Device Cloud Update Enables Compliance with Major Security Frameworks

We’re excited to announce some important changes to Device Cloud By Etherios ™. This Device Cloud update addresses our top priorities when it comes to developing a cloud platform for our customers– security and user experience. Whenever connecting a device to the Internet, security is always a top concern. More than anything, we value delivering a secure and reliable solution. And we want that solution to be as seamless as possible, so you can get your devices up and running quickly. Here’s what’s in store for you in this Device Cloud update.

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A Secure and Compliant Cloud Solution

Whether you operate in the medical, retail, financial, or any other industry that has strict security standards, Device Cloud can be a part of the solution. The new universal profile manager simplifies the task of managing a large number of devices. It instantly recognizes any suspicious changes made to a device. If a new firmware version or unknown file is uploaded to a device, Device Cloud automatically recognizes this activity and prevents unknown changes from happening on your network.

With Gartner predicting over 26 billion IoT devices by 2020, and while this is an exciting phenomenon, it’s crucial that we move forward in a way that addresses the vulnerabilities of a connected device. Cutting corners when it comes to security can be costly.

Take for example, the recent and well-publicized Target breach from earlier this year. Malware on their PoS registers led to 40 million stolen credit card numbers and 70 million addresses and other personal information. If Target’s PoS registers had comprehensive, centrally managed security watching over them, the data breach might have been mitigated or prevented altogether.

Device Cloud already has over 175 different security controls in place. These account for such security frameworks as the ISO27002’s ISMS, NERC’s critical infrastructure protection (CIP) guidance, Payment Card Industry PCI-DSS v2, as well as relevant HIPAA and NIST standards. The addition of the universal profile manager is an exciting upgrade to the already robust security tools available in Device Cloud.

Visual Experience

We’ve also rebuilt our dashboard– making it easier to view the health of your devices from anywhere. Now when you log into your Device Cloud account you are greeted with a visual charts and graphs that enable you to quickly see the health of your device deployment. Network managers can visually monitor parameters like cellular RSSI, data sent/received, available device RAM, among other important network statistics. This dashboard is customizable and allows a user to set the levels of each threshold, so you can quickly get the info that you most care about.

Get Started Today

Click here to sign up for a free Device Cloud Developer account and take these new features for a test drive. And if you’re interested in learning more about how to secure the Internet of Things, check out our whitepaper to discover what it takes to build a secure connected solution.

Posted in M2M Trends, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

The Internet of Snacks is Coming to Dreamforce 2014

Most of us have been frustrated by losing money or a snack to a vending machine at one time or another. So, it was an easy decision when Etherios was choosing a machine for a connected product makeover. The goal was simple: make the vending machine operate more efficiently by turning it into a connected product. As a connected machine it will always be well stocked, in good repair, and report detailed data for each customer transaction.IoTDemoQuarter

The team started by embedding a quarter-sized sensor in the carrier ̶ ̶ this is the removable piece of  the vending machine where the coins are stored. The carrier creates a protective area, making it a perfect place for the sensor. In the picture below, you can see the sheet metal screw (circled in red) that holds the sensor in place and the reed switch, which is an electrical switch operated by the applied magnetic field (circled in blue).IoTDemo2

With the sensor in place, we were able to start tracking the vending machine’s activities and then monitor that data directly in Device Cloud By Etherios ™. By implementing The Social Machine®, we also created the ability to engage the information in the Salesforce platform, which created efficiencies with dashboards and graphs, creating cases automatically about operational issues and receiving proactive notifications about alerts through Chatter.

Turning the vending machine into a connected product enabled the team to:

Smarter Sales Order System

  • See the quantity of items in the machine with vertical bar chart dashboards
  • See real-time inventory levels
  • Set an alarm to place new sales order when the quantity of the item hits a certain threshold
  • Monitor the vending machine’s current revenue and margin data

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  • Create a smarter replenishment process
  • Know prior to a service call which specific items need to be replenished

Targeted Marketing

  • Track on graphs the overall popularity of each item to use to create more targeted campaigns  in the future

Preventative Service (break-fix, remote device management)

  • Manage and monitor the vending machine remotely
  • Simulate the gumball machine experiencing an issue outside of normal operating guidelinesTrack the signal strength at any time, making troubleshooting issues easier and more efficient.
  • Monitor the vending machine’s state of health and know about potential problems before they happen.

Join Us at Dreamforce
Want to see the vending machine in action? Stop by Etherios’ booths at this year’s Dreamforce in San Francisco and hear about what else we’ve been up to. If you want to learn how to hack into your own vending machine, sign up to attend Internet of Snacks: Cloud-Connected Commercial Vending or any of our other small sessions throughout the week at Dreamforce. Click here for more information about where to find Etherios at Dreamforce.vendingdemo

Posted in Salesforce.com Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

The Social Machine is the AppExchange App of the Week

The Social Machine is featured as the Salesforce AppExchange App of the Week! The Social Machine makes any device smarter by enabling businesses to use device data within Salesforce to improve customer service. Customers are using this information to transform traditional products into services.

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We are proud to be featured as the app of the week on the world’s largest enterprise application marketplace. These are some of the key features that make TSM a perfect addition to Salesforce–

Remote Control

  • View device image, current location, live sensor readings, active and historical alarms, and more.
  • Chatter with devices to engage sales, service, field reps and machines in a single conversation.
  • Acknowledge or reset an alarm, reboot a device remotely or push a firmware upgrade in real-time.

Want to see The Social Machine in action? We also have a demo that allows you to generate sensor data from your iOS device and see that data in Salesforce1. Reid Carlberg did a whole blog post for the Salesforce Developers blog that walks you through how to set up this simple IoT demonstration. You can read that post here.

You can get started with The Social Machine by downloading it from the Salesforce AppExchange.

 

Posted in The Social Machine Tagged with: , ,

Webinar: How the Internet of Things Enables Effortless and Exceptional Customer Service

Internet connected devices promise to deliver big changes to our lives, but what does this new technology mean for businesses? Your customers expect exceptional customer service at every interaction with your organization. Connected devices give your company another means to tailor your communications and deliver outstanding service.

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Click image to view

Interested in learning how your company can develop an Internet of Things strategy that impacts the quality of your customer service? This webinar, hosted by Salesforce’s Charlie Isaacs and Etherios’ Chuck Malone, shares how companies are using connected devices to effortlessly deliver customer service. The following topics are covered–

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution – What is it and why should you care?
  • The 3 key technology components for creating connected solutions.
  • How a connected solution drives value for you and your customer.
  • A customer case study that highlights the business impact of connected solutions.

We hope you find this webinar helpful as you develop an Internet of Things strategy for your company. Here’s the Etherios Resource page where you can find more Salesforce and Internet of Things information.

Posted in Salesforce.com Tagged with: , , ,

Salesforce Winter ’15 Release Delivers Mobile Improvements

There are a lot of great enhancements coming in the Winter ’15 release of Salesforce, but the features coming to Salesforce1 and SalesforceA are far and away my favorite. Partly because most people live on their mobile devices and salesforce.com is making that life significantly easier, but also because, with this release, I can officially say that I no longer have a need to visit the desktop version of Salesforce…that is phenomenal!

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So with that, here is a list of my favorite things coming to mobile in the Winter ’15…

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  1. The Salesforce1 Wizard: If you are new to Salesforce1, the wizard is going to be a life saver. It is not a one stop shop for all Salesforce1 setup training, but it will definitely get you started! Get to it here: Setup > Salesforce1 Setup >click Launch Quick Start Wizard. It will walk you through the setup of things like:
    1. Determining which items are in the navigation menu
    2. Organizing your global actions
    3. Creating compact layouts (for the contacts object)
  2. Filter List Views (mobile browser): Add text, date, and/or number filters to your list views to see just the data you want…need I say more!?
  3. Mobile Action Bar: the Publisher Icon and Action Tray is being replaced with the Action Bar and Action Menu. The big changes:
    1. Record Actions: Some record actions have been moved from the highlights section to the action bar, including: Send Email, Log a Call, Map, View Website, and Read News.
    2. Publisher Actions: Adding, removing, or reordering of actions is reflected in the actions bar.
    3. Buttons: The action bar contain buttons such as Edit, Delete, Clone, etc. These can be reordered as well, with the exception of the Edit button.
    4. Chatter Actions: Standard chatter actions are included in the actions bar, as they were in the action tray previously.
  4. Actions on Records from Related Lists: Now when you are on the related list of a record, you can swipe left on the desired record and you will be presented with a row of actions that are available for use!
  5. Prevent Duplicates (Beta): This is in beta on desktop and mobile, and is a great feature for keeping clean data. Admins can now setup rules to restrict users from saving duplicate records, allowing them to save a record even if a duplicate detected, AND in Salesforce1 you can set the duplicate rule to run as users complete fields on a record: Setup > Mobile Administration > Salesforce1 > Settings > click Run duplicate rules when users complete fields
  6. Log Calls Faster: Available on Leads, Contacts, and Accounts, reps can now log calls by adding notes and moving on to the next meeting! No need to fill out every field on the task record anymore.
  7. Convert Leads to Contacts (Beta): Easy to setup, and easy to use: Setup > Customize > Leads > Settings > click Enable Conversions on the Salesforce1 App…as quick as your reps convert Leads on the go!salesforceA

SalesforceA

  1. View System Status: View trust.salesforce.com right from the SalesforceA app in one of two ways…
    1. Under the scheduled maintenance section on the home page, click Go to trust.salesforce.com
    2. From the navigation menu, click System Status

This is just a small list of the mobile enhancements coming in the Winter ’15 release, and an even smaller list of the overall Salesforce enhancements. Be sure to check out the full release notes here for more great features!

Posted in Salesforce.com Tagged with: , , , , ,

Etherios Employee Hackathon at Wireless Design Services

At Digi and Etherios, we are constantly looking for ways to stretch our imagination and find new and creative applications for the technology we work with every day. This was the first hackathon held at our Wireless Design Services office, so we were excited to see what our talented hardware engineers could dream up. Here’s what the teams created in just a few days.IMG_0138

Pet Management System

As pet owners, we all want to treat our four-legged friends well. The pet management system does just that. Gone is the guilt of being away from home for an entire day, because now your furry companions can feed themselves.

There are two elements to the pet management system. The first being a self serving dog food bowl (note: this system can be adapted for cats, we like them too). The other component is detection of animals when they are on the furniture.

The feeding system gives your pet the ability to dispense food into their dish all on their own. They just need to place their paw on a pad on the ground. This activates a motor that delivers food to the bowl. The schematic below will you give you an idea of how it all works.PetSchematic

The detection system will alert the owner whenever the pet hops up on the couch. An infrared sensor detects when your pet is up on the couch and you can choose to receive alerts via email or SMS. The sensor is connected to a microcontroller, which is sends data to Device Cloud via XBee.

Also, the data is streamed in real-time into a web-based dashboard. This live feed captures activity from both of the sensors involved in the pet management system.

ActiveID

The Active ID project is made to simplify the exchange of information between two people. Whether it be at a trade show or a social gathering after work, the Active IDs eliminate the need for barcode scanners and computers in order to gather someone’s information. IMG_0143

How does it work? Bluetooth low energy modules in each tag notice each other and use the criteria entered by the user to determine compatibility. If the badge finds a compatible match, the tag will light up or play a sound to notify the user of the matching profile.  If the people that are matched up want to exchange information, they each press the connect button and they will each receive an email with each other’s information via Device Cloud.

Software Defined Radio

Software defined radio allows you to decode RF signals across a large frequency band with one device. Traditionally, wireless signals are decoded with proprietary hardware that can only readIMG_0147 a very narrow band, like a Wi-Fi module for example. With the lowering cost of high performance CPUs/MCUs, the decoding of RF can be done through software rather than hardware.

Dustin and Mike put together their own software defined radio using an i.MX28 for processing and an ultra-wide band antenna, which was built from scratch.

The project was based on this open source software library for SDR. Mike implemented changes to decode a group of environmental sensors (humidity, temperature, anemometer, and rain level) that operate at 433 MHz. The software decoder was also linked up to the Cloud Connector, so the platform can send data up to Device Cloud.

Closing

Like we mentioned earlier, this was our first hackathon at Wireless Design Services, and it was great to see what our WDS team was able to create in just a short amount of time. Hackathons are always a fun way for us to test the usability of our products and build projects we might otherwise never get to. Hopefully these will serve as a source of inspiration as you build your own Internet of Things projects!

Posted in Wireless Design Services Tagged with: , ,

ATEK Wins Business Impact Award with The Social Machine Implementation at M2M Evolution

ATEK Access Technologies was selected out of a handful of companies for the Business Impact Award at M2M Evolution. ATEK has been widely recognized for their TankScan solution, which uses The Social Machine to deliver data to the organization’s CRM, salesforce.com. The Business Impact Awards identify organizations discovering new opportunities and disrupting markets with M2M and Internet of Things technology.

This isn’t ATEK’s first time being recognized on a national stage. You may have seen Sherri speaking on the value of connected products at Dreamforce and the Salesforce1 World Tour in Chicago over this past year– where she had the opportunity to share ATEK’s story with with Peter Coffee, VP for Strategic Research at Salesforce.

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ATEK’s TankScan solution combined with The Social Machine enables their technical support personnel to actively monitor their customers’ tanks. This has allowed the company to transform a product offering into an entire service and integrate device data into their core business processes via salesforce.com.

The TankScan TSM8000 is a wireless tank monitoring solution that provides insight into remote tank conditions from anywhere and it delivers value in more ways than one:

  • Real-time monitoring guarantees 100% up-time.
  • Happier customers and reduced service costs.
  • Fewer work related accidents due to less manual intervention and automated monitoring.

If you want to learn more about how Etherios collaborated with ATEK to develop the award winning TankScan Solution, check out their customer story here.

Posted in M2M Trends, News, The Social Machine Tagged with: , , , ,

Dev Lifecycle: Sandboxes…Who Needs ‘em?

Sandboxes are incredibly important for the user conscious admin.  They give you a place to work through enhancements and new development items for your Salesforce org without the hassle of affecting production data or usability, while also helping to diminish frustrated emails with the subject: ‘Salesforce isn’t working,’ that admin’s receive every time something changes unexpectedly in the org.  Your sandbox is a safe haven to make changes and do all the cool things you can dream up, while still keeping the Salesforce Peace within your company.

If you have taken a look at your available sandboxes (Setup > Data Management > Sandboxes), you’ll notice that there are four types available: Developer, Developer Pro, Partial Data, and Full Sandbox (see table below for reference).  If you have sandboxes available and have not had a free day to set one up yet, I highly suggest today be that day. Salesforce has made it even easier by putting together a great reference for creating AND refreshing your sandbox, here.

Let’s go ahead and take a few minutes to do that now. I won’t be offended if you start the process and don’t make it back here for a while…

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NOTE: If you do not have sandboxes available, you may be in a developer org (really no need for a sandbox) or on professional edition, which does not have access to sandboxes.

Now that you have set up your sandbox and have probably started working on that next great enhancement to your org, let’s talk about how to get that enhancement from one environment to another.

First and foremost for any migration, TEST the changes before any migration activities start! Now, as with many of the features within Salesforce.com, there are multiple ways to get metadata from a dev sandbox to a testing, training, or production environment: change sets, Force.com IDE, Force.com Migration Tool, and other less exciting, some more painful, ways of moving metadata.

Each of these methods have their pros and cons, but all are conduits for moving metadata between environments. You will most definitely choose your favorite and tend to use it most often, but try to get a basic understanding of each (you’ll hate me for spending the time now, but thank me when one migration tool just doesn’t quite cut it later).

If you take one thing away from this, we all need a sandbox!

Also, check out the extremely useful documentation Salesforce put together outlining the process and best practices for development through deployment: Development Lifecycle Guide.

 

Posted in Salesforce.com Tagged with: , , , ,

Publisher Enabled for Chatter Off Organizations

Have you been hearing a lot of great things about publisher actions and how they are revolutionizing mobile? Me too!

Don’t use Chatter within your Salesforce organization? That’s no longer a problem with the release of Summer ’14. Salesforce will now allow you to use publisher actions within Salesforce1 even if you don’t use Chatter. I know, for those of you who don’t use Chatter take a moment to build up from that slow clap you have already started.

Before we get too far, here are a few steps to enable Chatter and Publisher Actions:

Enable Chatter

  • Setup > Customize > Chatter > Settings > click Edit > Check the box next to Enable at the top of the page > click Save.

Enable Publisher Actions

  • Setup > Customize > Chatter > Settings > click Edit > check the box next to Enable Publisher Actions > click Save

If you still do not want to enable Chatter, you will be able to create global and object-specific actions to be used within Salesforce1 with the release of Summer ‘14. Do note, if you do not enable Chatter, you will not have access to the standard Chatter actions, i.e. Post, File, Link, etc. But for now, let’s take a look at what changed and what stayed the same with Action Behaviors, changes are indicated in bold:

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If publisher actions aren’t enabled, only standard Chatter actions (Post, File, Link Poll, and Thanks) appear in the Chatter publisher in the full Salesforce site.

  1. The Chatter feed appears on an object’s detail page in the full Salesforce site only for objects that have Feed Tracking enabled.
  2. When Chatter is disabled, the Feed item is not available in Salesforce1.
  3. When Chatter is enabled, but publisher actions are disabled, standard and nonstandard actions appear in the actions tray in Salesforce1 or in third-party apps that use action lists. Nonstandard actions include Create, Update, Log a Call, custom actions, and Mobile Smart Actions.
  4. When Chatter and publisher actions are disabled, only nonstandard actions appear in the actions tray in Salesforce1 or in third-party apps that use action lists. Nonstandard actions include Create, Update, Log a Call, custom actions, and Mobile Smart Actions.
  5. If Feed Tracking is not enabled on the object, only nonstandard actions appear in the actions tray in Salesforce1 or in third-party apps that use action lists. Nonstandard actions include Create, Update, Log a Call, custom actions, and Mobile Smart Actions

You’ll also notice the Buttons, Links, and Actions node in Setup is available for all standard objects that support them, the Publisher Actions section in page layouts appears on all objects that support them, and the Buttons, Links, and Actions related list is available for all custom objects.

For those of you still clapping a little more loudly than before, stop that and get to dreaming up some awesome publisher actions so you’re ready for the general release of Summer ’14.  If you’d like to get an earlier look, sign up for a pre-release org here.

Also, click here to check out our webinar on the Salesforce Summer ’14 Release notes.

Connect with us on Linkedin and Twitter to get more tips on how your organization can take advantage of new features in the Salesforce platform.

Posted in Salesforce.com Tagged with: , , ,

How to Use Chatter Questions in Salesforce

Chatter Questions, the answer to your questions, right in Chatter…awesome! With the Summer ’14 release, Salesforce will be launching a beta for Chatter Questions, which will allow users to ask questions right in their Chatter feed. Not only does this allow you to quickly get a question out to a specific group or your followers, but Salesforce has baked in some other great features to make your life even easier.

  • Best Answer: Once you’ve asked your question and the many knowledgeable people within your organization have provided some awesome answers, you or a moderator can mark which of those was the ‘best answer.’  Not only does that bring that answer to the top of the post, but it will mark that answer with a bright green checkmark so it can be easily identified.

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  • Similar Questions: Ever had a question that you know has been asked 100 other times in 50 different ways? This is where the similar questions functionality becomes invaluable.  Once you have typed in your question, hit tab or enter, and Salesforce will present you with a list of questions that are similar to yours, and even delineate which of those have best answers marked.question2
  • Knowledge Deflection (must have Knowledge enabled): Just like similar questions, knowledge deflection gives you a way to find answers to your question before asking it. When enabled, as your users type a question, Salesforce will present them with a list of similar questions AND knowledge articles that could be relevant.

Now you may be asking why you should use questions as opposed to just typing a question into a post within Chatter. Well, Chatter questions helps ensure you are effectively utilizing the content and previous intellectual prowess your team has displayed.  It also gives you the ability to filter for only questions in your feed, and when you find the question you are looking for, you will have no problem figuring out what the best answer/solution is for that issue.  All-in-all, it’s a time saver, and who couldn’t use a little saved time.

Note that with the release of Summer ’14, Chatter Questions will be in beta.  If you would like more information on enabling Chatter Questions in your org, please contact salesforce.com.

Also, don’t forget to check out the full Summer ’14 release notes here.

Connect with us on Linkedin and Twitter to get more tips on how your organization can take advantage of new features in the Salesforce platform.

Posted in Salesforce.com Tagged with: , , , ,