The history of civilization is in many ways the history of water -- where it's found, where it flows, where it can be made to flow. Ten thousand years ago cities formed in the so-called Fertile Crescent of the Nile Valley, where an abundance of water made agriculture possible. Later, as boats became the most important means of long-distance transportation, cities developed around ports. Only in the last couple of centuries have other methods of transportation, such as trains, cars and airplanes, made it possible for large cities to appear far from large rivers and other bodies of water.
Yet water is still essential for life, both human and otherwise. And as life has moved away from water, it has become increasingly necessary to bring water to where the life is. Hence, irrigation has become a steadily more vital part of human existence.
Irrigation is especially important to those of us who raise plants, whether those plants are the blades of grass on our lawns, the flowers in our gardens or the vegetables in our personal farmyards. And while it's possible to supply plants with water simply by attaching a hose to a faucet and spraying it at anything green, an automated irrigation system of some kind is more reliable and, ultimately, requires a lot less work. The Onpoint Ecosystems WaterPoint 1008 sprinkler controller can be programmed to water up to eight different zones on different schedules using a smartphone or tablet. It can detect and alert you to problems with bad valves or faulty wiring. (The rest of the system will continue working until the defective valve is fixed.)
User reviews are generally good but at this writing there aren't very many of them. If you'd like to look at items with a larger user base (and that control more zones), see the Blossom 12 Zone Smart Watering Controller and the Bluespray 24 Zone.
Very easy to set up and operate. The web interface is easy to navigate, even on a smartphone - I added the log-in page to my home screen.
Very simple to program, very flexible. I also like the feature of turning on zones to check babblers without walking back and forth.