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What's new in 16.12 - December 2016

Over the last quarter of 2016, there have been a number of minor enhancements to ALMS that we want to update you on. More significant changes are coming in early 2017 that will make ALMS even better!

New features & Improvements

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In late December, we released ALEOS 4.7.0 for the RV, GX and ES product lines. This release introduces a new device management protocol, LWM2M, which manages the communication between ALMS and the devices.

This same update also provides support for the newly released RV50X. You will see that the Register section has changed slightly, with the RV50 being replaced by “RV Series” – you can register either Rv50 or RV50X devices from the same panel in the Register section.

Month to Date Data Usage

Understanding the data usage of your gateways and routers is critical to monitoring their behavior. In a recent update to ALMS, we added the ability to monitor month to date data usage on a per gateway basis. This monitoring is based on the calendar month, and can be used in one of two primary ways:

Monitor->Systems Main Grid: Default Column

We have added month to date data usage as a column in the main Monitor->Systems grid. The column will display the data that ALEOS is reporting that the device has transferred (total of sent and received) during the current month.

Alerting

We have also created a pre-configured Alert Rule Template that can be used to alert on month to date data usage. Conditions can be added to look at a single system, or set the alert for your whole fleet.

Please be aware that there can be discrepancies between what ALEOS is reporting and what is reported by your carrier. If there is a discrepancy, the information from the carrier will be considered correct. This information should not be used to dispute carrier invoices.

As with all default columns, this new one can be deactivated. It also support sorting, and can be reorganized to a different place on the grid.

Improved Access to Support for ALMS

One common point of feedback from customers has been to make it easier to know who to contact when a user has an issue with ALMS. ALMS, like all Sierra Wireless products is primarily sold and supported through our excellent Partners. Our channel Partners have extensive training on ALMS, and are generally very closely involved with you and your business and will be in a good position to help solve any issue that you might have.

To make it easier for customers to know who to contact, we have created a new tab in the Administration section of ALMS titled “Support”. This new tab collects all the information and links to resources that you might need to get the most out of ALMS:

Documentation

Provides a link into the ALMS online documentation. This excellent resource should be your first stop when you have a question about how to do something I ALMS. There are many tutorials and step-by-step guides to common tasks.

The Source

The Source is Sierra Wireless’ online technical support resource. We publish Product Bulletins and other information on this site, and you can access information not just about ALMS, but also about your gateways.

Contact us

Clicking this link will open up a new window that will provide information about who to contact if you need support with ALMS. Your partner will have populated their contact information – telephone number, e-mail address and/or web site information. If this information is missing, please contact your partner and ask them to update it.

Feedback

The section links out to User Voice, the online tools we use to collect feedback from our users. If you have suggestions about new features you’d like to see in ALMS, this is the place to submit them. You can also see what other ALMS users have submitted, and vote on them (or add your own enhancements to what others have submitted) to let us know what’s important to you. User Voice is a direct line to the ALMS Product Management team, and we use this feedback to prioritize new development work.

New Data Widgets – ALMS Dashboard

The ALMS Dashboard is a great way to monitor the state of you fleet of Sierra Wireless devices, and we have developed a number of different widgets to help you do this. Throughout the course of 2016 we have released a number of new widgets that will make your Dashboard even more productive.

Single Value Chart

The single value chart display a single raw or computed data value from the current system or aggregated from the fleet.

Gauge Chart

The gauge chart displays a raw or computed data value from the current system or aggregated from the fleet in a gauge. Three different gauge displays are available.

Data History Table

This widget displays historical data values in a single table, for various periods in order to help you to understand the behavior of your system(s). You can select the data value or values you want to display, for time periods such as the last 24 hours, the last 30 days or the current year. The source data can be the whole fleet, or selected systems.

Combo Chart

This widget allows you to display in a combo chart (line or histogram/bar) several charts using your choice of data values from the current system or aggregated from the fleet.

Heat Map Data

This widget displays data variation by day and hour, in a heat map.

What functionality does it add?

The new widgets come with new capabilities as described below. Additional new features will be brought in subsequent releases.

  • Time navigation: a drop down list allows to select the period
  • Aggregated data and raw data: you can use a computed value for a given period (hour, day, month) to be displayed in the widget or the raw data value sent by the device
  • Fleet or single system widgets

You can have more details in the dashboard page.

The new widgets are available from the “Add widgets to your dashboard” button at the top of the Dashboard screen.

When configuring widgets, it is important to remember that ALMS can only display data that is being collected. A Sierra Wireless device has over 2,000 data points that can be collected, but only 50-60 that are collected with the Default Status Report. If you want to report on other data, you need to use Additional Datasets to collect the additional data from the device. Information on the data that is collected with the Default Status Report can be found here. Information on configuring a dataset to collect data can be found here.

New Data Widgets – Device Page

Similarly, we’ve added the Single Value Chart, Gauge Chart, Data History Table and Combo Chart widgets to the primary Device page. When applied to this page, they display data for only the selected device.

An example of a device page with the new widgets added.

Timeline Enhancements: Operations, Alerts and Filtering of Events

The Timeline page for your devices provides great insight into all of the communication that takes place between the device and ALMS, and also provides insight into the operations that occur on the device. As the name suggests, it’s a timeline of everything that occurs. This time-centric view is very helpful for troubleshooting as it presents in a single view all the events that can occur on your system as:

  • device and application data being received from the device
  • operations start and end dates
  • alerts that are raised

As the number of events that can occur on the device can be significant, we have added filtering to the Timeline page that allows you to focus on the data that is important to you. You can filter the timeline for a specific day by using the time selector on the top, or for one specific type of event.

Having every event gathered in a time-centric view allows for easy analysis of the consequences of an operation on the usage, or to view the recent usages that have led to the raise of an alert.

Filtering now allows you to focus on Alerts, Operations, Usages and Communications, based on the protocol used. This improvement makes the Timeline page an even more powerful tool.

Warning Notification on Bulk Configure Communication

The power of ALMS is that it allows you to make configuration changes to your devices in bulk, and applies those changes as the devices check into ALMS. Configuring the communication pattern of the devices is one of the most commonly used features.

When you chose to Configure Communications (from the Monitor->Systems main grid) for multiple devices, the communication frequency is initially set to off for all the parameters – Heartbeat, Status Report and Additional Datasets.

This can cause issues for customers that might inadvertently disable the Heartbeat, and with that disable communication between the device and ALMS.

This release adds a warning for customers, to draw attention to the fact that they might be taking an action that could prevent the device from communicating with ALMS.

When doing bulk Configure Communications actions, remember to always make sure that the Heartbeat and Default Status Reports are enabled.

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