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.


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.


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, 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

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.

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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…

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.59.47 AM

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, there are multiple ways to get metadata from a dev sandbox to a testing, training, or production environment: change sets, IDE, 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.


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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:

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 11.19.44 AM

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.

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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.


  • 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

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.

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Upcoming Internet of Things Events and Conferences

Dreamforce 2013

IoT Meetup: Driving Business Value with the Internet of Things
Chicago, Illinois
July 31

At the last meet up we spoke about communication standards and some perspective on UX. This time we are going to focus on showing how an IoT device gets connected to Salesforce1. The speaker will share how organizations today are using IoT to achieve business results and how to turn data from your products into actionable information.

M2M Evolution Conference
Las Vegas, Nevada
August 11-14

The event will kick off with the Battle of the Platforms, which will give a glimpse into the variety of platforms within the M2M industry. A number of industry experts will be giving talks on how M2M technology is changing businesses today. Topics include: Customer service, marketing, industry trends, healthcare, and supply chain management.

Telit DevCon 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 8

Telit’s fourth forum for M2M developers and adopters to review the latest technology developments and examine best business practices in our industry. This full day, two-track conference is designed for technologists in todays’ connected device ecosystem.

Super Mobility Week 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 9-11

North America’s largest forum for mobile innovation and the most influential mobile marketplace that brings together the leading authorities on the connected life all under one roof at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. Mobility supercharges everything.

Dreamforce 2014
San Francisco, California
October 13-16

Want to know where the industry is headed? Come to Dreamforce. Hosted by, named the world’s most innovative company by Forbes three years in a row, DF14Dreamforce is four high-energy days of innovation, fun, and giving back. It’s your chance to learn from industry visionaries, product experts, and world leaders who can help you transform your business and your life.

Internet of Things World Forum London 2014
London, England
Nov. 25-26

One of the world’s largest IoT events. The Internet of Things World Forum brings together experts and thought leaders to share industry insights and trends. Speakers from Deutsche Telekom, Jasper, ARM, and many other key players in the industry will all present, making this a must attend conference for those looking to learn more about connected devices, cloud computing, and other emerging technologies.

Which events are you attending? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll update this post. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates from each event.

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New Release: The Social Machine 5.0 Goes Mobile

We created The Social Machine so your team can drive business results by connecting products into the Salesforce platform. We take that mission seriously, and we’re continuously updating The Social Machine to put your products’ voices to work in ways you never expected. Today, we’re excited to announce that the latest version of The Social Machine is now live on the Salesforce AppExchange. This is the first of three releases over the coming year as we continue to make sure our customers are getting the most out of their product data.

TSM Homepage

The new custom homepage provides a wealth of information related to your devices, which can be set as your default tab when you log into The Social Machine Home gives you a convenient location to view summaries about alarm events, machine processes, device groups, and other parameters monitored by The Social Machine.TSMmapview

You can also view all of your devices on a map and drill down into a specific device to see more details. The map can be filtered based on device type, group, alarm states, as well as by Device Cloud account.

The Social Machine 5.0 also includes a beta release of a custom dashboard component, which you can use to further customize your homepage and meet your organization’s unique needs.

Salesforce1 ‘Mobile Ready’ Certified

We are excited to announce that The Social Machine is now certified as SF1 Mobile Ready! This means you can easily access The Social Machine from mobile devices running either iOS or Android operating systems.  The SF1 Mobile Ready certification guarantees that The Social Machine custom objects are optimized for the Salesforce1 mobile platform so viewing critical objects like Social Devices, Alarm Events and The Social Machine Home on your phone or tablet is simple and intuitive.

Get StartedTSMsf1certified

You can start prototyping with The Social Machine and Device Cloud today. Simply head over to our Developer Page to sign up for your free accounts and gain access to The Social Machine and Device Cloud. We even have a video to show you how to get started. You can view it here.

Posted in The Social Machine Tagged with: , , , , ,

Integrating Medical Devices and other Wearables into Salesforce via Device Cloud and The Social Machine

Last week, Dan Harrison, a Platform Solutions Engineer and IoT Evangelist for, demoed an Etherios connected blood pressure cuff  at Salesforce’s first Wearables Booth at the SF1 World Tour in Toronto.sfdcbloodpressure2

The debut of the Etherios connected blood pressure cuff at the Wearables Booth was in-line with’s recent announcement of the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack. The Salesforce Wear Developer Pack is a collection of open-source applications that make it easy to start designing your own wearable-based applications. The applications integrate popular devices such as Google Glass, Pebble, and Myo into the Salesforce Platform.

To build the Etherios connected blood pressure cuff,  one of our Senior Sales Engineers modified an off-the-shelf blood pressure cuff with a Digi XBee module  to enable low-power wireless communication to the Cloud. Then, the blood pressure cuff is connected to Device Cloud by Etherios over Wi-Fi or Ethernet through a Digi X2 Gateway.

After connecting the blood pressure cuff to Device Cloud, it is easy to set up alarms that trigger on conditions such as when a patient’s blood pressure reaches an abnormal level, or any other condition that might require a healthcare provider to be notified. The connection to the cloud allows continuous data collection so healthcare professionals can gain a comprehensive view of their patients’ health over an extended period of time. The Etherios connected blood pressure cuff is a simple example of the home healthcare solution deployed by one of our customers, Almerys.sfdcbloodpressure

If an alarm condition is reached, Device Cloud pushes the alarm and related data into the Salesforce Platform via The Social Machine, where automated alerts like text messages or email notifications are triggered, resulting in a compelling demonstration of the opportunity to transform in-home healthcare.

Later in the week, Dan demoed the Etherios connected blood pressure cuff at The NYC Health Care (HLS) CIO Council.

Check out this post from the Salesforce Developers blog to learn more about connecting wearables to  You can also visit our Developer page to start your own free trial with Device Cloud and The Social Machine.

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Reid Carlberg: Salesforce Developer and IoT Expert

carlberg_reid_salesforce_sm_300dpiWith more than two decades spent working in the software industry, Reid Carlberg has established himself as a thought leader in the world of the Internet of Things. As the Senior Director of the Evangelist Team at, he works with developer teams around the world sharing how to develop for the Salesforce1 Platform.

These are some of our favorite posts of his that demonstrate the value the Internet of Things provides and even how to get started building your own projects.

5 Easy Steps to Understanding Our I Dream of Jeannie Future

“The Internet of Things — IoT for short — is the new black, but most people still can’t explain what it is or why the average person, developer or CEO should care.  Let me break it down in 5 easy to understand steps.”

Internet of Things in 10 Minutes: Hands-On With Device Cloud

iOS-Device-Simulator_phfw21“Today I want to show you a powerful approach to IoT using Device Cloud, an offering from Salesforce partner Etherios. Etherios has created a great solution that lets you harness sensor data in Salesforce. It also handles a lot of inputs, acting as an intermediate destination for high-volume data. You can set up rules that distill actionable insights from the high volume data, and then put those insights right where they’ll do the most good: next to your customer data.”

Six Requirements for Your First IoT Project

“The Internet of Things, the Internet of Everything, the Industrial Internet — whatever you call it, connected devices are a fantastic gift to any business that wants to get closer to their customers. The pattern captures people’s imaginations and many of the predictions feel like magic, but IoT solutions are hard to get right. If you’re trying to decide on your first project, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are six critical things to keep in mind as you move forward.”

If you enjoy these articles and want more IoT information, click here to follow him on Twitter. You can also check his personal website at and the Salesforce Developer’s Blog for similar content.


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Connecting Wearables to Device Cloud with the Human API


Last week, we held an internal employee Hackathon which included teams from our offices in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. The goal of the Hackathon was to a build a synchronization engine that connects wearable fitness devices like Fitbit and Jawbone to Device Cloud using the Human API.

What is the Human API?
The Human API provides access to fitness devices and apps from a variety of vendors through a single API. So, rather than having to use one API to get data from each of your wearable devices, you can just use the Human API to get data from all of your connected devices–simplifying and accelerating the development process. Then, the data can be passed through Device Cloud and displayed in interesting ways.

These were the criteria each team needed to meet with their project:

  1. Hosted as a web app.
  2. Integration between a wearable device and Device Cloud by Etherios.
  3. All data streams captured by a device will populate in Device Cloud. Data streams available: steps, distance, calories, sleep, etc.
  4. Prove data is being read from Device Cloud (i.e. print to the console or charted).
  5. Integration capable of supporting multiple devices and associated data streams, into a single Device Cloud account.
  6. Device integration with Device Cloud shall have the ability to be “turned off”.

The teams had 24 hours to construct their projects. No work prior to the Hackathon was permitted, in order to ensure each team started on equal footing with the exception that anyone could use assets open to the public such as open source libraries or public domain images.

The Winning Project
The winning project was from a team of Wireless Design Services engineers in Minneapolis, and brought data from the Human API into Device Cloud so that it can applied in meaningful ways. The team developed a Heroku hosted web application with a user-friendly interface to configure Device Cloud and Human API accounts. The application is used to map a Human API app to a Device Cloud account, and configuration automatically creates a new device record on Device Cloud for each device registered in the Human API.


After configuration is complete, the application allows a user to set a sync frequency. The sync frequency determines how often Device Cloud polls the Human API for new data on a device. This data includes steps, calories, heart rate, and several others depending on the device. After polling for new data, the application formats the data into a structure that is friendly for Data Streams on Device Cloud. The high-level architecture of the solution is shown above.Fitbit-Force

Future plans for the project include adding additional user and data management to the web interface, so a user could decide not to push certain activities to Device Cloud. The project’s code is up on GitHub here and the running application is on Heroku if you’d like to check out what the team built.

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