Attention iPhone users: iOS 15.0 through 15.2.x contain bugs that affect the auto-open feature. Versions above or below work fine.

Possible Features

Comments

8 comments

  • Official comment
    Scott Riesebosch

    Thanks for the suggestions. Like the idea of the change log.

    Reducing the auto-close distance is really hard to implement reliably without using additional hardware. The auto-close feature is an “in case you forget” feature. We continually state this in all our communications. You should close your garage door using a voice assistant, the mobile app, a remote, or any method that can close the door while in visual line of sight. If you forget to close the door as you leave, Tailwind’s auto-close will detect your departure, close it for you, and notify you that it is closed. There are many technical reasons why the auto-close can take longer to close your door as you leave, so even if we were to reduce the distance setting it won't really help in most cases:

     

    1. Most people don’t realize that their phone loses internet access for a significant period of time when they leave their home WiFi. This is because many phones will try to “hang on” to the WiFi signal even though it is either gone or so weak it is practically useless. The Tailwind app requires internet access to send the close command, and generally it can’t send this command until the phone switches over to the mobile network. This can sometimes take as long as 1 minute, and you can drive pretty far in 1 minute. Even with this delay, Tailwind’s auto-close is still an outstanding security feature.
    2. In the case of Android phones that are using the vehicle Bluetooth connection, it can take up to 1 minute for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle, especially if the phone isn’t the default phone for that vehicle. Tailwind does not start location tracking until this connection is made, so the command to close the door cannot be sent until the Bluetooth connection between the Android phone and the vehicle has been established, and the app has gathered enough location information to determine that you are, in fact, driving away.
    3. Sometimes the GPS hardware in the phone can take time to “lock in” on the GPS satellites. You may have experienced this when you open a Maps app and initially there is a large circle of uncertainty around your location. The circle of uncertainty will shrink as the hardware in the phone locks in on your location. The Tailwind app is designed to ignore location information that is not reasonably accurate, so until your phone establishes your location with reasonable accuracy, the Tailwind app cannot send an open or close command automatically.
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  • P

    Thanks for responding!

    As for for your first point to decrease the issue with he wifi hand over. Would it not be possible to recommend in developer options on Android to turn on aggressive handover?

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  • Scott Riesebosch

    Absolutely. We've tested that and it can help with that particular issue. However, in our testing overall we've found that the location co-ordinates passed to our app on some phones is not reliable enough to reduce the auto-close distance any further. The app does need time to run an algorithm to determine if you are actually driving away or if you are just sitting in your garage. For example, lets say your phone's location service reports a location that is 101 feet from your garage - Tailwind might then close the garage door mistakenly which is an experience we work extremely hard to avoid.

    By setting the minimum distance a bit higher for the auto-close, it gives our algorithm time to start analyzing the location data to determine if you are actually leaving, or if it is just some location data errors being reported by your phone - and you're not actually leaving home.

    So in short, yes we could reduce the auto-close distance minimum to 100 feet - but the number of customers that would contact us and report that Tailwind was closing the door on them unexpectedly would far outweigh any benefits gained - at least until we can assure that the above mentioned scenario would not occur.

    We are always looking at ways to improve performance, and if we can further reduce the auto-close distance reliably, we will do it. But so far in all our testing there's always been a reliability concern - even with using additional hardware to augment things.

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  • P

    Thanks that makes a lot of sense. Also one more feature request, is it possible to get an adjustable timer for night mode rather than the set 5 minutes?

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  • Scott Riesebosch

    Noted. I'll add it to our list :)

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  • Marsh Gardiner

    +1 for changelog for both app and firmware. 

    I noticed a pending firmware update today, which I gladly added, but I was curious to know what changes had been made. I was also a little surprised that I wasn't asked to confirm, which would be a good place to link to any release notes published online.

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  • Scott Riesebosch

    Thanks Marsh.

    Yeah we need to get to the change log. It is on our list but wasn't as high as some other things.

    The most recent firmware update to V8.45 was mainly fixes for connectivity related issues. Some WiFi routers were really slow to issue an IP address. This was causing some trouble as the Tailwind controller for some customers would periodically disconnect, and then not actually reconnect because their WiFi routers took so long to issue an IP address again. The previous firmware didn't play nice with such a long delay.

    The other connectivity issue we fixed was related to channel scanning when customers have WiFi mesh networks. We discovered that sometimes the Tailwind controller would not necessarily connect to the strongest node on the network, especially if the nodes changed channels. This has now been fixed as well.

    Scott

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  • Marsh Gardiner

    Nice--thanks for the insight.

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