API for gathering account data or making changes.

Would it be possible for an account stats and configuration API? I looked through your site code and it seems like there is a lot of JSON like stuff. I think I'd be able to do some fancy text mangling to get it, but an actual API would be a lot more handy.

Some things I could imagine I would use such a feature for...

  • Event-based account changes. E.g. don't allow texts or calls after 9pm for your teenage daughter.
  • Easy usage data exporting for presentations, records preservation, etc.

Thanks,

Josh Erickson

23

Comments

61 comments
  • An API would be great for doing custom analytics on my phone usage. +1!

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  • The mobile app clearly uses a private Ting API. Does Ting care to make it public?

    It would allow us to extend to do the very needed things for the community, like the OP suggested:

    • Event-based account changes. E.g. don't allow texts or calls after 9pm for your teenage daughter.
    • Easy usage data exporting for presentations, records preservation, etc.
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  • I'd like to jump on board and support the idea of an API for Ting. I love all of the controls that I have over my phones on Ting. To be able to manage them via other apps (like IFTTT) or simple scripts would provide huge value to customers.

    It also seems like it would be of immense research value to Ting as a company - crowd source new ideas through the community-driven develop of solutions. If you see a bunch of people build time/event managed configuration scripts/apps, then it helps drive a business decision to add those features to your own management interface.

    As always, thanks for providing a great service!!

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  • +1.  Immigrant from RingPlus here; I would've joined Ting from the get-go if API were available.  Anyway, until we get an API someday, I'm still loving Ting service.

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  • I'd also like to +1 this. Custom analytics is what I'm looking for.

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  • +1 - Event based account changes.... REALLY useful.

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  • It's been a few years.
    Any progress here?
    I would love to be able to script custom access schedules for the kids' phones.

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  • We've got a few things cooking in a redesign coming down the line, but I don't believe an API is on the table at this exact moment. It's more of a nice-to-have while demand for a full-featured, very expensive API is still shockingly low.

    I'll still ask around at our next features meeting, but encourage you to look forward to the redesign coming down what should be some time this year.

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  • If you did something like ifttt it would have a broader audience and be easier to maintain since it would be a higher level interface.

    I'm not surprised you don't hear about demand though. Who asks their phone provider for programmatic access?

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  • +1 for an API. I manage 25+ devices at work for different departments. I had to build an app to parse the bills and give group totals already. Adding API access to enable and disable features would be fantastic. It would make bulk actions much easier as well. For example the My Account Disable Data action was set far too low. I increased the limit and I am in the process of re-enabling data on each line manually. It is incredibly frustrating. 

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  • email help@ting a list of accts and a data entry task. alot easier for them to do a bulk profile change than for you to admin through the web ui.

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  • (late bump) 

    Add my voice to the chorus for an API that will at least allow querying the current account status (like balance and pending billing) and detail records on the usage per phone.

    If you're looking for more corp-friendly usage, fleet management is definitely up there in priority!

    An additional nice to have would be a webhook that Ting could call on specific events assigned by an API call. (Like, account balance < X, or new device added to account, etc) From the corporate angle, this could be a huge win.

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  • I am going to write an integration for Home Assistant to show Ting account usage on my HA Dashboard. It would be easier and more secure with an official API.

    Thanks for everything you do.

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  • I'm a big fan of HomeAssistant! Do you have a site scraper sensor working on the Ting website as is? 

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  • I will pretty soon and will post back here. I had to learn scraping to do a COVID-19 support site so I have all the knowledge to do it now. 

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  • I also love HA. I'm interested to see your progress.

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  • There are too many security barriers in place. (e.g. "How many crosswalks do you see in these pictures")

    Please Ting, give us an API. All I want is the ability to see my usage data. It's not a world shaking security risk.

     

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  • While demand is low, I would say this is probably on the list of "nice-to-haves" for our small development team. It's definitely something the team has talked about before, including the ability to toggle services (like the minutes, messages and megabytes toggles) with an API, but the cost to implement and secure something like this is currently outweighed by more-pressing issues facing our team.

    I can assure you they're aware of the want for it, especially because it'd be really interesting to see what could be built on top of Ting, but the probability for it coming to fruition any time soon is low.

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  • Maybe you can hook up the captcha to mechanical turk for cheap? I think there is also a bypass on github somewhere based on sending the audio captcha to the google transcription service, not sure if that still works.

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  • Would a read-only API that just provides the current minutes, messages, and megabytes avoid the problematic parts of a public API? (changing settings, accessing billing information)

    It would still allow many interesting automation projects without exposing credit cards or encountering additional support calls when settings change unexpectedly.

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  • Such an API would still cost time and resources that are really better spent elsewhere while our team is still very small.

    You can still base automations off of email alerts, though. I had this set up in homeassistant for a little while until I realized how little I used it. But basically just use our Alerts feature to send an email. The email arrives in more or less plain text form:

    You can set as many alerts as you'd like, and the email address you use to alert does NOT need to be the primary on the account. Set up an alerts-only email address or Twilio phone number (alerts can be sent via SMS, too) and you've got all the information you need for at the very least actionable information about your Ting account.

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  • So I guess if you wanted to get daily per-user usage data in grafana, you could add an alert at every 10mb from 10 to ~10000 for every user and then send it to a separate email to be ingested by a script. That could work for usage based data. Afaict that would lack pricing information though (eg, what current pricing bucket the account is in). I suppose that could be hard coded and guessed based on the totals.

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  • Every 10MB would be a LOT of work, but yeah. You absolutely could.

    An easier way would be just a few to alert you if you stepped into the next bucket on a category. Because 10MB and 97MB are charged the same on Ting, but 97MB and 103MB are charged differently.

    Accounting for our secret free megabyte every month (for tower heartbeat signals) and 5% grace: 

    0-1MB = $0
    2-105MB = $3
    106-510MB = $10
    511-1075MB = $16
    1076-2150MB = $20
    2151MB+ = $20 + $10/GB

    Realistically, I don't think I'd need anything over 3GB, and wouldn't want to know the exact detail unless it was likely to affect my bill, but YMMV. If I needed stricter detail, I could pull an iframe up with the dashboard.

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  • @Mitch For accounts with multiple users, it wouldn't make sense to quantize the per-user stats to the buckets since the unit rate between buckets varies enough to make the cost not add up to the account total across all users. If the use case is to track how much each user is contributing to the usage totals, then you would want a consistent interval. I mention the pricing buckets as a potentially separate use case.

    One application I would want to develop that requires this information is automatically submitting a splitwise expense at the end of the month, charging each family member a proportion of each charge based on the proportion of resource usage attributed to their device. Per day usage would be especially useful for variable rate billing of family members by using the transition between buckets to incur a surcharge to family members who contribute heavily to the account transitioning to a higher bucket. For example, in a 4 person family where the total family usage is 110MB, and where person A uses 10MB and person B uses 60MB, and Person C/D each use 20MB - a straight proportion split would tell you that person A owes 10/110*$10 = ~$0.90, person B owed 60/110*$10 = $5.45, and C/D each owe 20/110*$10 = $1.82. But if everybody consumed like person A, C, or D, each of these people would pay significantly less, so why should they bear the burden of person B? I can use a spreadsheet to automate a more complex calculation, but without an API, this is a painfully manual process. Using a different splitting algorithm, person A pays 10/105*$3 = $0.29, person C/D each pay 20/105*$3 = $0.57, and person B pays the remainder of $8.57, bearing the full burden of raising the total cost by $7 in addition to their share.

    Also, we regularly have devices exceed 3GB so I would definitely want to capture amounts up to at least 10GB.An iframe with the dashboard doesn't help at all to automate this.

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  • One application I would want to develop that requires this information is automatically submitting a splitwise expense at the end of the month, charging each family member a proportion of each charge based on the proportion of resource usage attributed to their device.


    This could probably be done easier with the .csv file we already give at the end of the month. I've been playing around with it a little bit in Excel and was able to get a daily breakdown of usage for my lines. That said, this is definitely after-the-fact processing. But it's easier to manipulate the data.

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  • @Mitch That's the manual process I'm looking to avoid with an API. Eversource graciously allows logging in without captcha which means I can scrape my monthly electric bill and split it with the house automatically based on individual consumption of each room. The CSV is still behind the login which doesn't allow scripts to access it automatically.

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  • If you won't support automated access of the user account via external scripts, would you consider having the ability to send the monthly CSV as an email attachment automatically without user intervention? Or perhaps webhooks originating from Ting?

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  • Of course. I'm just looking for creative solutions, because realistically an API is comparatively expensive for the benefit it provides, and our tiny teams' resources are better spent on more-pressing projects. In the absence of it, I figured I'd look at solutions we already do provide to replicate some of the features an API would give.

    I still think alerts are the best solution at this exact moment, though the level of detail you're requesting means it's going to be a lot of them.

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  • The .csv file as an attachment is probably a deliverable. I'll bring this up to the team at the next feature request meeting and see what comes of it.

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  • Having the .csv files attached in the monthly statement email would be a big help. Having all of the info in the statement email as an additional .csv file would help even more. I think that with those 4 files I could completely automate the monthly breakdown process. 

    Of course that's only helpful for the "Gathering account data" part of this request. An API for control of settings would still be great.

    Thanks

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