Answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Switchur?

Switchur was created to extend IFTTT, Microsoft Power Automate, and Zapier (collectively "consumer" iPaaS - Integration Platform as a Service - solutions). These iPaaS solutions connect to your smart devices and online services, allowing you to link an event with an action. But whilst these platforms are amazing, they also have some limitations. The communications across iPaaS connectors is unidirectional and stateless, also there is little in the way of transmission evaluation and processing options available. Switchur adds both a state layer, and a logic processing layer, which when combined produce much smarter automation outcomes. When we're explaining this in nontechnical terms we can make a correlation between iPaaS solutions and a musical orchestra where Switchur embraces the vacant role of orchestra conductor. Listening, studying, coordinating, unifying tempos, interpreting meaning, whilst being a conduit for the platform communications.

What is the Switchboard?

It's where you can view, add, and manage all of your switches, counters, and keywords/key phrases. It displays the current value of your Switchboard items and gives you access to each items log of changes.

What are Switchboard items?

The three Switchboard item types are Switch, Counter, and Keyword(s). Each stores a different type of value.

  • A "Switch" stores an ON/OFF state
  • A "Counter" stores a NUMBER (up to two decimal places)
  • A "Keyword" stores TEXT (up to one hundred characters)

When you first create a Switchboard item it has no value set, and special urls are produced that allow for it to be updated via IFTTT, Zapier, and/or Microsoft Power Automate.

What can I do with Switchboard items?

Once you've configured IFTTT, Zapier, Microsoft Power Automate (or any system capable of making generic outbound HTTP requests and receiving inbound webhooks) to update the Switchboard item you can use them in automation routines. When a Switchboard item value changes, any automation where that Switchboard item is referenced is checked, and if automation criteria is met then the appropriate actions are processed.

What is an Automation?

An Automation is a fusion of Switchboard item criteria and actions. By defining the required criteria of a selection of Switchboard items you define the circumstances for when that Automation will evaluate to true. Add positive (i.e. when true) and negative (i.e. when false) actions to the Automation to invoke the desired result.

Why would I want to use Switchur?

With Switchur you get automation superpowers. Imagine a world where once you've created the automation, you never have to manually control that thing again. It is the solution for absolute automation where several required states have to align to for an automation to occur. Switchur embodies logical conjunctive and disjunctive assertions (AND, OR) to bind conditions, and the advanced expression builder can support even the most complicated requirements. For example, to turn on a device, but only when at least one family member is at home, and only between certain hours of the day, and only when the indoor temperature is above some level, and only on weekdays. And also in reverse, turn off a device when all family members have left the house, or it's not between certain hours, or the temperature drops below some level. Switchur can track the state of those required conditions, and switch said device on and off accordingly.

How does an Automation work?

Every automation you add references a selection of Switchboard items and the required criteria of each. When a switchboard item has it's status or value updated, each automation that references that switchboard item gets re-evaluated. All actions in an automation assigned to either a positive (the green thumbs up icon) or negative (the red thumbs down icon) result are then invoked based on whether all of the automation Switchboard item criteria was a match.

How does a Switch work?

A switch has only two possible states, ON or OFF. So it can represent anything that can only have two possible states whether true or false, yes or no, on or off, etc. Use cases for a switch could include "Dad at home", "It is night time", or "It is raining". A switch is updated via one of three methods; turn ON, turn OFF, toggle. You control the switch by configuring http requests to call the API endpoint. When a switch is added to an Automation you define the required state of ON or OFF in order for the Automation to evaluation to be positive.

What do the Switchboard API response messages mean?

Whenever an HTTP request is made to update a switchboard item, the response from Switchur's API includes a message that can help to troubleshoot issues. Enabling "Test Mode" on the switchboard item provides easy access to view response messages via API requests made with a web browser. Though we don't recommend leaving a switchboard item in "Test Mode" indefinitely as they can be susceptible to inadvertent updates.

Many messages should be self explanatory but further insight into what conditions will likely produce a response message can be found in the attached table. Click "Read more" to view the table of response codes.

Can the Switchboard API just return the current item value?

Yes, this is possible. You can get the current value by calling the API with only the Switchboard items unique key in the URL path (i.e. All responses are strings (text). Switches will return either 'true' or 'false', counters will return digits (i.e. '12.4'), and keywords will return the assigned word or phrase encapsulated in double quotes (i.e. '"example"').

How do I use the advanced expression editor?

With the advanced expression editor it is possible to support automation scenarios where complex and dynamic rules determine outcomes. Unlike the basic automation builder where several switchboard items must match the desired state uniformly, Switchur's advanced editor supports compound disjunctive propositions (i.e. OR operator) and other propositional logic arguments.

You can use the advanced expression editor to combine atomic conditions and defined functions (i.e. Randomize, Round, If/Then, Min/Max, Ceiling/Floor). To learn how to create advanced expressions, click on "Read more".

Alexa skill options

The Switchur Alexa skill is a Smart Home skill that also supports custom voice interactions. Once the skill is enabled, the Smart Home device discovery process detects each of your Switchur automations and stays synchronized with any changes. Each automation can be represented in Alexa as a smart automation and a contact sensor (the latter can be used as a trigger for Alexa routines).

You can also query and update your switchboard via voice commands such as "Alexa, ask Switchur Automation to add 1 to my workouts counter". To read about all the voice command options, click on "Read more".

How can I delete my account and data?

In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), individuals can delete their user account, including all data related to the account that is stored by the Switchur service.

Follow these instructions to delete your account.

  1. Log in, and navigate to the Settings page via the menu.
  2. Within the Services section, click the "Delete account" button.
  3. You are promoted to confirm deletion by typing "DELETE!" in to the provided text field.
  4. Upon confirmation, all data is permanently deleted.

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