationary trade also has the opportunity to make the products and product ranges at the POS experienceable for garden owners. “Smart themes are at the moment still difficult to grasp for many consumers – using attractive and inspiring displays really experienceable product worlds can be created, which help to explain the more complex correlations better. Furthermore, in the ideal case they also serve to arouse the needs of the customers that hadn’t even existed before,” the annual report summed up.

This also means however that IT know-how is going to be demanded more strongly in the green industry in future. “Smart Gardening will soon not only encompass laying boundary wire for the robotic lawn mower and installing an app,” said Anna Hackstein, Executive Director of the IVG. “Because Smart Gardening won’t become interesting for many users until a good integration within the existing Smart Home networks is possible. Many providers of garden appliances have already trodden this path.” In future, one will not only just call up the moisture level of the soil via mobile phone or control the robotic lawn mowers via mobile devices. It is going to start getting really smart when the garden appliances can be compared with the digital calendar of the owner and react to them automatically: For example, if a barbecue is planned in the evening, the lawn is mowed in the morning. Batteries and their charging stations are also becoming intelligent and thus also hand-held tools such as hedge shears, chainsaws or trimmers. If one trims one’s hedge with smart shears in future, the appliance collects information on its own state and can provide precise recommendations for action or make predictions. If the garden owner agrees, such information can also be directly forwarded on to the manufacturer or to the maintenance department of the DIY store.

 

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