Notion Sensors KickStarter

Looks like an interesting sensor. Not sure of their protocol and the seem to need their own hub:


How does it tell when the propane tank is empty?

It senses “Natural Frequency”? This doesn’t seem to help:

A vessel full of liquid will have a different resonant frequency than one that is empty. Tap a full milk carton versus an empty one to see what I mean. Guessing these things have some kind piezo element in them to impart a ping to the object they are mounted to, and then measure the result. Clever.

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Unfortunately it seems they’re using a proprietary protocol between their hub and sensors:

Kickstarter comments section (Sep 18)
“The hub and sensor communicate via an 802.15.4 radio protocol that we
developed in house. We’re excited about it’s potential as we’ve been
able to add functionality versus some of the existing options on the
market today.”

It’s also interesting that their hub has built-in both battery backup and cellular Internet connection capability. What is less obvious is that they plan to enable these features via a subscription based service:

Kickstarter comments section (Sep 17)
“We do plan to offer a subscription plan to folks wanting to activate the cellular and battery backup within the hub.”

Though that fee may not be required to just use the battery (assuming your WiFi, router, etc. also has UPS of some sort):

Kickstarter comments section (Sep 19)
“There are no monthly fees unless the cellular backup is activated. Each
hub can communicate with our backend through either Wi-Fi or cellular.
For customers worried about spotty Wi-Fi coverage or perhaps power
outages, we wanted to make sure Notion is still there for you! There’s
also a rechargeable battery in the hub.”

We may see a more standards oriented sensor (e.g. Zigbee or Z-wave) from them in the future, though:

Kickstarter comments section (Sep 19)
We definitely do plan to integrate with other hubs soon. We’re a sensor
company at heart and our goal is to provide peace of mind and awareness
for the things that matter most in your home - which is done mainly
through the sensor. For the Kickstarter community though, we aim to
provide a full end-to-end solution.

But then there will always be this:

Kickstarter comments section (Sep 19)
“The smarts of our system are in the cloud though, no local
data is stored on the hub. By having everything cloud-based, we’re able
to make continuous improvement to the Notion platform through better
signature recognition of each sensing component.”

Kickstarter comments section (Sep 28)
“We profile the audio signatures that our sensors pick up and do a lot of
really complex analysis on our backend to identify what the sound was
(an alarm going off vs. a low battery, for instance). This is one of the
reasons why we are hosting the backend on our own VPS as opposed to
self-hosted solutions. There’s so much cool stuff going on behind the
scenes to make Notion as powerful and useful for you as possible!”

So functions such as the resonant frequency measurement via the piezo sensor may require cloud processing and not be a straightforward device integration with SmartThings. It may instead require cloud-cloud integration, in which case removing their hub from the equation doesn’t gain us all that much (and would probably make problem resolution harder).

If you want to go with their hub based solution now, they say they’re providing an API, so that offers a potential integration path with SmartThings from day one.

When I first read this I thought cool… I can integrate SmartThings every time I have a notion to do something.

Then I thought it was a misspelling for motion.

Then I thought maybe notation, every time I write something down, I can get an alert…

Then I thought maybe I should read the thread… I did, and this is all I came up with…

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