Skydrop Going Subscription

I updated to the Skydrop Plus subscription yesterday. Guess what… I DOESN’T WORK! I paid for the monthly subscription through Apple Store on my Iphone. However, the app does not update. It still prompts me to upgrade to Skydrop Plus and when I select that option it says I am already subscribed. The online (web browser version) also says that I need to upgrade. When I called customer service and waited for 20 minutes to be “first in call cue” the system said all agents were busy and to call back later or leave a message. No response from Skydrop and my account still does not work. SO, to sum it all up, my controller access has been locked out on any apps or browser access. I cannot start any zones or make any changes unless I physically go to the controller and I AM STILL BEING BILLED for this supposed update to weather information.

UPDATE TO MY POST: After writing a review on this forum and emailing my frustration to customer service they fixed my account plan and now the functionality is resolved. App works the same as before (no changes) but at least it works again!

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I have had a Skydrop for three or four years now. I don’t use it for the weather forecast, but I did enjoy turning on/off my sprinklers with my cell phone. This is the one and only reason why I INVESTED in the substantially more expensive controller. Now, years later (after obvious poor money management), they decide they need to start charging people to use their product which they already received the funds for by charging a premium price for these services up front:triumph: This is like selling somebody a car, and years later, requiring them to pay you to drive their own car!!! I have never seen something so ridiculous and I will immediately be throwing my Skydrop in the trash and going back to my old controller which has a remote that is FREE because I already paid for the remote. I suppose they could have put in a proprietary battery in the remote and made me buy a new special battery years later, but anybody with just a little bit of integrity would not do this. I will be making it my goal to trash Skydrop in as many reviews as I can on Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. How about grand fathering in those of us that purchased the Skydrop years ago which I am sure made this company very, very wealthy. Terrible Business model!!! with obviously greedy owners that care about making a quick buck rather than earning customer loyalty. I am in the IT business, and cloud services are not that expensive. How about a compromise…if you want all the weather data, smart watering, and other features that require cloud storage, then charge those NEW customers a fee. For those of us that just want to use our wi-fi that we already pay for to remotely turn on/off our system without the need to store data in the cloud, then enable that feature and keep your customers.

Yes, the complete removal of remote functionality is what did it for me. I can almost understand the change for the weather stuff (although not for early adopters that paid a premium for the controller). Then again Rachio doesn’t charge, at least so far.

The more I think about it the more I’m perplexed at Skydrop’s decision. It seems like a Hail Mary to me.

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I’m a Control4 dealer not sure they can legally sell something then take features away only to charge. someone needs to start a class action lawsuit against them.

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It all depends on the terms of service. It is quite common these days for Home Automation devices that have a cloud component to include language that says cloud-based features may be removed at any time. Samsung has the same in their smartthings terms of use.

Will SmartThings ever change the Services?
.
We’re always trying to improve the Services, so they may change over time. We may suspend or discontinue any part of the Services, or we may introduce new features or impose limits on certain features or restrict access to parts or all of the Services. In some cases, the changes we make to the Services may cause older hardware devices, third party services, software configurations or setups to no longer work with the Services, and you may be required to upgrade or change these devices, services, configurations or setups in order to continue using the Services. We’ll try to give you notice when we make a material change to the Services that would adversely affect you, but this isn’t always practical.

And of course Google is about to cut off a whole bunch of integrations from the previous “works with nest” program.

And this forum has a large number of people who were previously Lowe’s iris customers, and that entire cloud was shut down with about six months notice. :scream:

Courts have generally allowed these agreements to stand in the US. So usually the only recourse is public opinion, which can cause some reversals or at least delays, but only if the company intends to continue in the marketplace.

In this specific case, skydrop, I agree that it looks likely that the company is in desperate financial straits. They may not have a lot of options. :disappointed_relieved:

Also, in case you wondered, yes, control 4 has pretty much the same clause in their agreements:

https://www.control4.com/legal/terms-of-use

SERVICES

.

The features and functions of the Services are described in more detail in the applicable Control4 user documentation and guidelines available elsewhere on the Website. The Services include any additional features and functionality that Control4 may, in its sole discretion and from time to time, offer to you. Control4 may, in its sole discretion and without notice to you, add, delete or otherwise change features and functions of the Services at any time. If you are dissatisfied with any such changes to the Services, you may immediately cancel your use of such Services as provided in Section 10 below.

Basically if they make material changes they will probably let you end your contract early, but that’s about it.

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The charge to be levied by Skydrop is not so much about the requirement to do so as it is a lack of honesty that this would ultimately happen.

Installers came to our door and installed the Skydrop sprinkler controller “free”. I should have smelled a rat right there. During the installation they lost or walked off with some hardware that is difficult to replace. All the original special screws that hold the wire to the different sprinkler station wiring connector block disappeared.

The Skydrop sprinkler has a connector block instead of screw attachments like my old controller, which they did leave behind (less the station wiring hold down screws). When I learned I was going to be charged due to weather service costs I called Skydrop Customer Service to see if they had a controller that could work off of WiFi, but the weather service was optional, and therefore that cost could be avoided.

I was told by the person at Skydrop who answered the phone that they had none, and that no such controller existed. I’m here to tell you that was a lie, just like the “free” controller was a lie. Orbit offers such a controller online and at all the local home improvement stores called B-Hyve. I’m sure there are other equivalent brands. I’ve seen the Orbit controller and it will do everything necessary to avoid weather service charges, plus operate manually off the control box or with WiFi and a cell phone with an appropriate app. There is also a rain sensor available at an additional cost as an option so the landscaping doesn’t get watered while it’s raining. Further, later I wanted to remove the “free” Skydrop controller from the garage wall, but couldn’t get it loose. I emailed asking how to remove it without damaging it. I got no response.

I’m a “newbie” and have been censored MANY times for my candor. I’m not going to make this post as long as I would like, because I’m not sure if it will be approved. But this message will be saved to post my frustration to other consumer websites in the off chance it is not acceptable here. This post won’t be considered “nice”, as I’m not nice to those who operate dishonestly.

There are far too many people who have posted here that are giving Skydrop a pass for what I view as Skydrop’s dishonesty. Skydrop knew from the get-go that there would be charges later. I know as a product engineer that has worked for consumer product companies about the sleazy design decisions that are made by those who make the financial decisions. This all has to do with the ability to offer customers replacement products or services later, usually at a higher price. Some consumers are even savvy enough to know the widespread universal underlying (and unopposed) cause.

Got this today. Ghost ship mode. I love how they discontinued operations without telling anyone.I do credit the employees who worked to keep it afloat instead of running for the hills.

Was thinking about trying to sell my Skydrop before all this happened, but looks like it’s dumpster bound.

" A few weeks ago, we introduced Skydrop Plus, a subscription service to provide additional features and better-quality weather data to all Skydrop customers. We anticipated and have received plenty of push-back. If nothing else, we learned Skydrop Nation is extremely passionate. Your feedback helped us realize that complete transparency is the best approach. We would like to be more forthcoming about the situation for Skydrop, its continuing operation, and the compulsory nature of the Skydrop Plus subscription.

In 2014, our founders set out to create the best smart sprinkler controller on the market and help the world save one of our most precious resources — water. After 5 years, we believe we have achieved part of that goal. We feel strongly that the Skydrop Smart Watering algorithm is the best available. Although all products have their strengths and weaknesses, we believe Halo and Arc are “best of breed” as evidenced by thousands and thousands of happy customers. Unfortunately, a great product alone doesn’t make a business. Despite great efforts from many individuals, we were not able to secure the right funding to grow Skydrop to the point where we could revolutionize the irrigation market as we intended.

At the end of 2018 and after exhausting all options, Skydrop ownership made the difficult decision to discontinue operations. The immediate concern was for the many loyal customers that would see their smart controllers reduced to being dumb traditional timers when the Skydrop Cloud ceased operating. A few of the passionate (former) employees wanted to find a way to maintain the Skydrop Cloud and determine a path forward so that customers could continue using the devices and services they have enjoyed. The owners agreed to allow us to at least maintain the cloud services and retain a single full-time customer support employee.

For the last several months, as we have transitioned to positions at new companies, we have volunteered our time and personal resources to keep the cloud services up and available. Of course, this is not a long-term solution. We need to get Skydrop onto reasonable financial footing so it can either be acquired or continue operations with a few full- or part-time employees. Our options were: 1) increase sales (hard to do with no sales or marketing team); 2) ask the existing customers to pay a minimal fee to support the continuing availability of the cloud services or 3) shut down the cloud services immediately.

We sincerely apologize for this unwelcome news. Our hope is that our customers will see the value in the service and be willing to contribute to the ongoing costs of the system. We’ve also decided to disable, for now, the option to pay the yearly fee with an in-app purchase. We want to avoid the situation where the company accepts money for services they are unable to deliver.

Thank you for your passion and support of Skydrop.

Matt, Former VP of Engineering
Dan, Former Director of Software
Audric, Customer Service"

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So it’s exactly as I predicted.

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Sad, but it happens. Startups rush to build marketshare in the hopes of being acquired by bigger slower companies And create financially unsustainable business models. Eventually it catches up with them.

I have mentioned before, but about two years ago I changed my own Home Automation strategy so that I now expect that anything I buy, including the hub, is something that I may want to replace in three years. There may be new technology features I want that my current device doesn’t offer. Or the company may withdraw features I need. Or the details of the use case may change on my side.

In any case, I need to get the financial return that I want in that first three years. Anything after that is gravy. :money_mouth_face:

So I budget a certain amount per month for IOT costs, and any device I buy is bought with the idea that it may be gone in three years.

Once I did that, I immediately felt better about almost all of my home technology investments.

I did change the way I buy things, and I skipped some devices I would have previously bought because the ROI wasn’t there.

But it’s been a very practical approach for me, and reduced almost all of the stress over futureproofing and replacement costs.

FWIW

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We updated to the Skydrop Plus subscription ten days ago and it does NOT work. I paid for the monthly subscription on my Phone. However, the app does not update. It still prompts me to upgrade to Skydrop Plus. When I called customer service (several times) and waited for 20-30 minutes to be the next person in line, the system said all agents were busy and to call back later or leave a message. I left a message and nobody called back. Also, no response from Skydrop to the many emails that I sent.
I hope this post will help solve this issue as soon as possible. I would like to be able to control my garden watering again!!
Otherwise we’ll have to change system.

Welcome to the smartthings user community forums!

We’re probably not the best place to find skydrop tech support. You may want to try their Facebook and Twitter pages if you’re having trouble getting their attention.

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I am afraid that your post will not result in solving your problem, but definitely will result in more people jumping off Skydrop’s wagon.

Anytime, anywhere…

OpenSprinkler is free, weather based. Can practically do unlimited zones, as you can add zone control modules…

I purchased Skydrop because it specifically did NOT have a subscription fee. It was more expensive than others, and I presumed the cost of future cloud storage, yadda yadda yadda, was baked into the purchase.

It seems to me the we “early adopters” who helped make Skydrop a successful business should be grandfathered in, rather than changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Secondly, I did not receive an email notification of the change (not in my junk email, either). Was anyone else directly notified?

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Are you freaking kidding me Skydrop !! Seriously are you guys out of your minds. Who ever is the genius corporate exec that came up with this idea needs to be FIRED …one less customer and I am sure the feelings are common. Rachio is where I am headed and trash is where my unit goes. Corporate Greed doesn’t get anyone anywhere …case in point “BlackBerry”

I updated to paid service couple of months ago. Today morning it was raining and sprinkler was on and I went to the app to stop it and it says upgrade to Skydrop Plus. Better to move on to something else soon.

I’ve been looking into smart irrigation for a while before buying. I looked at Rainbird, Skydrop and Rachio. I eventually settled on the Netro system (netrohome.com) mainly because they have a rental scheme. The controller unit (12 zones) is about $180 to buy, or $30 annual rental with full replacement warranty. For me, the idea of spending $180 and getting 12 months of warranty seemed pointless if I can spend $30 a year and get unlimited warranty. Personally, I don’t care if I own it or they do, for 1/6 of the price it seemed like a no brainer. It doesn’t link with Smartthings, but theoretically, it sets its own schedules based on moisture levels and weather predictions, so in an ideal world I won’t need to touch it anyway. It’s not like I need the sprinklers to come on when the air con does. The plumber is connecting the pump this week so hopefully I’ll be up and running in a few days.

I’m not surprised Skydrop “drops” out of the market, following Green IQ last year.

It’s all in the economics: Skydrops (like Rachio), raised approx $13-$14 M to develop an IoT device. Sounds good to investors, who had hoped that they’ll turn into a successful story like Nest. However, the irrigation industry is a small market, and the irrigation controller is an appliance that is considered not that important to most consumers.

Skydrop makes the first mistake by making the hardware look like a Nest. Yes, you want your product to be sexy, but this is a device that is installed mostly out of sight. It’s a piece of art, but you don’t want to hang the Mona Lisa in your garage. Problem is, it costs a lot higher than any competing product, but they have to sell it at the competing price with everyone else.

And then, the cloud service business model. People don’t realize that cloud service costs money, but they want it for free. So, companies have to offer for free to compete. Problem is, if it costs you money, and you don’t collect money for it, it’s not a viable business model. Consider your old dumb Rainbird irrigation controller which most of us used to have. Let’s say it cost Rainbird $50 to build one, and they sell it for $100. The profit is $50, period. But for a could based controller, that profit depreciates every year, and if the controller lasts for 10-20 years like the Ranbird did, that profit will be a lot less than $50. Factor in the increasing cost of hiring engineers to maintain the cloud, provide customer support, it’ll be significantly less. That’s why the only viable model is the subscription model. This shall be true for all cloud base device. Otherwise, the company simply won’t be around. That’s why you see the terms is stated that they may pull it at any time.

Good luck finding someone to buy out, Skydrop. Rachio too. The investors dump money into these companies, in hope that they’ll end up like Nest or be purchased by Nest or at the very least, Rainbird. Problem is, Nest has problem of its own, and the Rainbird won’t even look at their direction because with a $14M investment, investors expect the company to be worth $100M. Rainbird isn’t even a $1B company, they can’t swallow it. The only chance is for someone else to swoop in and buy it at firesale price, much less than what the investors has put in. So you think you have bad luck by losing a few hundred bucks? Think of those poor investors who had lost millions.

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