A new approach to virtual presence?


(Glen King) #1

Quick question: how much does a Zigbee or zwave presence sensor cost? $25 or more?

Another question: how many here have gotten consistent, reliable presence detection on their mobile phones?

One more: what if we could easily track EVERY Bluetooth device we have? Cars, speakers, headsets, phones, computers, etc??

I think it’s possible.
The way would be to turn the thing around. Instead of using my phone as the item doing the Tasker/Sharptools thing, have that function running on an inexpensive Android tablet that runs Smartthings. Enable wifi and Bluetooth on it, and park that tablet near your front door. In Tasker, set up a profile for each BT device you have. So when your iPod comes in the front door with you after your walk, the tablet recognizes its Bluetooth address and fires off the profile. When the BT-enabled car pulls into the driveway, the tablet senses its BT near and fires off the car profile.

So a $50 tablet could, with the right programming, make every BT item in your home a presence. And each BT item could therefore open a lock, turn on particular lights, open a garage…

The tablet could also function as your Smartthings “master control panel”. And you could have it be a photo frame too, so while it’s on your living room corner table doing its job it could also display the pics of your last three vacations and your niece’s wedding.

I’m gonna test it this weekend, using my wifi-only phone in the ‘tablet’ role and my wife’s ipod and my own iPad as the roaming devices.


(Brian Smith) #2

You should look to BeaconThings for some ideas…


(Glen King) #3

Thanks for the reply. However, I’m having real difficulty seeing the utility of them, especially given their inability to determine exact proximity. Am I supposed to carry my phone from room to room to prove I’m there? And then you have to spend $29 per unit, while not really leveraging the smart tech that already exists in so many gadgets. Great for sales of beaconthings units, not so great for my wallet.

Given the scenario I painted above, how exactly do you think your beaconthings can assist? If you can show utility for them that does not exist in other things, I will of course gladly buy a few.


(Brice; SmartRulesApp.com) #4

I think what @brianlees meant was that the tablet that you described could be the beacon, and your phone would be running BeaconThings to detect it.

That would work for both of these cases. The advantage of using BeaconThings is that if the range from that single tablet is not wide enough, you could add more beacons in other locations, and when any of them are detected by BeaconThings, you can trigger something to happen. The beacons are cheaper than the tablet (though they don’t have the added functionality of being your “master control panel”, so it is useful to have at least the one tablet.


(Glen King) #5

Based on the research I’ve done (brief, I know), iBeacon needs iPad 3 or higher and iPod touch 5 or higher.
My iPad is v2, and wife’s iPod is v4.

And when I search for beaconthings on the App Store, nothing comes up.

I think I’ll test my scenario this weekend and see how it works out.


(Glen King) #6

A couple of results. First off, wifi near works better if you customize the settings; my android opened the lock and turned on the ight. The key was to shorten the wifi search.

Now then. Both the iPod and iPad are successfully showing up via Bluetooth as discrete virtual presences. They both turn on the light and open the lock, and they both successfully turn the light off when they leave.

I will soon be purchasing an inexpensive android tablet. I will duplicate the current iPad and iPod config on it. My wife will be able to walk up to the door after her walk, and it will have already unlocked for her! :slight_smile: and on Monday, when I return from work, my iPad in my briefbag will do exactly the same. And when she pulls up in her car, the car will unlock the door… her phone will do the same, as will mine. I won’t be tracking the BT speakers lol

THIS is the way I like it. Minimal $$ outlay, a fun project, maximal results.