Category Archives: Technical

The SIGNUL Beacon Channel is Live on IFTTT!

signul-ifttt

We are extremely excited to announce that the SIGNUL Beacon Channel has officially launched on IFTTT!

IFTTT (If This Then That) integration was, far and above, the most frequently requested feature during the inception of SIGNUL. We were very fortunate to get the opportunity to create an early release Beta channel thanks to the great folks at IFTTT. Today, we’re proud to be able to share that channel, along with some of our favourite IFTTT recipes for everyone to use.

How does SIGNUL work with IFTTT?

First of all, a quick IFTTT refresher. IFTTT is based on a very simple formula called a “recipe”. It looks like this:

Recipe

 

Our SIGNUL channel allows you to use SIGNUL Enter/Exit Zone Events as the Trigger in your IFTTT recipes:

IfSignulPretty cool – now, you are triggering simply off the presence of your smartphone (which likely means your presence, if your phone is tied at the hip the way ours are).

From there, the possibilities become very exciting! IFTTT ties together literally hundreds of services which span everything from social, to home automation, Google Drive, and more.

 

How Physical Context Can Streamline Your Digital World

In our opinion, the most exciting part of all this is the ability to influence your digital world simply based on your physical context. This can be a bit tricky to digest at first, but once you think about some of your day-to-day routines, the applications become apparent, and extremely relevant.

Here are a few of our favourite recipes and what we use them for:

Slack – Check Ins

IFTTT Recipe: Let Slack know when you've arrived at work connects signul-beacon to slack  Slack has changed the way teams collaborate and enabled a paradigm shift in effective remote communication. We use SIGNUL + IFTTT to automatically post arrival and departure messages to our Slack channels so that we know when folks are actually at the keys.

Twitter – Messaging

IFTTT Recipe: Send a Twitter DM when you're leaving work connects signul-beacon to twitter

Tweeting is an incredibly versatile action. Ranging from everything to posting a daily update, or sending a DM to a friend when you leave work, Twitter benefits greatly from context changes like arriving at work, leaving work, getting home, getting to the gym and more.

 Google Drive – Timesheets

IFTTT Recipe: Update My Timesheet When I Leave Work connects signul-beacon to google-drive

Maybe you’re trying to get more from your day, or maybe you need employees to check in and check out for billing. Integration with Google Drive, and Sheets in particular, can create automated time tracking and check-in/check-out systems using SIGNUL+IFTTT. This has been a very popular integration for many of our early commercial users.

Home Automation

 IFTTT Recipe: Turn on your Nest Thermostat when you leave work connects signul-beacon to nest-thermostat

IFTTT Recipe: Turn your lights on as you arrive home connects signul-beacon to smartthings

During the Indiegogo campaign for SIGNUL, we heard one message loud and clear – people saw a lot of great applications for SIGNUL and control of their home automation products. IFTTT is the ideal platform for this bridge between the physical and digital world because most of the world’s top home automation providers have created IFTTT channels for controlling their products.

signul-tech

We’re extremely excited to see what automation people can enable using SIGNUL+IFTTT and hope to see amazing things that were not possible before. Smartphone as presence is a very powerful concept in home automation.

 

Wrap Up

We’ve just scratched the surface here with our initial introduction. We sincerely hope you are as excited as we are, and can only imagine some of the creations that will be possible once everyone starts to harness the power of the SIGNUL Channel.

Please keep us posted, share your cool recipes, and let us know what you have wired up. Happy IFTTT’ing everyone!

 

Plastics Update

Lots of interesting stuff going on in our design for manufacturing on the SIGNUL form factor. We’ve been working very hard to make SIGNUL an interesting and functional device that is something you will want to have on display at your home, or office!

Here’s a sneak peak at the latest iterations on design – hope you like the new lid!

Work in Progress

SIGNUL Lid – Work in Progress

 

Form Factor Release Candidate

A Cut Away SIGNUL Form Factor Test

A Cut Away SIGNUL Form Factor Test

We’re excited! The SIGNUL form-factor has been promoted to release-candidate 1.0 and is headed over to our plastics partners at Colpitts Design to be prepared for injection moulding!

While it has been a labor of love for us, it’s also amazing just how much work and iteration goes into even a relatively simple design. We estimate that we’ve done around 20 major design revisions and have 3D printed over 100 different variations on the SIGNUL design since we began the process.

We’re very happy with the result, and the process has also given us a bunch of ideas for future form factors for SIGNUL. We think there’s a very exciting roadmap ahead.

A Stack of Iterations

A Stack of Iterations

Those of you that backed our Indiegogo campaign and purchased the 3D printed SIGNUL proofs will be receiving shipments very soon. Thanks for your patience and contribution to the process of building SIGNUL!

Super Deluxe SIGNUL App Preview

Some very exciting news today! We’re pleased to be able to release some sneak-preview shots from the release candidate of the SIGNUL iOS App. We’re super excited about it and hope that you are too!

As you know, SIGNUL is a Personal Beacon System. It allows you to streamline and simplify your daily digital life by automating common digital tasks based on your proximity to a SIGNUL. We’ve pulled together a bunch of screen shots and some explanations of how the system can be applied to automate events.

SIGNUL Tasks

SIGNUL Tasks

 

First things first, this screen shot shows the palette of tasks that SIGNUL can support. Messaging, Alerts, App Launch, Phone and Web Tasks are fairly straight forward (more about them below). Also, note that there is an Automation task, which can be configured to call a web service URL of your choice, and IFTTT (If This Then That) integration which allows you to connect to a whole host of API’s for things like home automation, Google Docs, Dropbox, SMS, Android functions, and more.

 

Messaging Functions

Let’s take a look at messaging – in the example below, we set up SIGNUL to automatically start a Tweet when we exit a SIGNUL zone. In this case, the beacon on our desk at work. When you leave work, your phone will prompt you to send the tweet. Confirm and go, or edit the tweet before it goes out. #niceandeasy

AppPreview6You can also see the other supported messaging targets – queue up an iMessage, post to Facebook, or start an email automatically when you enter or leave a SIGNUL zone.

 

Launching Apps

One of our favourite applications is to have SIGNUL launch Apps when entering a zone. Specifically, launch Spotify, Rdio, or Pandora when you leave home, or get near the SIGNUL in your car. The interface for this is super-simple, and we allow you to submit suggestions for our supported App list right inside the SIGNUL App!

App Launch Interface

 

Automation and IFTTT

During the Indiegogo Campaign for SIGNUL, there was no question that automation and the ability to integrate with web services, Arduino’s, and Raspberry Pi’s was big in our early adopter community.

Also, our #1 requested feature and feedback from the campaign was integration with IFTTT (if-this-then-that) so we set out on a mission to get access to the API so that we could build a channel for SIGNUL. This allows amazing connections to home automation systems like SmartThings, WeMo, Philips Hue, and Wink, but also opens up a world of API access to Facebook, Google Docs, Dropbox, and more. One of our coolest early projects was to create a timesheet system that automatically enters rows into a Google Spreadsheet when we enter and leave the office!

Integration with external API’s is pretty much wide open via the Automation Task provided in SIGNUL. It’s super simple – provide an endpoint, and we’ll hit it when you enter or leave SIGNUL zones:

Automation Task

 

IFTTT integration is similarly easy – you simply create and log into a SIGNUL account (right in-app) and then specify which SIGNULs you would like to register with IFTTT. After that, your SIGNUL beacons are available in IFTTT to use as triggers for any reactions you can dream up:

 

Integration with IFTTT

 

Shipping Soon!

We’ve got a few more tweaks and buffs to go into the Apps (Android is coming up right behind iOS – don’t worry!) and then it’s off to the App Store. Our target is to submit before the end of January to have the Apps ready for our early supporters as the first SIGNUL kits leave later this week.

Thanks once again for your support, and we hope that you’re as excited about SIGNUL as we are!

 

 

 

FCC Pre-Scan

A SIGNUL being configured for pre-scan in the chamber.

A SIGNUL being configured for pre-scan in the chamber.

 

Today was FCC pre-scan day! For people not familiar with the process, it is required for FCC and CE marks (common on all radio transmission devices) to ensure things like:

  • Acceptable power levels – radio transmitters in different frequencies are governed to transmit at specified maximum power levels. The scan checks to make sure that you are not exceeding an acceptable level.
  • Frequency calibration – ensures that you are transmitting only in the bands that you have specified (Bluetooth LE is in the 2.4ghz band) and not on different frequencies or harmonics.

We’re pleased to announce that SIGNUL passed it’s pre-scan and is headed into a full test cycle for FCC and CE certification. This is another great step forward in our production pipeline!

 

Active Scanning

Active Scanning