November 21, 2016
Ever wonder about IoT devices from the testing perspective? Today, let's look at Moocall.
Gartner, Inc. estimates that there will be nearly 20.8 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. Today we start a new column, where we talk to Internet of Things (IoT) device vendors about their products, especially in regards to security testing, in-the-wild testing, and load/performance/stress testing. The first devices we discuss will not be things you find at your typical electronics store.
Q: What problem does it solve?
A: Between 3-7% of calvings depending on breed result in a dead cow or calf. The Moocall calving sensor is a non-invasive device that aims to severely reduce this number by enabling the farmer to be present with the cow when the calving starts so the farmer can intervene and assist or call in veterinary help when required, leading to more live calves, better farm profitability, farm productivity, herd security and better breeding. It accomplishes this by sending out an SMS SOS to 2 phone numbers approximately 1-2 hours prior delivery. In addition there’s notification via email and app.
Q: How long is the battery life?
A: The battery lasts for 30-60 days depending on the mobile signal strength in the area the sensor is in use and the number of calvings it alerts to.
Q: What kind of connectivity issues are there?
A: As our customer base is largely rural, connection issues can be a problem in areas with underdeveloped mobile infrastructure. However, due to the technology we use, the sensor will work in areas where a mobile phone wouldn’t as long as there’s even a trace of a signal.
Q: Do you use crowd testing?
A: We did use some crowd testing in the last phases of prototype and release candidate hardware testing.
Q: Is the user forced to alter the default password/any interesting security?
A: Users are prompted to enter their own passwords during setup. If setup is done by us, a password change is mandated on first login. Security details beyond that are company-secret.
Q: Are there physical constraints that reduce connectivity (magnetic interference from laptops, particular kinds of metal, etc.)?
A: No connection restraints exists, beyond what would also interfere with the connection of a cell phone. The Moocall calving sensor has a radio that’s more powerful than what exists in a phone and will work even in areas where a cell phone would be struggling to keep a connection alive.
Q: Does it only do outbound messages, or does it receive as well?
A: The sensor only does outbound.
Q: And any comments about the pattern recognition determining what is tail wagging/swatting vs. pre-delivery movement?
A: Through product development and research, we noticed that all cows displayed the same tail behaviour when calving was imminent. Our software algorithm can filter out the normal tail movement and other normal movements such as swatting flies, only focusing on the specific movements leading up to calving.
Q: What future advancements can we look forward to seeing in the calving device, and are the plans for any other kinds of IoT devices?
A: We are continually improving our software algorithm and we are currently in the early phases of a hardware revision to move from 2G GSM to either 3G or 4G LTE. We’re also looking at incorporating tracking through GPS and a few other tweaks to the Moocall calving sensor to ensure we remain the market leader in mobile calving detection. We are also now in the prototype stage of a completely new IoT product that we’ll announce in Q2/Q3 of 2017. This product is also in the bovine space and will deal with heat detection. More details of this will be forthcoming at the announcement.