Arable Mobile 3.1.0

Date: August 12, 2020 Scope: General Release

Release Overview

Arable Mobile 3.1.0 is a minor release expanding on the new Mark 2 alert notification framework, now including rainfall alerts, GDD growth stage alerts, and inactive location alerts. The latter is set to beta status as we explore how well it integrates with other functions in the system. One example use case combines inactive location alerts with frost events so the user is made aware of any communication issues before going to sleep for the evening.

This release also introduces backup remote-sensed data for wind speed and wind direction when no local anemometer is installed. This feature utilizes IBM/The Weather Company’s cleaned historical data and is an approximation of the wind at the Arable Mark location.

New Features

  • A set of new mobile push notifications were introduced with this release.
    GDD: This push notification is triggered when passing from one growth stage to the next as specified on the Arable Web Seasons page. The alert threshold is checked daily and an alert is sent at 08:00am local device time. When you tap this push notification on your mobile phone, it will take you to the Crop Growth screen where the exact GDD units are presented along with NDVI and ETc. These new push notifications are also reflected in the My Alerts screen as new log events.
    Rainfall: This mobile push notification is triggered when exceeding a defined Rainfall Threshold as set in the Arable Web Alerts (Mark 2) screen or in the Arable Mobile Settings tab. The default threshold is 0.1 inches/2.54 mm per hour. Tapping in this push notification will take you to the pray Timing screen. There is a hysteresis implemented, meaning that unless there is a gap of at least six hours without rain, then a new alert will not be generated for a second rainfall event.
    Inactive Location: This push notification is triggered when a device location goes from an active or new status to an inactive, dormant, retired or removed status. The timing is set to be the same as for the inactive state, i.e., if more than 8 hours have passed since the last report, the inactive location alert will be triggered. Tapping on this push notification will take you to the Device Status screen. We recommend you enable this alert alongside a Frost Event alert in order to get a pre-warning of communication issues before you go to sleep for the night. The inactive alert feature is currently set to beta as we work to improve the interaction with other alerts, and when to recommend a physical visit. 
  • When you tap a push notification for an untitled location, you will now be redirected to the Naming Location screen first. After you name the location, you will be redirected to the corresponding push notification screen. This is to ensure that we have locations named in the system to allow easier identification in the user interface.
  • To facilitate subscription to the new alerts, there are now on/off toggles for rainfall, GDD/growth stages, and inactive locations on the Arable Mobile Settings screen.
  • Specifically for rainfall events, there is a threshold that can be defined in the Arable Mobile Settings screen by org admins. While the default threshold is 2.54 mm per hour, or 0.1 inch per hour, the selector has the following range: Min value should be ≥0.1 mm or 0.004 inch. Max value should be ≤ 99.9 mm or 3.933 inches.
  • The system allows for specific location threshold settings, which are now displayed on the Arable Mobile Settings screen. These are read-only and can be defined on the Arable Web Alerts (Mark 2) page. The specific location thresholds are filtered based on the selected organization.
  • When there are more than 3 thresholds configured (organization-wide or specific), you can navigate easily among them by clicking on the organization or location name. Otherwise, you can either use a horizontal swipe or or the arrows on top.
  • A test alert was introduced on the My Alerts screen. There is a three-dot button on the top right corner with an ellipse around it. After tapping on that button you will see 3 options:
    Push notification: This option will trigger a test mobile push notification to your device.
    SMS: This option will trigger a test text SMS to your phone number.
    Voice call: This option will trigger a test voice call to your phone number.
    * SMS and Voice Calls are only supported in specific countries as listed in the Arable Web Notification info modal.
    Note that the tour screen was updated in order to add explanations about the test alerts.
  • A badge with the number of unread notifications was introduced, located in the tab bar over the Alerts option. The number will increase up to 99; after that it will show “99+”. Also, next to the My Alerts title there is a bell icon, which will display an orange dot next to it if there are unread alert logs. Otherwise, the dot will be green.
  • In order to more easily allow detection of changes in soil moisture measurements, it is now shown to the degree of one decimal point on the Map and Irrigation tabs.
  • To improve the initial user experience, the language set on the phone will also be used by default for the Arable Mobile app at installation. Only if the phone language is not supported by the Arable Mobile app will the app fallback to English. The supported languages are: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Polish and Urkanian.
  • Locations without a local anemometer will now present historical remote-sensed data on the Spray Timing screen for wind speed and wind direction, labeled as Remote Data on the Spray Timing screen. The wind direction cardinality denotes where the wind comes from (e.g., Westerly winds) and arrows show from-to direction (e.g., from West to East).
  • Note that for the current wind values, these will use the last historical hour available, which can have up to a 6-hour delay due to data processing and cleaning by the remote-sensed data provider (IBM/The Weather Company). The remote-sensed data is also given at a 10-meter height in this release as provided by the source. We are working on validating the best process to downscale to the height of the Arable Mark in a future release.
  • A set of new Google Analytics events were added to help Arable Customer Success guide usage better:

    Defect Fixes

    • An issue showing occasional duplicate hourly rows in detail lists was fixed for Australian locations with 30-minute shifted time zones.
    • A few crashes that were triggered on the Settings screen and push notification pop-ups were fixed in this release.
    • There were some locations where the Current Hour marker was not displayed correctly. This is now fixed.
    • Translations of missing strings in the End User License Agreement (EULA) and My Alerts screen were added.
    • Heat, frost and device status info modals were updated with some measurement definition clarifications.
    • Previously, we did not take into account forecast data for max/min temperature values on the current date on the My Operations screen Daily list. Now this is adjusted so that the behavior is the same as on the location-specific detailed screens.

      Known Issues

    • Wind data provided by the local Davis anemometer can be skewed in some cases due to wrong mapping from pulse count to degrees. This is being worked on and is expected to be updated with a hotfix once we have worked through the problem.
    • Wind data as shown on the Arable Mobile Map screen is the average for today. This is planned to be changed in a future release to current wind in order to be more actionable.
    • If the local anemometer wind data is missing due to a Mark 2 device’s failure to report in, there is no automatic gap-fill of this data with remote-sensed wind in the current release. This will be reviewed together with an overall gap-fill strategy using other measurements before being introduced.
    • Remote-sensed wind data takes some time to process before being presented, which can lead to up to 6 hours of wind data not being available at the time of reading. This wind data will fill in again as time elapses. Future enhancements will provide current, remote-sensed, on-demand data.
    • Users with 500+ locations in their account can run into a memory issue when scrolling down to the end of the Daily list screen.
    • When the user changes the settings data from Arable Web or on a different phone, they will need to go back to the Settings screen in Arable Mobile to get the measurement units updated on the Map screen and elsewhere.
    • The remote-sensed temperature data can show a difference between hourly and daily max/min temperature, as they are measured slightly differently. For the remote-sensed enhanced forecast, the hourly values represent the projected temperature at that forecast time (usually top of the hour). However, the max/min temps often occur within the hour and the daily forecast products capture that. There is currently no short-term solution for this discrepancy.
    • The local Mark max/min temperature for the hour is taken as the max/min of all 5-minute interval readings during that hour. Meanwhile, the current temperature is the average for the last hour, creating a discrepancy between the two values during weather alerts. We are investigating whether relying on a 5-min interval for Tmin/Tmax is vulnerable to noise, and if so, will change this algorithm.
    • Terms & Conditions are e-mailed in English, regardless of what language is registered.
    • When first navigating to the Map view after install, users have the option to let Arable Mobile track My Location in the background. This option comes with the use of Google Maps. It is recommended to only select tracking when the app is in use to reduce battery drain.
    • If a user enters an incorrect user ID, there is no error message shown on the login page, nor when scrolling the same page with incorrect user ID.
    • Push notifications are presented based on the language configured on the phone and not the language set in Arable Mobile. A future implementation could change this behavior once we are able to keep the Mobile language selection in the backend.
    • When clicking on a notification, the app will navigate to either the Heat Spikes or Frost Events screens, but won’t open the hourly records to point out the current-hour row. This behavior will be improved in the coming releases of the weather alerts feature.
    • The soil moisture reading on the Irrigation details screen banner provides the weekly average. In a future release, we will change this to show the current hour.
    • We have seen instances on iPhone when Arable Mobile is in a constant loading state when coming from the background. These cases seem to be related to switching between wifi and cellular, or in low cellular signal conditions. This is being investigated further for a resolution in the next release.
    • On the Irrigation screen, users may see small differences between the daily and hourly precipitation data for tomorrow’s row. This will be reviewed for the next release.
    • We have seen random crashes on Android, which seem related to a React Native library version. We expect to make an upgrade of this library in the next release.
    • On the My Alerts screen, users cannot mark all their alert logs as read at once. This behavior will be improved in future releases.
    • Locations in timezones greater than UTC could display wind values as “--” for the observed hourly records of the current date due to a limitation on the backend of the remote-sensed IBM/The Weather Company service.
    • The Mark 2 marker in the Map view can be grayed even if the device is syncing correctly. This was a cosmetic issue but will be fixed in the next release by allowing up to four hours of delay in syncing before showing the icon as grayed out on the map.
    • The maximum length for a location name is currently 20 characters. We expect to change this to 30 characters in the next release.
    • The Arable Mobile Map view does not contain rain for the current day in the 10-day historical precipitation measurement. It is planned to include this in the next release.
    • If users stay with the app version 3.0.0 even after upgrading the backend and Arable Web, they might see the GDD, rainfall, inactive location, and test alert push notifications in English and as:
      This is happening because version 3.0.0 doesn’t have the translation keys for these new push notifications. Users of v3.0.0 could then also see the GDD, rainfall and inactive location logs on the My Alerts screen with a generic icon.
      It is recommended to update to version 3.1.0 to avoid this problem. We will also explore how to avoid this in future releases by storing the app version along with the phone token. This would allow the Arable backend to decide whether or not to send a particular kind of push notification to a given device token.