Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 18, 2012.

Update #39

The first blooms of spring

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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 info@theubi.com... 

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 help@theubi.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.

New Releases

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.

Variable passing

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...

Upcoming features

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.

SmartThings  

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.

Sensor Triggers

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.

Some examples:

  • 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

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.

Long Polling

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.

The remaining shipments 

The remaining shipments We’re nearly done the remaining shipments. There are still some shipments outside of North America that are taking longer because of adapters and shipping arrangements. If you’re concerned about not having received your Ubi yet, do give us a shout at help@theubi.com

Ubi in the news

We’ve been making the rounds and you can checkout some of the media about the Kickstarter campaign you supported at the links below.


Looking forward to bringing you more interesting updates in the coming weeks!
Thanks for your support.

Sincerely,

All of Team Ubi

Update #38

Spring Ahead

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Hello Backers,

We're almost there!

We're now eeking out the final shipments of Ubis, particularly to outside of North America, where it's taken us a longer to get the adapters and arrange shipping. We haven't forgotten about you and while it may still take several more weeks to finish up with these orders, know that we hold you dear to our hearts. Merci pour votre patience! Ich danke Ihnen für Ihre Geduld.

SmartThings

More and more of those who have signed up for the SmartThings Beta several weeks ago are having their accounts activated with access. Once this occurs, you'll get an email acknowledging you have access. You'll then be able to connect your SmartThings accounts and be able to instantaneously activate any of your SmartThings modes just by saying them to your Ubi! You'll also be able to get your SmartThings to talk - announcing changes in state of different sensors - and being able actuate switches and outlets through voice.

We've been having fun at the office with our SmartThings integration, getting announcements when we leave or arrive at our desks. If you've been playing with the Ubi and SmartThings integration, we'd love to hear your feedback!

Some applications we've seen being built so far:

  • Announcing through the Ubi when the garage door is open 
  • Turning off lights 
  • Getting alerted whenever a cabinet door opens
  • Announcing presence

Beta API Sign Up

What if you could get your app to talk? What if your Ubi could be the voice of any Internet connected service or device and what if you could control almost anything online without having to get your phone or a computer? The API we have in the works is going to make it really easy to do this and we're getting set to give early access to those eager to test it out.

If you're interested, fill out this quick form and we should start giving access in the coming weeks.

Here's a sneak peek at what we've built:

Remind me in 5 minutes...

If you haven't tried it out yet, your Ubi can remind you of things throughout the day. Just try "Remind me in five minutes to take out the garbage" or "Wake me up at 8 AM"

Some other things to try if you haven't yet...

  • Tell me a joke (and if it involves a punchline, re-trigger and ask it about the punchline, e.g. "Why did the chicken cross the road?") 
  • Play some Daft Punk
  • Tell John he's wonderful

The best place to get quick help with the Ubi and join the forums is at support.theubi.com

Our favorite quote:

"Ubi represents freedom from wires and devices." - Steve Wozniak

Quick Question

Would you help us answer this?

I wish my Ubi could [x]?

New videos of the Ubi

Project Ubi Odyssey

You're automatically a part of Project Ubi Odyssey. We've already granted priority access to a few people who have added their referrals. If you're interested in getting your friends to the top of the list, just fill out this quick form at ubireferral.com.

More features and updates are in the works and we're excited that you'll be a part of it!

Sincerely,

All of Team Ubi


Update #37 - For backers only

Project Ubi Odyssey

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.


Update #36

One Second Faster

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Hello backers,
We’ve come a long way but we’re not quite through yet.
 

We’re really happy to say that within the next two weeks, we hope to have fulfilled all of our Kickstarter shipments! We’ve now shipped out close to 1500 Ubis and many hundred of those will be landing at their destinations in the coming days.

There may be a few Ubis here and there that may take longer to make it out, but we hope to get everything squared away. Color selection and plug types have a tendency to get mixed up in the shipment but if this is the case, just send us a note at help@theubi.com. 

If you experience any trouble setting up your Ubi or getting it connected, let us know at help@theubi.com or support.theubi.com

We have a lot to tell you about...

Biggest Ubi Software Update Yet...

We’ve churned out many software updates but one of the most impactful is about to be pushed down to devices. The new update will:

  • Allow you to play a song to the end (after a brief teaser of the song so you know it’s the one you want)
  • Shave up to one second off the responsiveness of the Ubi trigger

We’ve also implemented the beta alarm clock app that allows you to setup quick reminders and alarms through your Ubi:  

  • OK Ubi... remind me in 10 minutes to take the pot off the stove  
  • OK Ubi... wake me up at 7 AM tomorrow 
  • OK Ubi... remind me every day at 3 PM to take my vitamins

For those using the Ubi Portal, we’ve also sped up it’s responsiveness, making creating custom behaviours a bit faster. We’ve got tons more in the works so make sure to keep your Ubis plugged in and connected so they can get smarter over time.

SmartThings Beta Integration is Here!

We’ve been testing out the SmartThings integration with the Ubi with a handful of backers and are now ready to open this up to a larger group. If you have SmartThings and are already registered on the Ubi Portal and want to try out the integration, use the form below and we’ll get you setup quickly.

SmartThings Beta Sign Up Form

We want your videos! 

If you have videos using the Ubi, we’d love to see them! Send us the link and we’ll feature them in our next update. Here’s one from a competition we were in... 

What’s coming up? 

Beyond the standard updates of shipping and new feature / improvement rollouts, we’ll be launching a new program in the coming weeks that you, as a Kickstarter backer, will be part of first. Keep an eye out! 

Questions? Comments? Help? 

We’re vigilant to get you running with the Ubi and improve your experience with it. If you having any issues or are unhappy, we want to hear it at help@theubi.com. Our support page is growing and there are some really great ideas being presented at support.theubi.com. Thanks for your support! 

Sincerely, 

All of Team Ubi


Update #35

Hello 2014

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Dear Backers,

It's real. Every day, more Ubis are coming online, getting connecting to the Ubi Portal, and we're getting some incredible and useful feedback from the those who have started to use their Ubi.

While Ubis are being shipped, there's still work to do to get the Ubi to the level we want it to be. Much of the long, time consuming work we've been doing is putting in place the infrastructure to update the Ubis remotely, including quality control and testing before deployment. This has been a massive undertaking and since the first Ubi that shipped to our beta backers until the present, we've had eight revisions of the software that resides on the Ubi and many countless changes to the Ubi Portal.

There are many more updates in store that will make the Ubi run faster, be smarter, and connect with many things.

Many things to discuss, so let's get to it...

Shipping

We've now shipped out close to 1,000 Ubis. Despite the very large interest that we received on our website after the Kickstarter campaign, we've given priority to our Kickstarter backers. Over two thirds of our backers have had at least one unit shipped to them so far.

To speed up delivery, we've been splitting up multipack orders. In the coming weeks, if you've received only one Ubi and have ordered more, the remainder of the Ubis should be on their way soon.

After our manufacturing and shipping partner took a short pause over the holidays, they've now resumed shipment of the Ubis and we're getting them out at a rate of about 70 a day. With this, we hope to have delivered all your Ubis by the end of January.

Once your Ubi ships out, we'll send you a note to let you know. We've had a few issues with Ubis that have been turned around at PO Boxes, so if you provided one as your shipping address, we'll be asking shortly for an alternative address to ship these Ubis to.

Reflection on Kickstarter

Kickstarter, from a project maker's perspective, is an amazing place for support and for literally getting a project kickstarted, but it's not the end. Getting something put together as ambitious as the Ubi takes a lot of effort and support and we've been very fortunate to have found some great mentors to move us forward. The Ubi that you're receiving for this first low volume run (for electronics) with cross border and worldwide shipping - just looking at materials and manufacturing - costs more than what we collected per unit on Kickstarter. On top of this are development and fixed costs.

We're now positioned to move forward quickly in breathing life into the Ubi and have a high quality team of developers continuously pushing updates to the device and Portal.

Even with the work that's gone into the Ubi, we still need to add polish and get it working even better. Along the way, if someone's not satisfied with the state of the Ubi as it stands today (especially after waiting so long) and may not want to wait for it to get to that level, we want to hear from you and make it right. You put a lot of faith in us and we want to ensure that you're treated fairly. info@theubi.com goes to the team and we try to answer quickly.

Getting things connected

Many have been telling us that they've been awaiting a particular integration with the Ubi. We've been field testing integration with a particular project that you've come to love (beyond our own project, of course) and are working with said project to put the final touches on an announcement.

Support and Community

We've now launched our early support pages at support.theubi.com. This will be the best place to go to get your questions answered and submitting questions to us there ensures we can be organized when responding (and things will be less likely to fall through the cracks). If it's easier, emailing help@theubi.com also allows us to answer faster and track these emails.

By far, the most pressing questions coming up are around setup and we've posted some updates on our support pages. We're constantly searching for ways to make the Ubi a better experience and easier to use so we definitely welcome your suggestions.

Thank You

Thanks for all your support along the way to get to this point. We're far from done but getting the Ubis out to most of you is a big milestone you made happen.

Sincerely, 

Team Ubi


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