Channel alerts, music, and more! Stay in the loop.

Victoria S.
September 20, 2018

We started with simple one-touch communication that keeps families connected, no matter the distance. We started with durability, integrity, and powerful tech that left lots of room to grow. The Relay team has been working hard to bring you great new features that set Relay apart. Last month, we launched the Channel Store so you could pick from all our available features and add and remove them from each of your Relays. Well, we have some brand new channels as well as some updates to the Relay app that will make your life more convenient!

Brand new in the Relay Channel Store

 

Listen to music right on your Relay

Take advantage of local storage to add your favorite music files. On the music channel, you can shuffle your playlist and listen to all your favorite tunes out loud or with headphones! First, add the music channel to your Relay through the app. Next, switch the Relay to the music channel. Then add MP3, MP4, and many other file types to your Relay. For all supported file types, see this Help Center article! Using your charging cable, plug your Relay into your computer via the USB A port. (If you use a Mac, you’ll have to install Android File Transfer.) From there, you can access your Relay to drag and drop music files!

When you switch your Relay to the music channel, your tunes will start playing automatically. Press the “talk” button once to begin playing or pause, press it twice to skip a song, three times to skip backwards, and press and hold the “talk” button to turn shuffle on and off.

Learn every day with the Translate Channel

Just speak into your Relay and hear your words translated into Spanish! All you have to do is add the translate channel to your Relay through the app, switch to the translate channel, press the “talk” button, and speak! Relay will translate your words for you and repeat them back.

Relay app features that make life a little easier

 

Activity Alert

Know when you’ve missed a message with activity alerts. It isn’t feasible to keep your Relay app open at all times, so we have a solution that keeps you in touch. Now you’ll receive a push notification whenever someone talks on your channels. You can see who is trying to reach you and respond quickly by opening the Relay app. Say goodbye to being out of the loop!

Auto-generate new Relay name

You can already change your Relay’s names to anything you want (like, Mom, Dad, or Jim) through the app, but if you like the automatic Relay names and didn’t end up with your favorite animal, you can auto-generate a new name. In the Relay app, select the Relay whose name you want to change, tap the three vertical dots next to “Manage Relay,” and select “Get a new animal name.”

 

See how Relay can fit your family!

 

Notable Replies

  1. I’m at work without my Relays but just looked in the app and can’t exactly find what I’m looking for. In the notes it reads: “Know when you’ve missed a message with activity alerts. It isn’t feasible to keep your Relay app open at all times, so we have a solution that keeps you in touch. Now you’ll receive a push notification whenever someone talks on your channels. You can see who is trying to reach you and respond quickly by opening the Relay app. Say goodbye to being out of the loop!”

    Is this true for the main Relay channel too? Is there a setting to turn it off? The last thing I need is a notification each time my kids are talking on the main channel.

  2. matt says:

    @louisdi if you’re rocking a device that is Android Oreo or higher, you can go into Settings > Apps > Relay > App Notifications and control which channels you want to see notifications for, and which you don’t. Alternatively on any iOS or Android, you’ll only receive Channel Activity notifications for channels you are a part of, so you could set up a channel outside of relay that would be “Just the Kids”.

  3. I have to say, I’m quite disappointed in the way this was done. Luckily I have an Oreo phone so I can do this, but for my wife, whose phone is still on Nougat (and according to recent figures 85% of Android users have Nougat or below), she’ll be uninstalling the Relay App (which will be a major blow in our decision to continuing using the product). A major change to functionality like this should come with the ability to natively turn it off in the App. Removing her from the main channel doesn’t really work (if that’s even possible) because the whole point is for her to be able to drop in at any time and summon the kids (sub channels may not be the active channel on the relays when she needs to do this). Limiting the kids to a sub channel is harder than getting them to just use a channel alert was. I don’t see how this is a step forward.

    I’m honestly baffled. There was functionality that allowed notifications (channel alerts) already. @seanr has opined eloquently in some threads on this question of the “noise” of notifications for every channel communication.

    Sigh. This just made my Relays much less friendly to use.

  4. I, for one, am really excited about this change. I also do not imagine it is the final change they will make in this vein (I am sure @louisdi is not alone with his concerns, and Relay has shown an impressive diligence in addressing our concerns so far).

    I think a point of confusion (which may be cleared up when we can test this tonight) centers on this phrase in the roll-out ad: “Now you’ll receive a push notification whenever someone talks on your channels”. Surely that cannot apply to things like the Echo channel, right?

    If this is written as intended (and assuming the internal Echo Channel is separate from this), would it be possible for a user like @louisdi to set up a channel with him and his children, but not his wife, so she would not get notifications regarding that specific channel (since it would not be one of “[her] channels”)? Their kids would have to know not to communicate on the Family Channel unless their mom is available, of course.

    Would that help, @louisdi, or are there aspects of it that I am not considering that would still render it annoying?

    I’m going to need to play around with this to understand it better.

  5. Correct.

    Yes

    This works, but is more work. Previously, my kids knew if they needed me, they would use the volume button to send a channel alert. Now, in order not to disturb my wife, in their regular use of the device, they have to switch to a sub-channel. And if someone sends a message on the main channel, they have to remember to switch back to the sub-channel.

    From my perspective, we’ve gone from needing to send a channel alert when needed, to needing to be sure that every single usage isn’t on the main channel which alerts the app, over and over.

  6. AMilne says:

    I haven’t played with it yet (iOS) but I love this new notification idea. My kids have been struggling with the tiny buttons to send the channel alert. This will be so much easier and more intuitive for them!

  7. @louisdi does make a good point that everyone is on the main Relay channel by default and can’t be taken off. So unless the Relay devices are on a sub channel they will be notifying everyone, in our case that includes grandma and grandpa that don’t need to be notified.

    I like the notification for the fact that we know that there is action on the line at is a full in since we can’t have the app open all the time to listen to hear the conversations. BUT I would like the ability in the app to decide who gets notified of communication on the channel.

  8. I agree as we actually discovered this by accident today after I updated the relays to put music on them. Unfortunately now my husbands phone is going to be blowing up at work because every time the talk button is held down to talk a notification gets sent to our phones! My children (7 and 5) did not have any problems with the previous Volume button notification. I understand trying to meet needs others expressed but I felt the previous method worked just fine… If anything make the buttons different colors when you make them from now on or different colors on the landyard clip to help children know which button to push if it is that big of an issue.

    I did like the option for my child to initiate a private channel but I don’t feel I necessarily needed it; I don’t see why it is difficult for a child to go on the main channel and tell a parent to switch over to a private channel. Now with the notifications she can switch to a private channel and then hold the talk button down and it notifies me she is trying to contact me but I don’t feel it is necessary on the main group channel.

  9. So it appears there are two methods by which push notifications are sent:

    1. If the app is not open (not just in the background, but if it is fully closed), no notifications are received unless a channel alert is sent. So if @louisdi’s wife or @Teachkindrz’s husband have the app closed, they will only get push notifications if a channel alert is sent.

    2. If the app is open (even if it’s in the background), notifications are sent when the talk button is depressed on a Relay.

    I think this is a great advancement. It was not just that the volume button is difficult to distinguish from the power/channel button (easily mollified with a sharpie); for me it was super annoying that there was such a delay associated with the channel alert. To get from “Hey, I want to tell my wife something” to “I told my wife something” took about 7 to 10 seconds (grab Relay, send channel alert, receive alert on other end, open app, begin talking). As long as my wife always has the app in the background now, that delay is about 3 to 5 seconds. The app update made it a lot faster to get from notification to communication in the app.

    I would still prefer to see a voicemail option in the future if possible, so that I just push the talk button, speak, and the message is delivered to my wife to be reviewed when she’s available. Preferably on a dedicated voicemail channel so kids know to use that only when parents are likely busy (at work, driving, etc.). That would minimize notifications since none would be sent for Family Channel traffic.

    But we’re getting closer!

    I, for one, am happy to see Relay making progress on this. I anticipate there will be further refinement and improvement to take into account notification issues. It seems there was a group of us who were annoyed with the old functionality and a group that were happy with it; now the annoyance has switched a bit. The pendulum is gradually approaching the center, where hopefully everyone’s varied use-case needs are met.

  10. What happened to the translate Channel? We were playing with it yesterday quite a bit, then my relay app updated for a second time, and now all I have is coming soon for the translate channel. Did it get yanked?

  11. Need a way to disable the new alert any time anyone uses a relay. This unexpected change is certainly a negative vote towards discontinuing the relays

  12. Andi_B says:

    We’ve temporarily pulled to Translate channel in order to deploy some fixes. We’ll update once it’s back- should be soon.

  13. These are the kinds of things it is good to let users know about proactively, rather than reactively!

  14. SeanR says:

    We only removed it from people who had yet to assign it to their devices. Nobody who had it setup would have lost it. It will be back shortly for everyone else. It was not quite ready to go out to the masses.

  15. I used it in the App, which didn’t appear to need assigning. Looking forward to it coming back.

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