A truly ‘smart’ fantasy scenario - BMW and Ecobee

So I got my Ecobee3. Works nicely. I have a significant smarthome build, with numerous devices and automations.

As far as ecobee, my wife likes the house warmer in winter than I… and cooler in summer than I. She has a 2016 BMW with ConnectedDrive. So I am fantasizing the following:

  • wife starts her car as she is leaving work.
  • car reports to ST that it is leaving.
  • some as yet unknown process looks at traffic data, and calculates approximate anticipated arrival time.
  • via webcore, it triggers ecobee to adjust temperature so the house is at, or getting to, her comfort zone when she opens the front door.

So far, getting the BMW to do anything useful has been impossible.

doesn’t ecobee app have geofencing already?

You could very easily use the webCoRE beta presence capability. It is much nicer than the ST mobile presence in 2 distinct ways:

  1. It works
  2. Allows multiple geofences to be created (1 for “Home”) and others for places like “Work”, “Vacation Home”, or whatever you can imagine.

The nice thing is that it is all built into webCoRE with just a small app installed on your phone for the geofence logic.

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So the iPhone reporting its locations will not need ST installed?

But there’s also the issue of time. The 20 mile drive is 25 minutes some evenings, two hours other evenings.

I suppose the combo of geofence reports plus traffic info could reasonably predict whether she’d be home at 5pm or 630pm (or in between) as her commute goes, and select a good moment to trigger the temp change.

Yeah, but it’s apparently badly implemented; you have to manually switch it out of the mode (Home and Holding) the geofence switches it to, else it stays in that mode in spite of schedules.

Obviously there’s lots to explore in getting this done. Not a high priority, but it would be fun to get it happening.

Correct, I believe you do not need the ST App installed at all if you use the webCoRE presence app.

If she drives the same route every day, you could simply add another geofence closer to home along her travel route. Use the combination of “recently departed from work” (or maybe just time of day) + “entered geofence near home” to trigger the HVAC system to adjust to her liking prior to her arrival at home.

Just brainstorming.

Did more research. Turns out the setting created by the ecobee geofence can be set to expire after a certain amount of time, or can expire with the next daily program change.

But my wife’s phone is out of memory; the ecobee app can’t be installed. lol

She does also have an iPhone from Work, but for that geofence to function you need either an AppleTV 4 or an IPad Pro that is always home. So geofencing will wait until she gets a new phone.

The webCoRE and SmartThings Geofencing does not require an Apple TV or iPad at home. Sounds like you’re referring to the Apple Homekit requirements for an always on device in your home. Perhaps the ecobee geofence uses Homekit?

You should be able to accomplish your goals using the webCoRE geofence(s) as long as your ecobee thermostat in integrated with SmartThings. Essentially, bypass the ecobee software.

Got it. Wife unloaded a few things from her phone, loaded ecobee app… it works well so far, 2 for 2. It loads a specific comfort setting, and the high temp set there is unique… And of course I am using webcore to have ST do other things for her. Such as: if within 20 minutes of reading that high set the garage opens, then unlock the front door and turn on the front light.