Frequently Asked Questions

The transmission range of Whisker.io™ is affected by the height of the Whisker.Hub™'s antenna as well as a variety of other variables. Generally, if the hub's antenna height is 10 feet, the open field, line-of-sight range is up to 1 mile. If the height can be raised to 40 feet, the open field, line-of-sight range extends to up to 20 miles or more. Of course, hub height is not the only factor that affects range. In practical applications, other variables affect path loss: obstructions, multi-path, relative motion between the antennas, and more. We always encourage our customers to use our development tools to perform site surveys to determine the actual range performance of our solution in any given environment.
Whisker.Blocks™ transmit their data using our proprietary, LoRa-based wireless technology to any in-range Whisker.Hub™. Private networks can be generated by configuring our blocks and hubs for different encryption keys, channels, and spreading factors. When a hub and block have the same configuration, they are on the same network; blocks will communicate through any in-range hub that is on the same network. The Whisker.Hub™ physically connects to the Internet via Ethernet or Cellular and forwards all data received from Whisker.Blocks™ to our cloud platform, which can then forward that data to any point on the cloud using a number of different protocols (MQTT, HTTP, AMPQ, etc).
Each Whisker.Block™ can monitor up to 6 internal or external sensors. Our blocks can be configured with internal sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, light, ambient pressure, vibration/motion, and more. Each block can also interface with up to 4 external analog and digital sensors: 4-20mA, 0-10V, dry contact, current transformers, thermistors, etc.
It depends on the type of Whisker.Block™. Our standard blocks connect to external sensor using an 8 position mini-din circular connector. The Whisker.BlockXD™ is designed for outdoor use and is IP67 rated. The XD block provides two water tight circular connectors for external sensors: each connector provides switched power and 2 analog inputs. We have a variety of sensor cables that are preconfigured for different applications (A/C monitoring, 4 channel energy monitor, 4 channel process monitor, etc). Of course, you can also create your own cable and connect our blocks to any sensor you want to use.
Each block can collect data from up to six internal and external sensors as often as every 5 minutes.
It depends on the sensor configuration, sample period, and type of battery. We have developed a battery life estimator to help you estimate battery life, you can contact us if you need more information or have additional questions.
It's actually very easy. If you can use a screwdriver and a tablet computer, you can install a Whisker.io™ device in just a few minutes. All you need to do is mount the device with a few screws and then use our Whisker.io™ portal to provision the device, which only takes a few clicks.
It depends on the application. The Pro.Hubs™ are designed for outdoor applications and can be configured with multiple Internet connections and multiple power supply options (A/C, DC, PoE). They are intended for larger scale applications such as smart city, agriculture, oil and gas, and so on. The Smart.Hubs™ are designed for indoor use. They are lower cost and are intended for smaller scale, single location applications like hospitals, churches, convenience stores, etc.
No, but it doesn't need to be. For indoor applications, our hubs connect to the cloud using a cellular connection, allowing us to bypass the premises network. Since we do not use the premises network, our devices have no ability to create a security concern for PCI networks. We do not charge extra for cellular connectivity, so this does not impact the installation or recurring cost.
Absolutely. Every communication path from the device to the cloud is encrypted using the AES standard. Additionally, our solution is designed for one-way monitoring of IoT devices, which inherently makes it more secure because there is no opportunity for hackers to co-opt our system and cause it to do something harmful or dangerous.
We can forward data from any device connected to our platform to any 3rd party application or service using our ForwardProtocol™; this allows our customers to use our devices for connectivity independent of our cloud platform. We never charge for the forwarding service. We can also store data from devices connected to our platform using our SQL database; any device that is provisioned for our StorageService™ is available for real time monitoring and historical analytics via our portal. Finally, we offer our AutomationService™ which allows our customers to build complex, rules driven automation that can act automatically on new data when it comes in from a device. Automation can be used to send notifications, push data to 3rd party platforms, execute analytics algorithms, etc.
Yes they can. Any device can publish data to our platform using MQTT; we have published standards for the topic and data structures we require. For more information, ask our support team for help.
Yes, via ForwardingProtocols™ you can send data from our devices to Amazon AWS, Microsoft IoT hub, or any other endpoint in the cloud that uses HTTP/REST API.
No. We do use the LoRa radio chip, but our protocol is 100% proprietary and has been optimized for very long battery life, long range, and low cost gateways. LoRaWAN gateways are very expensive compared to our Whisker.Hubs™.

Our Whisker.Blocks™ are self contained, wireless and battery powered IoT sensor devices that can be configured to monitor just about anything you can imagine. For example, our AC.Block™ is designed to monitor air conditioning and refrigeration units: it comes with a sensor cable equipped with a current transformer for the power leg and two temperature sensors for the inlet and outlet temperatures of the compressor. This device will continuously monitor the status and energy consumption of the A/C unit and provide predictive indication of compressor failure or low freon. We also have blocks that can monitor tank levels, pumps, water filters, temperature and humidity and much more. You can see all of our available blocks here: Whisker.Blocks™ .

For OEM applications, our Whisker.Engine™ can be integrated into a 3rd party device or product to connect it to our network. The Whisker.Engine™ is equipped with a variety of sensor and communication interfaces, making the integration process simple. We have a detailed user's manual and several application notes to help engineers and developers through the integration process.

We are continuously innovating in partnership with our customers, so if you have an application that requires a customized version of our Whisker.Block™ please contact us. We offer fully customized IoT solutions and have invested heavily in rapid prototyping and rapid production technologies, which allows us to offer a very cost effective option when a custom solution is required.

Absolutely! Our TempRH.Block™ measures temperature, humidity, as well as two dry contact inputs (which can be used to monitor door openings).

Other solutions will have a preset threshold for temperature that indicates an alarm, which is problematic because the temperature at the sensor might vary significantly from the temperature of the items being refrigerated; for example, the temperature at the sensor might indicate an alarm when the door is open, even though the food products are still safely below this temperature. Our solution solves these types of problems because we not only monitor the current temperature of the cooler, but we also track the trend and monitor the states of the doors.

Our analytics engine can automatically analyze the situation using the state of the doors and the historical temperature to discern if there is a real problem or if the temperature reading was caused by someone leaving the door open too long, and then send the appropriate message to the appropriate person. If there is a real maintenance issue, a message can be sent to the maintenance department. If the door needs to be shut, the store manager can be notified. If the temperature has slowly increased over time so that it is likely that the temperature sensor and the food temperature are both approaching an alert level, the manager can be notified that he or she needs to move the cold storage items to a different cooler until maintenance can fix the problem. The data from any TempRH.Blocks™ in a cooler will be used in conjunction with AC.Blocks™ monitoring that cooler's refrigeration unit to help with predictive failure analytics, allowing Whisker.io™ to predict key equipment failures and notify the right people in advance so that the maintenance can be performed efficiently per a schedule rather than on-demand when a failure becomes a crisis.

Yes. OEMs can easily integrate Whisker.io™ connectivity into their products using our Whisker.Engine™ wireless module. This module has a variety of sensor and communication interfaces which makes integration a straightforward process. Please refer to the user's manual for more information.

Once an OEM product is capable of connecting to the Whisker.io™ platform, we will assign a provisioning code to the OEM that will be used during device provisioning to tell the web application how the new device is internally configured. This allows our system to automatically create the appropriate channels, assign their names, and scale and assign units to the incoming data for each channel.

Once that is complete, the OEM product can be provisioned by a customer using our web application just like any other Whisker.Block™ or Whisker.Engine™ enabled OEM product. For more information about this process, please contact our sales department.

Overview

Our portal is a browser based UI application that is used to install and maintain our devices in the field, monitor their status in realtime, and perform analysis and reporting of the historical data we collect from the devices. Our UI is enterprise grade and has an easy-to-use, intuitive drill-down interface that can support touch and mouse/keyboard interaction.

Provisioning

When new devices are installed, they must be provisioned in the portal before data can be processed by our cloud platform. Provisioning is very easy and is accomplished using the same portal UI; it takes just a few seconds to create a new device using its serial number, provision its services and automation, and assign it to a physical location.

Visualization

When a user logs into his account, a map is displayed that is zoomed to show all locations: this is the Enterprise View. Each location is represented by a colored circle: green means everything is OK while anything other than green means that there is a problem. The user can drill down into locations to see real-time status of devices and view historical graphs and reports of data that has been stored for each device over time.

Automation

Whisker.io™ has a rules-driven automation engine that can automatically send text messages (SMS) or emails, place phone calls, or POST/PUT to any HTTP endpoint when simple if-then conditions are met. When the automation, or alert, rules are properly configured, the system is essentially a fire-and-forget tool that requires no on-going maintenance because it will notify you when something is wrong. Messages (or JSON data for HTTP PUT/POST) are user defined and can be sent to one or more user-defined contacts. Rules can be set to require acknowledgement; these rules will automatically resend alert messages on a set period until either the alert is acknowledged or the alert condition is no longer met.

When you physically install a device in the field, it immediately starts to send to the cloud via any in-range Whisker.Hub™. However, until the device is provisioned, it will not be visible in the portal.

In order to provision a new device, you must have the location and at least one in-range Whisker.Hub™ created and provisioned. To create a new location, simply log-in to the portal and click the "New Location" button in the Account View and follow the instructions. To provision a new Whisker.Hub™, click on the hub's location to drill down to the Location View. Once in the Location View, click the "Add Hub" button and follow the instructions; you will need the hub's information (security key, serial number, etc) to complete the provisioning.

When you have at least one hub provisoned for the location, you can click "Add Block" to add a new Whisker.Block™ and then follow the instructions. You will be required to have a credit card on file to pay the subscription fees for the services used by the new device.

Once you have provisioned the block, you will be able to see it on the Location View. After a few minutes, its status should update and you should be able to see the data by clicking on the device.

Our cloud platform offers several services that affect how data is processed when it is received from a Whisker.Block™: forwarding, storage, and alerting. The forwarding service is free and allows you to forward data from your Whisker.Blocks™ to almost any 3rd party platform or application on the web. The storage and alerting services are provided for a small monthly charge. Storage, as its name implies, provides unlimited storage capacity for historical data from the device; the storage service is required in order to use the web portal monitoring and analysis tools. The storage service is also required if the alerting service is to be used. Alerting provides rules-driven automation capabilities to the platform; alert rules allow you to configure the platform to automatically take actions when specified conditions are met for a particular channel on a device. Alerting actions include text/SMS, email, and HTTP POST/GET (other actions are in development and will be available soon so check back). You must have a valid credit card registered within the system to enable paid services on a device.
No, your services are all charged as a single subscription on the same day of the month. When you add a new service in the middle of billing period, that service will be added to the subscription, but will not be billed until the next billing date. This makes billing much more convenient because you only get one charge per month that includes all of the services for all of your devices. You can, however, transfer your subscription from one card to another using the control panel. When you change payment methods, the new method will go into effect for the next billing period. If you changed methods because your account was placed on hold for non-payment, we will immediately charge any fees that are due on the new card.