RoadTest: WITTRA™ IOT Out of the Box
Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Many items that I found online are for large-scale supply chain applications. This is one of the only products that I found that was designed for smaller-scale tracking of equipment.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: The "biggest" problem wasn't much of a problem at all. The web portal isn't very well optimized for mobile so I had to scroll horizontally to view all of the information when accessing the portal on my cell phone.
The entire unit was very well packaged. The set comes in a sturdy carrying case. Each item has its own individual space carved out of the foam inserts inside of the case. The gateway is opened by pressing on a metal tab on either side. This releases the side pannels and allows the case to be separated into two pieces. Opening the gateway reveals that it is based around a Raspberry Pi 4. The mesh routers and the sensor tags use the same package, but the sensor tags have a pink-colored cap on the end that is used to cover the charging port. The mesh routers and the sensor tags use micro-USB connections for charging and the gateway uses a screw-on type connector.
WITTRA datasheet: Includes device specifications and diagrams
Set up of the unit was very straightforward and the quick-start guide is clear and easy to follow. After charging and connecting the equipment I went through the setup process for the WITTRA web portal. When I first accessed the web portal, I was using my cell phone. The site doesn't seem to be very well optimized for mobile. I had to keep scrolling horizontally to view the entire page. Once I moved to a PC, the experience was much more enjoyable. The setup was simple and straightforward. After adding the devices to my account, everything needed a firmware update. Once the firmware was updated, I began to receive all the information from the sensor tags. Overall, the setup process was simple and only took a couple of hours (including the firmware update for all of the devices). The documentation on their website for setup and configuration seemed like it didn't match up with the web portal. Some of the wording or location of the buttons did not match what I was seeing in the web portal. It wasn't a huge issue, but it wasn't as easy to follow as it could have been. I ran into an issue when uploading a floorplan to the map, but technical support was very quick to respond and they were able to help get the issue sorted out. Even though WITTRA is located in Sweden and I am located in the United States, emails were answered very quickly.
The system is fairly customizable. You can name each sensor tag and mesh router, assign colors to the devices for the map view, as well as group different devices. You can also customize the interval at which each device sends data. So, if you need data that is more real-time than others, you can set the interval to as little as every five minutes. You can also change the interval for each type of data the sensor tag collects or disable reporting of any data type altogether. You are able to change settings for individual devices or select multiple devices to update settings in bulk. The dashboard gives a good overview of all devices including the device name, battery level, and last check-in.
I used the WITTRA IoT to monitor network equipment and servers during a site remodel. I used the included velcro straps to attach the sensor tags to the servers and network equipment that were installed in the main office of the school site. I then placed the mesh routers and the gateway so I could get the best coverage of the entire site that I could. I was able to monitor location and temperature very easily while the devices were disconnected and being moved or stored.
The interface is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate. I think that this product would be incredibly valuable to any business that needs to monitor sensitive and/or expensive equipment. The sensor tags are fairly small, come with straps for attaching them to equipment and have a good IP rating. It is very easy to set up and use, even for someone with limited technical ability. Their subscription model means that you only have to pay for what you are actually using.