You’ve been waiting awhile for an update and we’re exciting to give you one! In this update, we’re going to go a bit deeper and more technical. If you need any help deciphering, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org...
One of the incredible things is to see more and more Ubis come alive and for people to find new ways of employing the Ubi. If you haven’t played around with the Ubi Portal, there’s a lot you can do today and much more will be available in the coming months.
Once you have your Ubi up and running (let us know if you issues by emailing us at email@example.com) first thing is to login at portal.theubi.com, click on your Ubi, and scroll down to Custom Behavior.
This is your key to magic. Here, you can create custom commands to get the Ubi to send an email/SMS, talk back information, send messages between multiple Ubis, and send HTTP requests to outside Internet connected services and devices.
We’re going to be adding many things to this area, so it’s worth checking back every few weeks.
Regular expressions in utterance
In custom utterances, you can get the Ubi to react to different matches by varying the sensitivity of the match. If you've searched for a library book by computer in the 90’s, you've likely already been exposed to regular expression.
If you specify a variable in your custom utterance, you can capture this and use it for the content of a voice announcement from the Ubi or the body of an email. Even more fun, you can use it as an early intercom system between two or more Ubis, broadcasting messages between them.
HTTP POST Requests
We’ve added the ability to make HTTP POST request based on custom utterances. You can add to this text, JSON, XML and more to help develop your app and command the world through your Ubi!
Internal sensor commands
We’ve connected the sensor data on the Ubi to a voice command so you can try asking the following:
- What is the temperature inside?
- What is the light level?
- What is the humidity level?
- What is the sound level?
- What is the air pressure inside?
Ubi will read back this information to you.
How we roll out new features
There are a ton of additional features that both Team Ubi and people who have the Ubi want. We’ve been very careful rolling out new features to the Ubi. Typically, features fall into three areas - the firmware on the Ubi, the software that resides locally, and a lot of software that resides on the cloud (this is also the order of least to most frequently updated).
If you didn’t catch it before, we go over the internals of the Ubi here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZiFrzv65tI
One of the reasons why we were able to ship out the Ubi when we did is because we had thoroughly built and tested the ability to update the Ubi in the field. There’s a lot of capability that we’re working to unlock from the Ubi and the remote update capability will allow us to do that. Part of our testing on any update is to ensure that we don’t hamper this ability otherwise it will halt the individual Ubi’s development and operation.
We go through four phases for a release (these vary a bit between firmware, onboard software, and Portal changes)
- Alpha testing internally
- Beta release candidate testing by our production team
- Beta tester release
- Full release
For the beta tester release, we start off by releasing features to the group of individuals who have either signed up for beta testing or got in touch with us with interest in testing out features. Once our production team gives us the green light on testing the new release, we’ll start to push the feature to a small group of beta testers and monitor the performance of the Ubi over a few days. Once everything clears, we’ll then release to a larger group until everyone in the beta tester group is covered.
For the full release, once we see the beta testers are doing well and there are no changes, we repeat the update process - releasing updates to a set of Ubis and slowly pushing out to everyone over a week or two.
A few things can slow down the release of features. We can find bugs that affect the ability to update remotely, inhibit performance, or in other ways don’t do what we expect. Sometimes we catch these immediately, other times they pop up in the beta testing process and we have to tackle them and cycle through updates again.
Currently, going through this process, we have a number of features for release in the pipeline...
While we have a lot of items on the go, here are the items that we’re pushing for a release over the coming month.
Bearing the above in mind (finding bugs during testing can cause delays), here are our planned releases.
This is the biggest release we have planned over the next few weeks. Over 140 beta testers are live with SmartThings and the response has been very positive so far. If you have SmartThings and haven’t set it up yet, it’s time to open the box, log into your SmartThings account, and get your imagination going about how you’d like to talk to your home and have your home talk to you. It’s fairly straightforward to integrate the Ubi Portal to your SmartThings account and setup commands and triggers.
Keep an eye out over the coming few weeks for the full release.
You know the sensor data that’s posted on your Ubi Portal? Very shortly, you’ll be able to add these to your custom behaviors to get the Ubi to alert you of things around you.
- If temperature goes about 80 F, send an email to John and announce “Open a window”
- If humidity goes below 20%, send an SMS to Mark “buy some lip balm”
Once we go live, you’ll see these in your custom behaviors tab
HTTP-in allows you to remotely trigger the Ubi to say something or do something. Also under custom behaviors, it’ll create a unique token that can then be added to your web or other app to push announcements to the Ubi. For announcements, these can either be pre-written or passed through as variables directly to the Ubi.
We’ve been testing long polling on the Ubi and the initial results have been encouraging. This will allow for sub second responsiveness of the Ubi to custom behaviors and HTTP-in triggers. We’re very excited about the potential of long polling to make another dramatic improvement to how you use the Ubi.
Google Calendar Syncing
While this one still has some work and testing that may go beyond our month one month timeline, the first successes with it have been very helpful. You’ll be able to set appointments on your Google Calendar as well as announce these back through the Ubi.