Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug takes weatherproof IoT into the garden

Lutron is taking its smart switches outside, with the Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug promising weatherproof remote control over garden and patio devices. Part of the Caséta family of IoT tech, it's one of the first ventures outside for Lutron's DIY smart home system.

While you might think it would've been ideal for holiday lights and decorations of the season just past, Lutron is positioning it as relevant all year round. That means landscape and string lighting, the company suggests, holiday lights and inflatables, and even some motors and pumps.

It's IP65 rated, to hold up to dust, dirt, sun exposure, and heavy rainfall. It's designed to last for multiple seasons, Lutron promises, even after severe weather. Compared to regular outdoor timers and such, Lutron points out, there are some good reasons why the IoT should have a place in your garden.

One big one is the auto-adjusting to daylight savings time, which means outdoor devices will continue to turn on and off the right moment, even when the clocks go forward or back. There's also support for more flexible timing, such as having the outlet switch on or off a certain number of minutes in relation to sunset or sunrise.

It's controlled via the Lutron app, and can be paired with the company's Pico remote control if you want a physical button. Alternately, it'll integrate with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant, and Ring's video doorbells and cameras. That way you can control it via voice, among other things.

For the most advanced features you'll need Lutron's Caséta Smart Bridge. With that, it'll support the most scheduling, plus scenes that control multiple devices at once. If you want it to control a pump or outdoor motor, it'll work with units up to 1/2 horsepower in size, and there's a manual button on the unit for turning it on or off without the app.

Meanwhile, Lutron is also updating its lights to integrate with Ring. That means, if a Ring Video Doorbell is pressed, or detects motion, the Lutron-controlled lights can switch on too. Lutron's Caséta Smart Motion Sensor is also getting new light control options, including adjusting how long they turn on when motion is spotted, what happens to each light being controlled, and what time periods the sensors will trigger the lights.

The new software features are being added to Lutron customers through a new app update. As for the Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug, that'll go on sale in late March, priced at $79.95.