Logging and Supervising Your Remote Temperature Monitor

IoT Sensor Watchdog Dashboard

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) came the rise of affordable sensors — the most popular being remote temperature sensors. Temperature has a wide range of uses, from energy savings and comfort to safety and refrigeration.

You put temperature sensors in every building you’re in charge of, you’ve got an app to see the current temperature, but what about temperature trends over a long period of time? What if one of your wireless sensors goes offline without you knowing? That’s where Initial State’s new Bucket Watchdog service comes in.

Background Info: Initial State

Initial State is an Internet of Things platform for data visualizations. You can stream real-time data into your Initial State account and build dashboards and custom trigger alerts from your data. The user friendly platform also allows you to view historical data.

Background Info: Bucket Watchdog Integration

The Initial State Bucket Watchdog Integration remotely monitors your data bucket to ensure it’s continuously receiving data. Setting it up is as easy as a few button clicks, and you can set trigger alerts to let you know when a sensor has stopped streaming.

Case Study: Warehouse Sensors

Imagine you have a set of warehouses in multiple locations that you’ve outfitted with the latest wireless sensors to monitor temperature. Not only is it important that each warehouse stays within a certain temperature range, but you need to know if any sensors go offline. Disconnected sensors could mean anything from a poor internet connection to a power outage, which could be disastrous for your warehouse contents.

Step 1: Connect your sensors to Initial State

If you haven’t set up your sensor network yet, there are a variety of ways for you to get started. We have a large library of tutorials that detail how to create a sensor network with ESP32, Raspberry Pi, SmartThings, IFTTT, an Initial State SDK and our API. Once you have an Initial State account, it’s easy. You can see from the video below just how simple it is to create remote temperature monitoring systems with Initial State.

Below, you can see my dashboard of readings from my temperature monitoring system in four different warehouses.

I have four different sensors reporting at 15 minute intervals

Step 2: Add the Watchdog integration to your dashboard

Once you’ve got your Initial State dashboard up and running, you can add the Bucket Watchdog integration to make sure your sensors are still streaming. To do this, click the link on your Initial State home page to go to the Integration Marketplace.

Click “Details” under the “Bucket Watchdog” integration. You’ll have to authorize Initial State to access your data, then click “Begin Setup” to go to the setup window.

In the setup window enter the name of the integration. I named mine “Warehouse Bucket Watchdog”. Choose the bucket to monitor from the dropdown — my bucket is “Warehouse Monitor”. The monitoring period is how many minutes you’re expecting events. My sensors are reporting every 15 minutes, so I chose the 15 minute interval. If you don’t need to check that frequently, you can choose every 30 minutes, every hour, or daily.

My Watchdog Integration setup for the bucket “Warehouse Monitor”

Once you make all your selections, click “Start Integration”. You should see your new bucket appear on the bucket shelf.

This is what my Bucket Watchdog bucket looks like:

I added the fun emoji using Real-Time Expressions

I have four different sensors, each sending only one temperature value every 15 minutes. The Watchdog sees that four new values have been added to my dashboard in the past 15 minutes. If I had a longer check interval (like an hour), the Watchdog would see more than four events. For an hourly check, there should be sixteen events.

The Watchdog integration is very useful for noticing a problem quickly. With lots of data in your dashboard, especially a lot of temperature readings at or around the same value, it can be difficult to spot a dead sensor. In the image below, Warehouse 2’s sensor has been dead for 30 minutes, but you can hardly tell.

The Watchdog dashboard makes it extremely obvious:

And the best part? You don’t even need to look at the dashboard for it to tell you something has wrong when you add Triggers.

Step 3: Add Triggers to your Watchdog stream

Triggers are Initial State’s built-in email or text alert system. They give you the ability to set an action that will occur on a specified condition for your data stream.

To set a trigger, simply click on “Settings” underneath your Watchdog bucket and select the “Triggers” tab. Click “Create New Trigger” to set up your trigger conditions and add a verified phone number or email address.

In my warehouse example, I want to know if my stream events ever drop below four in a fifteen minute period, so I set up the trigger on the right.

Now I get a text message any time my streams fall below four!

Conclusion

Remote temperature sensors are only useful if you can keep an eye on them remotely. From temperature to humidity readings, from warehouses to smart homes, wireless sensors are becoming more important to everyday business.

There are an infinite number of ways to maximize your data using Initial State and the Bucket Watchdog, from adding weather station data to your dashboard, to adding an icon to your iOS home screen for a mobile app like experience, and so much more. Keep an eye on your investments with real-time alerts and historical records of outages and time to get back online.

There is never a better time than now to get started with Initial State!

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