Today, we are pleased to announce the Location Automation Assistant (LAA). LAA is the result of feedback and support issues we have received since releasing Auto Home and Auto Away functionality.
The Location Automation Assistant provides the following functionality:
- Location Assistant in the Mobile App
- Intelligent Location Automation Notifications
- Blackout Period
- Active Alarm Update
Mobile App Requirements
All mobile devices are required to be updated to abode Mobile App version 4.1.0 for the Location Automation Assistant functionality to work properly.
Location Assistant UI
The Location Assistant UI in the abode Mobile App serves multiple functions. First, it allows you to see the current location of the phones in your system with respect to the geofences and location automations that you’ve configured. Second, it provides a troubleshooting UI that allows you to quickly determine if participating phones are not reporting their location properly. The Location Assistant functionality can be found in abode Mobile App >> Settings >> Location Assistant.
When you create a location automation, you configure the automation to trigger based on the location of your mobile device(s). When any phone is added to a geofence, the system will notify the user with a push notification. If the user clicks for more information, they will get a screen that provides additional information.
All configured geofences are displayed in the Location Assistant UI. In the screenshot below, notice that there are two dots below School. If you see multiple dots, this means that you have defined multiple geofences in your abode system. By swiping left and right, you can see each device’s status (inside or outside) as it relates to the geofence.
Also, note that for each geofence, we only show you phones that have location automations configured for that particular geofence.
Troubleshooting using the Location Assistant
If you notice that your Location Automations are not working correctly, you can use the Location Assistant to troubleshoot. Each phone displayed in the Location Assistant can have three states. These states are described below:
- Reporting Normally - Andy’s iPhone X
- Has not reported in 24 hours - Bridget’s - Abode
- Has not reported since the location automation was created / edited - not shown in example.
- Abode Location Services Off - Lucy’s Pixel 2 - this means that the user has turned off the abode Location Services toggle at the to of the Location Assistant screen.
Intelligent Location Automation Notifications
In the past couple of years, we’ve worked to troubleshoot many different location automation issues. We’ve learned from these troubleshooting experiences and have been able to improve our location automation triggering as a result. Using the Location Assistant intelligence that we described above, we have improved our algorithms and now have the ability to alert you when an automation should have triggered but did not. These Location Automation Assistant alerts describe the reason for the failure and allow you to take immediate action to either manually apply the automation or ignore it.
Please note that your existing location automations (Auto Home / Auto Away) will continue to function as they have. The Intelligent Location Automation Notifications only occur when one or more of the devices associated with your automations are in a fault state.
The three fault states are:
- Has never reported its location.
- Has not reported its location in the past 24 hours.
- Has abode Location Services turned off.
Abode Mobile App
If you click “Apply Now”, the automation is executed. If you click “Ignore”, the automation is ignored. When an LAA event is applied or ignored, you can see when and who took the action on the LAA event.
In rare instances, mobile devices erroneously report an incorrect location. These cases are almost always immediately followed by a correct location report. If Auto Home and Auto Away are configured, this can result in an unexpected arming and disarming. The location events come directly from the phone and are not controlled by abode. We simply receive the update from the phone and relay it to the abode servers for evaluation. Since it is the actual devices that are reporting coordinates incorrectly, we have to figure out ways on the server side to remove these incorrect updates.
We have done extensive algorithm development which has allowed us to correctly remove many of these events, but have not been able to remove all of them. We will continue work to improve our algorithm and hope to be able to filter out all of these incorrect events in the future.
Since we are a security company and because we cannot control what is reported by the device, we have implemented Blackout Periods. This functionality allows you to define periods when Location Automations require manual triggering. When a location automation occurs during a Blackout Period, the automation will not execute. Instead, you will receive a mobile app push notification with options to apply or ignore this automation.
How do I set up a Blackout Period
Blackout Periods are defined for each location automation that you create. If you want the same blackout period defined for all of your location automations, you will need to edit each one and configure the Blackout Period accordingly.
- Create or Edit an existing Location Automation.
- At the last step in the Editor, click the checkbox and define your Blackout Period.
Active Alarm Update
Alarm scenarios are high pressure situations. Once you’ve determined that a threat is real, the next step for many users is determining the safety and location of family members. To help during these high pressure scenarios, we now show you if there are any devices inside your geofence during the alarm. Clicking “Touch to see more” will take you to the Location Assistant screen which allows you to see exactly which phones are home.