The annoying mobile-IoT-cloud mash-up we actually need
It’s a hassle to start your day with a dead battery.
This is especially relevant to owners of iPhones, iPads, and other devices which do not have replaceable batteries.
But even though many Samsung and other Android phones batteries are replaceable, some of us still need help remembering to plug them in to charge.
This project provides several ways to be reminded so that we don’t go to sleep while battery-dependent devices are left to drain overnight.
We designed our solution for people who don’t have a lot of technical experience.
So we made it easy to setup and use even though we use advanced security techniques (XMPP and SPARQL with PKI security certificates).
With our package, you don’t need to have your laptop running all the time.
Nevertheless, we can arrange for local technical experts to travel to you for installation.
If you want one for your team or company, let me know and I’ll come to set it up in your office.
Let’s now look at elements of the cloud offering:
Our iOS app is downloaded and installed from the Apple Store onto each individual user’s iPhone or iPad.
From the Google Play Store each user downloads and installs our Android app.
On either platform, open the mobile app and it begins to collect battery conditions and calculate usage patterns to project remaining time and, if plugged in, when a full charge will be achieved.
If the app can predict when you’ll unplug for usage, it projects charge levels for the rest of your day. ***
The app stores this information until it connects with the same Wi-Fi router used by the receiver program that retrieves battery information from mobile phones.
For security, register your credentials on the same website that sends you the Black Box you’ll be using to manage your “things” – sensors that listen and actuators that do things.
That website also automatically keeps software in your Box up to date.
Several antennas in the Black Box talk to devices that communicate using a variety of technologies (Wi-Fi, BTLE, ZigBee, 3G, LTE, LoRa).
The Black Box has a web page for you to secure communication with each device and to specify settings such as how often measurements are processed, and other preferences.
Because of this, you won’t need to plug a monitor to the box even though it has a HDMI port. ***
Unlike a laptop or mobile phone, your Black Box is intended to be constantly plugged into an electrical outlet. And ideally through an Uninteruptable Power Supply containing a battery.
When conditions and preferences allow, the Dispatcher program sends out a signal to devices it can communicate with.
Notification can start with a text message to the phone, which is ideal because the owner would then be able to take immediate action of plugging the phone in.
The sound of text message tones on phones are usually too low to hear, so that’s one reason people wear a smart watch. But that can also run out of battery as well. ***
That’s the reason the Dispatcher may call the phone with a recorded message.
Alternately, a speaker device may emit a recorded sound, recorded speech, or text-to-speech artificial voice. ***
If a response is not received within a set time, an annoying (attention grabbing) siren (alarm) could sound. ***
Individual preferences for being alerted, and the sequence of escalation preferred, are set in the dispatch web page.
For example, those hard of hearing may prefer that a smart bulb be lit up with a color and pattern of lighting set by the owner.
This owner personal control of notifications is what provides great value from this solution.
Additional actuators may be added, such as devices that vibrate.
Since the condition of the mobile device continues to be monitored, simply plugging the device in for charging would stop alerting. ***
Optionally, press a Flic, Amazon Dash, or other button to have the Dispatcher program alter alerting.
- One press to remind me again in 10 minutes (a kind of snooze button)
- Two presses to call the phone (so I can find it), or a
- Long press and hold to ignore (let the battery drain)
Thus, a button can control the lights, the speakers, and the alarm.
For even more convenience, if there is a microphone (such as Sonos) listening for spoken commands, Natural Language Processing software would understand what needs to be done.
Inside the Black box
Now let’s look further into components of the Sentry box.
Data retrieved is stored in a database containing trend information over time.
The receiver program also manages the archival and deletion of data to stay within storage limits.
The box comes with 64 GB of fast Solid-State storage. ***
Trends are calculated and displayed by an analysis program.
A long-running alerting program determines when actions</strong> need to be triggered, based on a set of logical rules.
For example, the program determines whether the battery is steadily declining or is being charged, and notifies the Dispatch program listening for trigger requests.
An evaluation of this solution should include how well it can be extended.
One extension of this system would interact with various calendars associated with the user.
This design is classified among “Health and Medicine” offerings because it can also be applied to remind people to take pills before going to bed.
Optionally, the GPS location of the device, if available, can be sent so the machine knows if you leave your house without doing what needs to be done.
Rather than risk exposing a connection to the public internet, which some home internet providers do not allow, some may prefer to have data be collected by cloud servers in locations around the world, then retrieved (or pulled into) the local machine.
Use of an external cloud also allows inclusion of external sensor data beyond mobile phones, such as nearby weather conditions, road conditions, water utility usage, or other “smart city” feeds.
A low-battery alert is one in a whole set of use cases for individually customizable physical alerting.
We’ve come tothe ultimate reason for a personal Black Box.
When configured with an API (Application Programming Interface) to receive messages from Jenkins, Zapier, or other external system, the Box ensures you receive the appropriate urgency depending on what it knows about the sender, the subject, and how you prefer to be notified. For example, you’ll get more immediate attention and repeated notice for fire alarms or freezers not having power anymore.
Industrial team extensions
We can imagine several other uses for a generalized physical reminder system like this to ensure that important tasks get done.
This solution can also be useful in a team environment where each person may think it’s another person’s responsibility.
This is for almost any task that must be done by a certain time.
NOTE: The more general solution is called a Dead man’s snitch, as in “a copy of this will be released to the press if my people don’t hear back from me the end of this hour”.
If you want this for yourself, let me know and I’ll get one to your home or office.
More on IoT
This is one of a series on IoT:
- IoT Apprentice school curriculum
- IoT use cases
- IoT reminders prevent dead mobile battery
- IoT text to speech synthesis
- IoT AWS button
- Intel IoT
- IoT Raspberry hardware
- IoT Clouds
- Predix basics
- Predix installation
- Predix services
and whether the battery is plugged in for charging.