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We have been using FreshDesk, an online ticket system to manage technical support requests for the last few years. Neither our customers nor our support staff were really happy about it:

  • It has no SPAM filter or ways to report SPAM emails, and we now get 2~3 times more SPAM emails than emails from customers
  • It has its own user account system separate from my.wirelesstag.net app account, which is not only confusing to our customers, but also forces our support staff asking for customer's account info in order to check their Tag setup.  
  • It requires cumbersome account email verification for everyone, which cannot be disabled despite many requests from other FreshDesk users wanting to disable it. This results in many customers not able to login to the system to view existing tickets.
  • It does not allow customers to search from FAQ or Knowledge Base first before submitting ticket. This results in our support staff having have to answer same questions repeatedly, and a drop in overall productivity in handling unique, valid customer requests.
  • It is too complicated with too many useless features; making it slow and inefficient to use.

We are finally fed up and developed our own integrated customer support portal: https://mytaglist.com/support or https://my.wirelesstag.net/support (the correct one will be automatically chosen after you login).You can also access the portal from web interface by clicking on the "i" button on the bottom right corner. Now, only our real customers can create tickets. We automatically get info about your Tag setup from account associated with each ticket. The system also allows us to build Knowledge Base from past tickets so as our support staff resolves problems for a customer, future customers with the same issues automatically benefit. When we developed the system, like our other products, we tried hard to keep everything very concise and simple, which should greatly enhance our customer support productivity. 

You will only get emails when we reply to your ticket. You can add links to the comments, so if you need to attach a screenshot, please upload it to Google Drives etc. then include the URL.  

We are now shipping Water/Soil-Moisture Sensors with new firmware 2.5 which contains following significant improvements over previous versions:

  • A new option "transmit multiple data points at a time" can be enabled at associate time or at "Special Options." When enabled, for example if you set logging interval to every 30 seconds, temperature and soil-moisture is measured every 30 seconds, but radio transmitter is turned on only every 390 seconds to send 13 data points at once. This will significantly increase battery life where the transmitter is turned on every 30 seconds, (because of the overhead of sending a fixed "preambles" each time the transmitter is turned on.)  Additionally, less radio congestion would allow more sensors/tags to be associated to a tag manager at a shorter logging interval. 
  • Improvement in temperature and battery voltage resolution. The hardware was capable of approx. 0.4°F resolution measurement, but due to a bug in firmware, the resolution was artificially reduced to about 1°F previously. The battery voltage measurement resolution is also doubled. 
  • 70% improvement in moisture level measurement resolution. Previously, the setting was overly conservative to avoid counter overflow for some parts in low capacitance (dry) condition. We did study of part to part reading spread, and also added firmware logic to clip if there is overflow, which allowed us to increase the measurement time by 70% for higher resolution data especially in wet conditions. 

We are excited to announce that the Wireless Tag Android app version 2.15 and above includes an widget equivalent to iOS app's lock screen widget, to allow you to quickly check temperature, humidity, motion states, and last update time without launching the app. This must have been a much awaited feature for all Android users. 

 

Just like the iOS widget, you can put any number of tags from multiple locations / tag managers into the same widget. Press the pen button to configure. Press the dots button to switch between the view modes. Long press on the widget and release to resize to allow more information to be displayed. 

We have been too busy with new product development (rugged, water-tight wireless probe / thermocouple for pool, sauna, oven, engine CHT and other harsh environments, planned release Q3 2017), iOS app and server side scaling/enhancements and spent minimal resources on the Android app. As an iPhone user, I personally find the iOS lock screen widget extremely useful. So this feature for Android users is really really long overdue. 

If you have suggestions on the Android app can be further improved (other than re-writing the entire app replicating the HTML5 UI with native UI, which would be too much work), please let us know by adding your comment under this blog article. 

Actions are supported in the "Informational" skill as of today. Now you can say...

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to beep keys"
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to beep keys 5 times"
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to stop beep keys"

If you have tag named "keys". Arm or disarm motion sensor by saying ...

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to arm keys"
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to disarm keys"

Link a temperature sensor tag with a Nest or Honeywell WiFi thermostat in order to regulate temperature in a location different from where the thermostat is installed. If you have linked a thermostat named "Downstairs" and a tag named "Living Room", use it for the thermostat by saying ...

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to set downstairs at Living Room", or
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to use Living Room for downstairs".

The AC or heat is turned on when tag temperature monitoring reports "too hot" or "too cold". Change either the "too hot" or "too cold" threshold temperature by saying ...

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to set Living Room temperature to 70".

If you are in UK, the number here will be automatically interpreted as Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. You can also enable, disable or set thresholds for temperature, humidity or light monitoring by voice command, like ...

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to monitor temperature at Kitchen Freezer".
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to stop temperature monitoring at Kitchen Freezer".
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to set temperature at Kitchen Freezer between -40 and 0".
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to monitor humidity at Kitchen Freezer".
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag to set humidity at Kitchen Freezer between 0 and 80".

Accelerometer Based Wireless Tag Pro detects motion not with 3D magnetic compass but with accelerometer, with benefit of immediate notification and ability to detect a small vibration that does not result in change of tag orientation (such as washer/dryer). It can also be used to detect vertical door (e.g. garage door) open/close but not horizontal door open/close. They come with 8192 point of memory for temperature and humidity like other Wireless Tag Pro. Order from here or here

Due to its limited customer base we have only produced them in small batches. We received another 500 yesterday. If you need rain proof version of this, please write in the comment section of this blog. If there is enough interest we will send half out for coating.

In September, we have released the Wireless Tag "smart home" skill. Due to limitation of the "smart home skill" category as defined by Amazon, although the skill allows actions such as "arm" or "beep" by voice command, we could not make Alexa return much useful information about each sensor such as temperature or motion state. 

Today, we are happy to announce the "Wireless Tag (Informational)" skill has passed certification and is now available to install. This skill is meant to supplement and be used together with the existing Wireless Tag smart home skill. As the name suggests, this skill is focused on having Alexa return useful information. 

Try saying: "Alexa, ask Wireless Tag for the lowest temperature last week." to know which sensor recorded the lowest temperature and how much.
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag for the lowest temperature in Living Room last month".
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag for the highest temperature in Fridge last week".

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag for the temperature at boiler room yesterday." to know the average temperature yesterday there.
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag for temperature at Living Room" to know the current temperature. 

Instead of "temperature", you can also ask about "humidity", "brightness", "moisture" or "motion state".

"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag what happened today" to have Alexa read back event history today, or "Alexa, ask Wireless Tag what happened at Fridge last week" to have Alexa read back events only related to the tag "Fridge", including what time Fridge was opened or about any temperature abnormalities, starting from the most recent.

You can also say...
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag if Front Door is open"
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag if Car Key is out of range"
"Alexa, ask Wireless Tag about the signal at Tag 1"

Here is a list of all possible things you can say (after "ask Wireless Tag", and skip the first column). 

The older smart home skill is better at recognizing unique names of tag you have given, while the "Wireless Tag (Informational)" skill recognizes from a list of most common 100 or so tag names such as "Living room" (complete list here) plus a number, which should cover over 95% of all names people have ever given to their sensor tags. If the skill has trouble recognizing your tag name, try to rename it to one on the list.

Wireless Sensor Tags Store was recently selected to join the Google Trusted Stores program. To help shoppers identify online merchants that offer a great shopping experience, the Google Trusted Store badge is awarded to e-commerce sites that demonstrate a track record of on-time shipping and excellent customer service. When visiting the store.wirelesstag.net, shoppers will see a Google Trusted Store badge and can click on it for more information.

As an added benefit, when a shopper makes a purchase at a Google Trusted Store, they have the option to select free purchase protection from Google. Then in the unlikely event of an issue with their purchase, they can request Google’s help, and Google will work with Wireless Sensor Tags and the customer to address the issue. As part of this, Google offers up to $1,000 lifetime purchase protection for eligible purchases.

Google Trusted Stores is entirely free, both for shoppers and for online stores. The program helps online stores like Wireless Sensor Tags attract new customers, increase sales and differentiate themselves by showing off their excellent service via the badge on their websites. For the shop to maintain Google Trusted Store badge, it has to ship at least 600 orders every quarter, and receive overwhelmingly positive reviews from survey emails automatically sent to each customer by Google. 

UPDATE (April 3, 2017) Google discontinues Google Trusted Store purchase protection program

As one use of the ambient light sensor is to measure how much light a plant receives, a weather proofed version for outdoor use was requested by many people. 

   

As you can see in above picture, a thick layer of flexible silicone coating (that is highly resistant to repeated temperature cycles) is precisely applied by machine to cover all circuit components except the humidity sensing window, buzzer opening and battery contact, protecting circuit from corrosion while allowing humidity to be measured.

Rain Proof Wireless Tag Pro ALS is available here for immediate shipment. 

UPDATE (April 19, 2017): We have consolidated into the one "Wireless Tag (Informational)" skills since both actions and queries are supported by that skill, in order to provide customer with more consistent experience. 

Check out the WirelessTag Amazon Echo/Alexa skill just became available for everyone today!

  • "Alexa, turn on Car Key beeper," to help you find your key
  • "Alexa, turn on Car Key motion," to arm motion sensor on the tag
  • "Alexa, turn off Car Key motion," to disarm it
  • If you have more than 1 tag with motion sensor, "Alexa, turn on all motion tags," to enable motion sensor on all tags when you leave home
  • "Alexa, turn on temperature monitoring in Bedroom."
  • "Alexa, turn on temperature monitoring in all tags."
  • "Alexa, turn on humidity monitoring in Car Key."
  • "Alexa, turn on humidity monitoring in all tags."
Link a temperature sensor tag with a Nest or Honeywell thermostat in order to regulate temperature in a location different from where the thermostat is installed. AC or heat is turned on when tag temperature monitoring reports "too hot" or "too cold". Change either the "too hot" or "too cold" threshold temperature by saying:

  • "Alexa, set Bedroom temperature to 74."

We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with IFTTT regarding channel partner fee that was proposed by them recently. After all, neither side wants to see such a successful integration go away over a few thousand dollars fee. The Wireless Tag channel will keep running and be updated to support our upcoming sensor products, and new ways of using it, such as automatically forwarding captured data to 3rd party storage like Google Drive for report creation. You should see an update of WirelessTag IFTTT channel with these new features by middle of August. (Update Aug 17, 2016: Today the IFTTT channel update was officially released: https://ifttt.com/wirelesstag)

We have noticed a lot of users were using KumoApp "log every update" or similar to simply forward all periodic temperature log data to some URL. This is a rather wasteful use of the KumoApp engine, so we encourage you to use our newly available URL calling option "When tag sends a temperature/humidity update" as below:

This example adjusts brightness of a Hue lamp whenever there is an update in temperature, humidity or brightness (ALS sensor tag available in September)

In above, we enclose math expression in <% and %> to have it evaluated before the URL is called. This expression results in full brightness when ambient light drops below 46 lux and zero brightness (light OFF) when ambient light goes above 300 lux. The math expression not only can be evaluated into numbers but also "true" or "false" for logical expressions like in this example. 

It is very easy to use the URL calling feature to automatically trigger LIFX bulbs using event or data from any Wireless Sensor Tag.  LIFX is often linked using IFTTT but this method is simpler and works with less latency.   

First, go to https://cloud.lifx.com/settings to generate a token as below:

Then, from Web Interface (https://mytaglist.com/eth) open a tag, then click on ">" button and choose 'URL Calling..." to open "Custom URL Calling on Event" screen below:

Here, choose an event, such as "too hot", "too humid" or if you want the light to continuously change, "when tag sends .... update" as above, and enter the URL 

https://[the token you obtained in previous step]@api.lifx.com/v1/lights/all/state

You can also enter other triggering methods described in LIFX API doc, such as selector to specify which bulb if you have more than one. Click on the ">" button next to the URL box to enter HTTP content. 

In above example, we enclose math expression in <% and %> to have it evaluated before the URL is called. This expression divides temperature (in °C) by 40 and use it to set the brightness. The "min" function ensures the brightness does not go to negative. This will resulting in light being 100% bright at 40°C and completely off at 0°C and below. 

Since the introduction of Water/Moisture Sensor in early 2013, our customers have loved its simplicity and low cost compared with other soil moisture sensing products. 

A repeated request we received was to be able to measure soil moisture at a deeper region of the ground, where it matters for most plants. Also because the original version did not have a scratch resistant coating, outdoor use caused the water proof coating and solder-mask on board to eventually wear away by weather elements. 

To satisfy needs for outdoor use, we have developed the 2.0 which is available today for shipment. 

With deeper sensing arm, you will be able to sense soil moisture level at deeper region, or alternatively, leave the electronics/antenna higher above ground for better signal strength/longer range. 

The entire board is coated with HumiSeal UV40, a material with high hardness for scratch resistance that is also highly resistant to chemicals; in addition to being water proof. This will allow the sensor to be used for outdoor agriculture exposed to weather elements.

The sensor also comes with the latest firmware that incorporates all the bug fixes that are already in other types of Wireless Tags.  

Click here to order one today. 

 

Since we introduced the rain proofed version of Wireless Tag Pro in February, the product has been a great success. A thick layer of silicone based conformal coating, precisely applied on portions of internal circuit board, allows the tag to be used outdoors or in high humidity area, while still be able to measure ambient humidity. The silicone coating has proven to be a lasting protection against corrosion over the wide temperature range supported by the tag (-40°C - 85°C). 

Update September 23, 2016: We now have stock of both Wireless Tag Pro rain proof w/ 2048 point memory and Wireless Tag Pro rain proof w/ 8192 point memory for immediate shipment. 

We are restocked of the accelerometer-based Wireless Tag Pro. Use this to detect small vibration such as dryer machine running that an angle (digital compass) based normal tag cannot detect. The price is identical to the normal version.

A customer reviewed our iOS app

"Looking for a new feature to be added. I would like the ability to swipe on a notification on the lock screen and a "pause for an hour" button appears. Ideally the time frame could be configurable for each sensor. Also this button should be available on the Apple Watch when the notification appears there. Also another button (I believe you can do two) to disarm the sensor for a configurable amount of Time as well. This way I can stop notifications if I am in/out of the back door, during a specific time period or disarm the tag from affecting other smart items in the house. I really hope this is a feasible feature that can be added. " — for Version 2.7.1 by Jeasy1988

This is like "Snooze" button. It makes a lot of sense; suppose

  • You are back to home outside of usual schedule, and get lots of motion sensor notifications because the sensors are usually armed during that time. You want to temporarily stop the notifications until you are gone. 
  • You open fridge to prepare for dinner. You get temperature too high push notification. You want to quickly stop the notification for an hour until you are done with dinner preparation. 

Today version 2.7.2 (iOS) and 2.11.2 (Android) are available with this feature added. 

For motion sensor events:

 (Android 4.1+ swipe down)

For temperature/humidity events:

 (iOS 8+, swipe left)

As Jeasy requested, you can configure how long to stay paused or disarmed for each tag individually from motion sensor / temperature sensor option screen inside the app, under the section "Pause Action Effective For". By default, it is set to 1 hour. 

"Pause" will temporarily stop the system from sending notifications but still keep the sensor "armed" so events will keep being logged on Event History and KumoApps/IFTTT/Nest Thermostats keep being triggered. "Disarm/Stop monitoring" will actually send commands to the sensor tag to power down the motion sensor/temperature monitoring (and automatically resume after the programmed time).

Improving/enhancing the app for all customers is our top priority. If you have any suggestions like this, let us know and they will get implemented right away. 

We have received many requests from customers who wish to use Wireless Tag in an outdoor environment. We have worked hard to try to make this possible. 

We are pleased to announce that we have developed in partnership with Electronic Coating Technologies in Everett, WA an automated process to apply Silicone based conformal coating to the circuit board while precisely exposing the 3mm x 3mm humidity sensor IC's sensing surface, Piezo buzzer's side-slot for emitting beeping sound, and the coin-cell battery contacts, so as to retain its functionality as humidity sensor and lost item finder while providing protection against rain and condensation. 

   

We have successfully tested the prototype; ten boards survived 2 weeks on balcony exposed to rain and morning dew. See live data for one at zip code 92603 (Yes, with direct sunlight, temperature can go up to 115°F at near 0%RH). Two uncoated boards we placed as control died after 2 days. This conformal coating is also expected to help tags survive in high humidity, condensation-rich environment such as some commercial freezers that are opened very frequently.

Over the next few weeks, we will begin larger scale production and starting from Wireless Tag Pro, gradually make available the variants with this rain proofing applied. 

March 23: We now have stock of Wireless Tag Pro rain proof w/ 8192 point memory for immediate shipment. 

May 20: We now have stock of Wireless Tag Pro rain proof w/ 2048 point memory for immediate shipment. 

Until now, the Nest Thermostat integration was focused on turning heat or AC on/off when a tag that monitors temperature reports "too cold", "too hot" or "back to normal".

We also receive current temperature and humidity updates from the thermostat and save it for historical graphs (up to 10 days per Nest policy). The temperature update allows triggering "too cold", "too hot" or "back to normal" events and KumoApp event handlers assigned to "temperatureChange" or "temperatureCross". This means if you have another WiFi thermostat including ones from Honeywell, you can choose your Nest Thermostat as if it is a temperature sensor tag in the "Set At" option to make it turn on/off another thermostat.

Nest Thermostats contain sophisticated algorithms to use sensor (a PIR?) and scheduling to determine if the house is occupied or not (i.e. "home" or "away"). Nest encourages developers to use this information in an integration. 

Starting today, the Nest thermostat "tag" will generate "Detected Movement" (i.e. transition from "away" to "home") and "Timed Out" (i.e. transition from "home" to "away") events just like a PIR KumoSensor. You will also be able to assign KumoApp event handlers to "detected" and "timedOut" of the Nest Thermostat to perform actions like arming or disarming motion sensor tags, as well as use corresponding IFTTT WirelessTag channel triggers. 

From the Web/Android interface you can click the ">" button to open a PIR sensor-like notification option screen for your Nest where you can choose emails, twitter account, push notification sounds for these events. 

Also, now if you have configured the "Set At" for your Nest such that HVAC is triggered by a wireless tag, when your Nest transitions to "away", temperature monitoring of the tag will be automatically disabled (so it will not try to turn on HVAC when nest is in "away" mode), and when Nest transitions to "home" the temperature monitoring at the tag will be re-enabled. This is actually a feature a lot of people wanted and long overdue. 

 

We now offer a limited edition variant of Wireless Tag Pro that uses 3D accelerometer instead of 3D compass to sense motion and door open-close (works only on vertical door like garage door and mailbox door). The benefits are

  • Immediate notification: The accelerometer measures acceleration 10 times a second resulting in virtually immediate notification.
  • Less false alarms: The accelerometer is not susceptible to electro-magnetic interference from nearby appliances turning on/off. This allows you to increase the sensitivity to detect small vibration, not possible with regular 3D compass based motion sensor tags. 
  • Two types of motion event: "Moved" and "Carried away": The tag can distinguish short vibration that lasts less than a second from longer movement lasting more than 2 seconds. 

The battery life of the accelerometer based tag in default setting is similar to that of regular 3D compass based tag in default setting. 

We started shipping PIR KumoSensors with firmware that allows sensitivity adjustment today (2015/11/6). When you receive your new PIR sensor (will show as "rev 8F" in search result), you will be able to access the sensitivity slider from the Web interface at https://mytaglist.com/eth.

With this new feature, you can reduce sensitivity if you are getting false alarms due to very short movement lasting less than a second. We tested this feature on two customer returned PIR sensors that were prone to produce false alarms. With sensitivity set to 50%, the false alarm completely went away, while each detects normal human movement every time. 

With the next iOS app update (version 2.6.0) you will be able to display temperature, humidity, motion event state or last update time of selected tags on lock screen. You can touch/tap on the colored square to the right to switch the display between humidity, last update time and motion sensor state. 

wireless tag widget ios humidity wireless tag widget ios updated ago wireless tag widget ios motion event

You don't have to launch the Kumostat app or even unlock your phone. Just drag down from the top of the screen to reveal the "Notification Center" where you can click the "Edit" button to add the "Temperature/Humidity/Motion widget". 

The nice thing about this feature is that you can mix&match multiple tags you want to show from different tag managers. Instead of data of all available tags, only data of the chosen tags is downloaded resulting in quick load time. 

In this version, we could not get the automatic display update to work within the widget, i.e. if a tag is moved, it will not automatically be updated in the notification center, unlike it does in the app. The display in the notification center should refresh/update if you hide the notification center and then open it again.  

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