Author Topic: UI7 Geofencing and notifications- There is room for improvement  (Read 4131 times)

Offline BOFH

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Environment : Vera3 with latest UI7 version / AT&T LG G2 Android phone latest updates with Vera Mobile Ui7 installed  While I am at home, the phone is connected to my local WiFi with a reliable 4G as a backup. At work, it is connected to our public WiFi which has a 99.5% uptime with again a reliable 4G signal to fall back on.

For the last approximately 2 months, I've been using and testing the Geofencing option in UI7 as well as the new notifications function for reliability. Using geofencing to arm/disarm sensors and run home/away scenes and using notification for alerts if sensors trip. With the intention to provide me with a reliable notification system in case of break-in but more important fire. As I have several GSD who are my furred kids.

Unfortunately I have found this solution to only be reliable about 70% of the time. Although the Vera side works fine 99% of the time, the Vera Android app has a number of issues that result in the above number.

Issues with the Android Vera Mobile app
1. The app crashes on a regular basis. I've not been able to determine what causes these crashes. Posssibly a memory leak?
Symptom: When clicking the app a 'Vera mobile has stopped responding' error pops up. Forcing me to have Android force close the app and restart it.

2. The app loses my Vera configuration.
Symptom: When clicking the app, it comes up with no devices at all and a message it needs to be configured. Pressing the 'back' button most of the time causes it reconnect to the Vera server and reload the configuration without the need to log in.

Debugging steps taken
- Cleared the app cache and data store and reconfigured it after rebooting the phone. The issue persists
- Deleted, rebooted the phone and re-installed the app on the LG G2. The issue persits.
- Deleted the app from my LG G2 and installed it on my work Verizon Samsung S4. The issue persists.
- Cleared the app cache and data store and reconfigured it. The issue persists
I ended up deleting the app of the S4 and re-installing it on the G2 as that is my personal phone. 


Improvement suggestions
- Perhaps create a more robust Vera Notifications sub app to ensure notifications come through more reliable?
- Add a 'reload/Refresh' button to the app menu to have the app reconnect to the server and reload the configuration to deal with above issue.
- Add a 'Version Info' item to the app menu as I had no idea which version of the app I am running until I went into the phone settings and found it to be 4.60.
- Allow the ability to get rid of alerts. Eg swipe right o delete? There currently does not seem to be a way to do this.
- Allow geofencing to work for more than 1 phone/person? This does not affect me, but it does affect a lot of other users.

Workarounds used and planned
There is a geofencing alternative I already used on my Ui5 Vera and which I am implementing on my Ui7 Vera to set Home/Away modes using the HouseModes plugin. This way if the VeraMobile app has issues, Vera still knows I am home or away.
The solution requires a DD-WRT compatible WiFi router and is discussed in the below thread. Reliability of this solution is about 95%.
http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,24084.0.html

For notifications I plan to use an el cheapo android phone. I've picked Freedompop as they give you about 200 minutes a month free with no monthly fee. They had a deal on a used ZTE Force for $25 last month and it should be arriving this week. What I plan to do is use Tasker et all interfaced with Vera on the ZTE. Now if there is a break in or smoke detected, Vera will tell tasker on the ZTE to call my G2 and play a pre-recorded MP3 status message via a bluetooth speaker that can be picked up by the ZTE microphone so I can hear it. Since I can assign a ringtone to a number on my G2, it'll have a unique ringtone to get my immediate attention. As the Freedompop free plan also includes free text messages, I may have it text my work phone (I do not have a text plan on my G2) as a backup.

Anybody have experiences with the iOS version of the app? Or better/worse experiences with the Android app on another device?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 09:43:05 pm by BOFH »
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Marc Shenker

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Re: UI7 Geofencing and notifications- There is room for improvement
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2015, 08:20:29 am »
BOFH, I am passing your post on to the Development Team. I appreciate your articulating the issues that you are having in this way so we can address them.

Offline Brighters

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Re: UI7 Geofencing and notifications- There is room for improvement
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2015, 09:16:27 am »
I am running latest UI7 and latest iOS app on iPhone 6+ on iOS 8.1. Geofencing does NOT work at all... I can configure it... but nothing happens when entering or leaving the geofencing area...

Neat.....  ???
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Offline BOFH

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Re: UI7 Geofencing and notifications- There is room for improvement
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2015, 10:13:48 am »
I'm not familiar with the iOS app but I am expecting it to be HTML5 like the Android one. Setting up geofencing is a bit tricky I have found.
What the GeoFencing app does is set the My Modes on the Vera dashboard to Home or Away based on the phone location and uses the preferred notification method defined in User Info to contact you.

Marc, Colin, Andrei, feel free to correct me if I missed anything or there is a better way.

Vera side
1. Click the > next to My Modes on the dashboard
2. Scroll down to the bottom and locate the Geofencing header. Ensure both boxes are checked for it. Optionally, above it under  the 'How much time...' header, set Wait before changing any mode to 0 (This fixes issues with the House Modes plugin)
3. Go to Users & account Info on the Vera menu bar on the left and select user Info.
4. Define what type of notifications you wish to receive. Either text messages, push notifications or email and enter the correct values. As I don't have a text plan, I opted for push notifications by checking the box next to 'send me push notifications'. (Note: Push notifications does not require the entry of a phone number, only text messages do)

App side (Basing this on the Android version)
1. Make sure you are home.
2. Ensure your GPS is on and the Vera Mobile app has been allowed access to the GPS, (No GPS, no Geofencing)
3. Open the Vera Mobile v7 app on your phone.
4. Click the > next to My Modes on the dashboard
5. Scroll down to the Geo Fences header
6. If no geofence is present already with your home address, click 'add new geo fence'. Otherwise click the edit button for your existing geo fence
7. Set both Radius size and Accuracy Location to 100 m as this seems to work best at this time. (Equates to 328 feet)
8. If you created a new geo fence, name it Home and save it (Done) If you edited an existing, save it by clicking Done.

After this, when you leave home, or arrive back home, you should receive a notification (via the way set in User Info) that you left (exit) are arrived (enter)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 05:07:44 pm by BOFH »
Vera3 UI5 UI7 Edge Plus
Trane TZEMT400AB32 | Schlage BE369 FE599 | GE 45601 45602 45603 45604 45606 45609 45631 | Intermatic HA01C HA03C HA05C HA07C CA600 CA3000 | Aeon DSC06106 | Telguard GDC1 | Foscam FI8910W FI8905W FI9821W | D-Link 930L | Wanscam JW0011 | ZModo ZPIBH13W