If you follow our blog, you have noticed that there is a ton of activity at Sense right now, so I want to give you an overview of what you will be seeing from us over the next few months.
We now have a great Android development team that is working around the clock to launch the app. A lot of the functionality of the Sense mobile application is now up and running. There are still two main parts to complete: the bubble display and the power meter. Both are pretty tough implementations (nice animations for the bubbles and tricky data scaling issues for the smooth zoom and pan in the power meter). These two features took us a long time to master on iOS, but we think our existing implementations on iOS will allow us to take much less time developing them for Android.
We are currently on track for providing Android support by August. In fact, we may start to ask for some early test users before then, and will send out an email request once we’re ready.
On the topic of platforms, we get a fair number of questions about how to use Sense if you don’t have an Android or iOS mobile device. While I don’t think we are going to be developing a Windows mobile port anytime soon (sorry!), we do want to create a version of the Sense application for web browsers. A web app will allow you to use Sense from a PC or other device without native support. Although we don’t have a set launch date yet, this project is likely next on our roadmap.
The second main product feature we have been working on is support for Solar. This is proceeding well. All Sense hardware can already handle solar, what we are working on developing is the software support in the Sense application.
If you have been patiently waiting for Sense to be solar-compatible, then you can now preorder the Sense Solar Bundle at a special early adopter price. The solar bundles include an additional set of solar sensors to measure the solar production. If you’ve already purchased Sense and want to upgrade your order to include solar, then you will just need to purchase the solar sensors. We will be sure to share updates of our progress, but you can expect the iOS solar compatible app to be available in August, and the Android soon after in October.
If you have pre-ordered Sense and are waiting for your monitor to arrive, we are working with our manufacturing partner to get the next batch ready to ship. We made a number of small changes to the hardware based on feedback from our first early adopters. This next version is in final testing now. Once everything looks correct, we will be ramping up production and shipping based on your order number. We plan to start shipping in June!
The main focus of the data science team has been making use of all of the data from Sense monitors in the field to develop the next generation of device detection models. The models that are deployed today were based on data from initial test houses. With the much larger set of houses now deployed, we are able to create more specific models for the sorts of devices we see across the set of houses. To visualize device detection of some common devices, check out this video where Sense Data Scientist Etienne Barnard, detects devices such as dryers, washing machines, ovens, and microwaves.
The next generation models are going to have better coverage (meaning more devices discovered in your home!) and better accuracy. More importantly, the new model generation will allow us to build the set of devices incrementally over time. We now have a way to focus our efforts on particular device types (we are working on car chargers right now, for example) so soon we will be asking for feedback about devices we are missing that you would like to see. We have some work to do to get this new generation of device modeling deployed.
We have received a number of questions regarding why it takes time to learn devices for a house. This will still be true with the next generation modeling (even with increasingly accurate models of a device type, Sense needs to learn about the particular characteristics of the device in your house and needs to make sure it doesn’t get confused with other appliances. This means Sense needs to see plenty of examples). But, we are working on features that will provide some progress information in the app while Sense is learning your home. So, for example, once we find something we think might be your microwave, but we are not 100% confident enough to display it as a bubble or on the timeline, we will provide status information about the device so you at least know Sense is working on it.
All model updates will work with existing and future monitors. Our system updates models on a regular basis. So if you were an early adopter with one of our first monitors, you will receive the benefits of all improved models (and will get Android support/a solar upgrade with the additional CTs).
We hope this update has been helpful for you to understand what we have going on on our end. If there is something else you would like to be updated on, feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and as always, Happy Sensing!