The update of December 2018 adds great features for enriching Signls with additional information (‘alert enrichment’). With “Services and Systems” categories, SIGNL4 already comes with an unique approach of categorizing alerts through colouring and acoustics, i.e. a dedicated push sound. But why not use this categorization feature for adding information to Signl alerts?
Why is this relevant?
Especially technical events from 3rd party sources often contain deep-level tech information making it hard to understanding meaning and context of an alert. Core machine data or IT systems data are often difficult to understand and need to be ‘translated’. Accordingly, overwriting a deep-technical subject line or adding one helps significantly in making such alerts more readable and comprehensible for a broader audience.
How alert enrichment works
This update now adds subject and body text augmentation/overriding to SIGNL4. If an external event does not contain a subject line, and instead of picking the first parameter and displaying it in the Signls overview, SIGNL4 can now add a default subject line to a Signl. The same applies to a text or body parameter. Remember, the subject line is pretty important: It is shown in the Signls overview in the mobile app, it represents the content of a push message and is also part of any text message or voice call alert.
So, when SIGNL4 receives an event it looks for a matching category based on keywords set there. Then it augments/overrides both subject and body text, adds color and icon.
But there is even more to alert augmentation with SIGNL4. Think about typical IoT use cases. As many sensor devices are installed at remote locations but often lack a GPS unit, we added the possibility to augment a Signl with a geo-location. So, instead of delivering a geo-location with the original event, you can add it later through a SIGNL4 category.
Matching and enforcing alert categories
SIGNL4 uses ‘Services & Systems’ alert categories to improve readability of critical alerts and to increase attentiveness. Whenever SIGNL4 receives an event, it tries to match defined categories to determine how to colour the alert, which push sound to use and which icon to assign. Categories are now also used as a way to augment alerts.
By default, Signl alerts are matched to ‘Services & Systems’ categories via keywords, defined per category. So, if your IoT devices have an unique identifyer which is part of every event sent to SIGNL4, you can define this as a keyword in your category. This for instances works for AWS IoT buttons where each button has a unique id. So, simply set a keyword which equals the button id.
If you are able to define or edit the content of events sent to SIGNL4 you can also enforce the match of a category. All you need to do is to use a specific event parameter in your email or JSON payload. So, if you have defined a category named ‘Turbine’, you event should contain a parameter like ‘X-S4-Service: Turbine’.
In an email it would look like
System: Turbine 1
Error: Slowed Rotation
Data: 30 rpm
Time: 12:03 am
This example would even deliver a Signl like the following with visual, acoustic and content augmentation through the defined category ‘Turbine’:
Here is a 5min video on how to use categories to enrich alerts:
SIGNL4 alert enrichment significantly improves readability of critical alerts, improves attentiveness through visual and acoustic categorization and can add geo-location information to IoT sensor data. It represents another cornerstone of modern alert management with SIGNL4.
Tip: You can edit an existing category of a received Signl by simply tapping the top icon in the Signl detail view.