Action Maps (Alerts)

Articles based on common support questions.
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varghesesa
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 pm

Action Maps (Alerts)

Post by varghesesa » Fri Sep 03, 2021 9:45 pm

Introduction

Not really sure what this article will become. Right now, I am using it as a placeholder for gotchas based on tickets associated with the action map and creating alerts.

Table of Contents
Gotchas

Pro Tips

Pro Tip 1: No SMS Images

Many ISP providers do not allow image attachments because of the increased amount of data to send images. We have also noticed when you include an attachment and the provider rejects the email because of too much data, no feedback is ever sent to sender email. The ISP provider just rejects the email.
As a work around many users create an email and SMS alert.
When an SMS arrives with just text, the user checks his email!



Gotchas

Gotcha 5: Permissions

This gotcha is all about User and Mobile Device permissions that can affect the mobile app connection or the web interface connection.

Blue Iris Server Settings

The Mobile Devices tab and the Users tab (both under global settings) can restrict Alerts and access to cameras on remote endpoints.
Check the below permissions for the user / phone that is not working.

User permissions
Global settings -> Users tab
The Users tab sets permissions for the user logged into the mobile app.
Accessible times and profiles
Make sure the user is allowed remote access. LAN only is unchecked.
Make sure the user is allowed access to BI during the appropriate profiles.

users access.png
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If not set correctly the user will not be able to access the remote endpoint(mobile app, web interface).


Camera groups
If you are using camera groups, the user must have access to a group that contains the camera executing the Push.

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If not set successfully, specific cameras may not be visible at the remote endpoint.


Push notifications
Confirm Push notifications are active in the user's profile for the appropriate profiles.

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Specific to mobile apps, this setting can prevent Push notifications to mobile devices.

Mobile device permissions
Global settings -> Mobile devices tab
You can also set permissions on a mobile device.
Maybe executives receive certain alerts.
Maybe security staff receive other alerts.

Push notifications
Confirm Push notifications are enabled for the user's phone.
This is another reason why Push notifications may not be going to your device.

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Mobile Tags

If you are using tags make sure the mobile phone in question has the tag associated with the alert.
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Tags can prevent any alert (not just Push notifications) from being sent to a mobile device.

Legacy GCM
Make sure Legacy GCM is unselected.
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Mobile App Permissions
The other aspect of permissions is in regards to the Phone and Mobile app settings.

The Server settings section of the Mobile devices article walks through setting the right permissions on the phone. The section also explains how to set the correct WAN/LAN addresses.

The App settings section discusses mobile app settings that can affect functionality (e.g. geo-fence)


Gotcha 4: Push notifications

Update to the latest version or the latest stable version of the BI server. Update to the latest version of the app.
Features/functionality on the mobile app are not guaranteed to run with older versions of the server.

Divide the problem into server vs mobile app.
Did the BI Server send the Push alert?

Log files
The log files will state whether push alerts are being sent from the server.

Must understand the logs to know what is going on.
status log confirmation.png
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Furthermore, confirm the Alert is sent soon after BI senses Motion. The gap between the MOTION event and the Alert should not be more than 1-2s.

motion-alert-trace.png
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:?: If the logs state the Push notification was sent, go to Push alerts section below.

No Push alert

You know something with the server (or server settings) is the issue. Possible culprits:
  • Cameras
  • Permissions
    • User
    • Mobile device
    • Mobile app
  • Trigger tab
  • Alert tab
  • Action map
Something is very likely broken between Cameras -> Trigger settings -> Alert settings.
Or your server settings are incorrect.

Cameras
Are the cameras working?
See Camera Stream Optimization article.

Permissions
Walk through Gotcha 5 above.

Trigger settings
Are you still receiving motion triggers? The Alerts tab in the Clips List will tell you! If not, there is a problem with the Trigger tab.

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Alerts tab - Action Map
If the motion trigger is present, there is a problem with the Alerts tab.

I would look closely at my Push notification settings.
One common mistake is the Profiles for the alert are NOT active for the Profile you are testing.
Camera settings -> Alerts tab -> On Alert.

mobile gotchas action map profiles.png
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If you do not know how to debug alerts, watch the Triggers and Alerts webinar. The information is also available in the Alerts and Actions section of Help (Testing the Action Set).

Alerts tab
Alerts are turned off (accidentally) on the camera.

Revisit the Camera settings -> Alerts tab.
A common mistake is you accidentally turned off Alerts.

mobile devices gotchas_recent alerts.png
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One user accidentally switched Any to All. With all the Zones checked you are effectively telling BI the Motion had to cross ALL zones for an alert to trigger.
I have yet to see a use case where a user had all zones set. Basically, he turned all motion alerts from the motion sensor OFF.

:?: Push alert

Log states alerts are sent

Send alternative alerts
Leverage BI functionality to test further.
If all of the above permissions are set correctly and Push notifications are still NOT working, then create/test an Email / SMS alert.
If those alerts work, then you know the issue probably does NOT reside with your Server permissions or motion trigger settings.
This is a strong hint that something is wrong with mobile phone settings or the mobile app.

Global settings -> Mobile devices tab
Maybe a permission issue associated with your phone and the BI server setup exists?
Check Global settings -> Mobile devices tab. Is your phone listed? Is Push notification enabled?
If your phone is not listed go back to the mobile app and reinitiate a connection to the server.
The Server settings section walks you through the process.

User permissions
Review Gotcha 5 above.

If another user on another phone is receiving push alerts, maybe test the non-working phone with the working user account. If the other user account works on the non-working phone, then you know the phone is fine. The user account must not have correct permissions. An example of isolating the issue to user permissions or phone by leveraging a user account that we know works.

Apple / Android Push servers
It's very possible, the issue could reside with Apple/Android Notification Servers, your mobile device or maybe even your cellular provider.
If you created an SMS alert as stated above and the SMS alert is responsive, you can assume BI sent the Push correctly as well.

Firewall settings
Maybe your firewall is blocking ports for Push notifications?
Highly unlikely. Most firewalls do not prevent outbound traffic.
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If issue is still not resolved, include mobile app info to the ticket for BI engineering to review.
See Next steps / Submitting a ticket section in Mobile devices article.


Gotcha 3: Push notifications - Alert Images

Push notifications also include an Alert image by default.
If you receive the Push notification, however the Thumbnail image is not included, pay attention to this section.

action map_alert image.png
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The mobile app needs to request the image from the BI server once a notification is received from Apple/Android. If you received the Push but no alert image, then the mobile app is not able to talk to the server.

IP Address

The most common issue is the IP Address on the BI server changed. Logout of the mobile app.
Go to your server settings and hit the Lookup key (iOS) / Get IPS key (Android) to update the LAN / WAN addresses. Confirm LAN/WAN addresses are correct. Wait for the next Push notification to confirm issue is resolved.

Android + SSL

Android / Google came out with tighter certificate restrictions recently. You need to make some changes to your Stunnel config file. The Android Gotcha article documents how other customers resolved issue.

Login

When you don't get the image, are you able to login with the app?
If you cannot login, then obviously you have connectivity issues.
Review Gotcha 5 above.

Network

The network setup is critical to getting the apps working on the WAN. When the alert image is not present, use the mobile browser on the phone to connect to the web interface. If the phone cannot connect to UI3, you know the network is not setup correctly.
Double check your network setup.

If the UI3 interface is working, the IP address is wrong or the incorrect protocol (http/https) is selected.
Revisit the Server settings on your mobile app.

Debug logs

The debug logs will tell you the issue. When the next notification arrives on your phone without an alert image, go to the app (do not select notification) -> ? tab -> Debug log.
Scroll to the bottom of the log and look for downloadTaskWithURL commands associated with your recent alerts.

Code: Select all

1    2021-09-08 7:55:10: handleRemoteNotification: 'ADF7' (MOTION_A) triggered on 'Mabury Square' at 7:54:39 AM, long-chime-sound.wav 264
2    2021-09-08 7:55:10: Server now Mabury Square --> 4 server=Mabury Square, cam=ADF7, wanip=(null)

//  Command that requests snapshot using the LAN address ****************************
3    2021-09-08 7:57:40: downloadTaskWithURL http://10.0.0.5:7000/thumbs/alert.2057329278.jpg?session=54d67b8a1a3b65880775655e0eb1098d fails The request timed out.
4    2021-09-08 7:57:40: Requesting image from http://xxxx.ngrok.io/thumbs/alert.4118562208.jpg?session=2e4742d111f37fc81f1b3e2a25ee13d6

// Command that requests snapshot using the WAN address (in this case NGROK URL) ****************************
5    2021-09-08 7:57:40: downloadTaskWithURL http://xxxx.ngrok.io/thumbs/alert.4118562208.jpg?session=2e4742d111f37fc81f1b3e2a25ee13d6 fails The resource could not be loaded because the App Transport Security policy requires the use of a secure connection.
6    2021-09-08 7:58:39: didDetermineState: 1
7    2021-09-08 7:58:39: http://xxxx.ngrok.io --> {
    cmd = geofence;
    inside = 1;
    session = 00a939f740fe6f735b582ded29ce028d;
}
8    2021-09-08 7:58:39: http://xxxx.ngrok.io/json <-- {"result":"success","session":"00a939f740fe6f735b582ded29ce028d"}
9    2021-09-08 7:59:20: downloadTaskWithURL http://10.0.0.5:7000/thumbs/alert.4118562208.jpg?session=2e4742d111f37fc81f1b3e2a25ee13d6 fails The request timed out.
downloadTaskWithURL calls: Calls to get alert image using LAN address (line 3) and WAN address (line 5). There are 2 requests per notification because the app automatically checks the LAN and WAN addresses.


Line 3: 2021-09-08 7:57:40: downloadTaskWithURL http://10.0.0.5:7000/thumbs/alert.2057329278.jpg?session=54d67b8a1a3b65880775655e0eb1098d fails The request timed out.

Line 5: 2021-09-08 7:57:40: downloadTaskWithURL http://xxxx.ngrok.io/thumbs/alert.41185 ... 2a25ee13d6 fails The resource could not be loaded because the App Transport Security policy requires the use of a secure connection.


Possible issues:
1. URLs (NGROK or alternatives to port forwarding) or IP Address (port forwarding) are not correct.

Line 3 (above) states the LAN request timed out. This could be because the IP address is incorrect or the phone is on the WAN and a LAN address will not work. Remember, the LAN address only works when phone is connected to the LAN.

If you are not using port forwarding, confirm URL links from your DDNS/VPN service are being used for the WAN request(Line 5).

web server ngrok.png
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In order for the mobile app to use the correct NGROK/ZeroTier URL, the WAN address needs to be set with the URL correctly.
Global settings -> Web server tab. WAN field.
Uncheck the option to automatically refresh this so that it sticks on the NGROK/VPN address.
2. Port forwarding (if used) is not setup correctly. The network (router) is not setup correctly for the app to get access to the BI server.
3. Setup https but mobile app is using http protocol or vice versa.

The error message in Line 5 as as seen above states the WAN URL failed because of TLS issues. This is an error clearly stating the BI server is using encryption (TLS / https) yet the mobile app is requesting an unencrypted string (http). The fix is to go to your mobile app server settings and set the WAN address to https instead of http.
In this example, both requests failed and the notification was sent without an image. The LAN address failed because the phone was on the WAN.
The WAN address failed because the BI server was setup for https but the mobile app was using http communication.


LAN

On rare occasions, alert images work on the WAN but NOT on the LAN. This always has to do with network configuration issues. See some documented examples below.

Customer Anecdotes (all network configuration issues)
Maybe triggers ideas as to what is wrong with your network setup.

Anecdotal 1:
Issue from a user where Push notifications worked on the WAN but not the LAN.
  • User switched to dynamic DNS (e.g. NGROK) from port forwarding. Changed mobile app WAN server settings accordingly.
  • Modified his local dns server to map the dynamic dns hostname to the internal IP. This user had a DNS server, perhaps company deployment. Most homeowners do not.
  • BI Server was not using the LAN interface associated with above DNS server, so DDNS URL was not being resolved to correct IP address. (oops)
The above is complicated for the average user and I doubt many have a local dns server. To keep it simple, most users just point the LAN address to the BI Server's IP Address.

Anecdotal 2:
It was a local IP issue. My WiFi LAN router assigned somehow assisted devices on the WiFi network a 192.156.**.*** oddly it assigned things plugged in via cable a 10.0.0.***. It was acting like a double NAT inside the same router/WiFi box. Oddly it had separated the WiFi and wired connections on separate LANs.

I put the WiFi side into bridge mode and let only one side assign the IP addresses. This forced both the wired and wireless devices on to the same IP setup 10.0.0.***. It took a few minutes for the network to rediscover everything. I rebooted everything.

Boom. It works.


If still cannot resolve the issue, when the next Push notification goes out, wait 30s, then go to Next steps / Submitting a ticket section below to submit a ticket.


Gotcha 2: Email/SMS alerts are not working

Global settings -> Users tab
Similar to above for Push notifications, check permissions.

Global settings -> Users tab
Make sure the user is allowed access to BI during the appropriate profiles.
users access.png
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Confirm alerts are being sent from the server

status log confirmation.png
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Furthermore, confirm the Alert is sent soon after BI senses motion. The gap between the MOTION event and the Alert should not be more than 1-2s.

motion-alert-trace.png
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Log states alerts are sent
If the log states alerts are NOT being sent, scroll down to Log states alerts are NOT sent section.

If the logs state alerts are being sent, then you can be confident your global permissions and motion triggers are set correctly to generate an alert.
The issue must reside with your alert settings.

Send alternative alerts
If you are only sending one type of alert, e.g. an email notification, create an SMS alert to try and isolate the issue. Does the other alert work?
If only the SMS notification is working, I would look very closely at my email alert settings.
If only the email notification is working, I would look very closely at my SMS alert settings.
If both alerts are not working, the issue is probably with the email server setup since both alerts rely on the email server.
Global settings -> Email servers.

Email process: BI Server -> Email server -> Email notification
SMS process: BI Server -> Email server -> Mobile provider email to text service -> SMS message

Easy to check if SMS and Email alerts are being processed correctly by your email server.
Simply login to your email server.
Go to the sent folder.
If you see sent emails to your cellular provider (for an SMS text) or to the email address specified in the Email alert settings, your mail server processed the alert correctly.
BI emails are easy to spot because the subject starts with Blue Iris.
If you do not see any BI sent emails, your email server is not setup correctly.

If your SMS messages are not being received or received after a long delay AND you confirmed your email server is responding in a timely manner, then you will need to inquire with your cellular service provider as to why their email to text service is slow or not responding.

Log states alerts are NOT sent
The issue must be with Server settings (Permissions or Trigger settings)
If the logs state NO alerts are being sent, then you can be confident there has to be an issue with Server permissions or your Motion triggers settings.
Go through same checks listed above for Gotcha 3: Push Notifications. The Logs state the Push notification was NOT sent section.


Gotcha 1: Alert images
Issue
Alert images are the images that are associated with SMS and Email alerts.
Push notifications also provide Alert images (thumb nails).
The issue is often users want the Alert Image, i.e. the Trigger image to be in high resolution and sometimes it appears as a low resolution image.

Background info
The thumbnail image which is actually stored in the database and associated with the Alert is 240px.
In earlier versions of 5.x, the thumbnail image was 480px, but the increased size really did not add much value, but did eat up database storage so was changed back to 240px.

The fix
To get higher resolution main stream Alert images, select Hi-res JPEG files for Add to alerts list:. Camera settings -> Trigger tab.

alert image hi-res.png
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Dual streams
If your camera has dual streams and Hi-res JPEG is selected (as stated above), but the alert image is not the higher resolution image, the issue is often the main stream does not have the corresponding key frame. If the hi-res (mainstream) alert could not be saved, the software will use the alert image which is cached in memory (sub stream if camera has dual streams).

The fix is setting an appropriate pre-trigger buffer size.

Server errors
If the above two fixes do not resolve the issue, right click on an alert -> Open containing folder.
Is the corresponding JPEG the correct resolution? 240p is what's in the database. However if there's a hi-res JPEG file, this should be served instead.

If the Open containing folder selection is greyed out, then there is an issue.
  • The most obvious cause is you did not set Add to alerts list = Hi-res JPEGfiles
  • OR There is an issue with the setup of the Alerts folder (image below), folder permissions or something else.
    Check the log for errors, in particular Storage errors.
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Note on email alerts
Email alerts provide many more options.
The Motion leading-edge image will always come from the sub stream.
The Trigger leading-edge, aka the Alert image, will only be high-res if you select Hi-res JPEG (as stated above) AND the main stream has a key frame in the buffer (thus, the need for a pre-trigger buffer as stated above).
The Additional images will always be hi-res (if you have a main stream key frame in the buffer).
Finally, the Email alert dialog also provides quality controls (default is 50/50) which can alter the alert image.
action map email quality.png
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