Anyone Getting Accurate Presence


(Ajf) #1

ST support is trying to troubleshoot the problems I’m having getting accurate presence reports. My question is are any of you getting dead-on accurate presence using the tags and/or mobile?


(Blake Westerdahl) #2

I seem to be in the minority but I get near perfect presence with my iPhone. The “near” part is just a reflection of the fact that sometimes it doesn’t register me as home until I park outside my house (geofence is set about half a block away). It has worked nearly perfectly for 6+ weeks at this point.

My wife’s Galaxy S2 (Andriod OS) has been a little more hit and miss. Overall, I would say that it has been 80% accurate. This seems to be a function of the location services of the phone as much as SmartThings. She has to go much farther outside of the geofence than I do to register as away. Her phone also has gone as long as 20 minutes before it registers her as home.


(Ajf) #3

Yea our iPhones seem to work much better than the ST tags. Since installing the tags in my kid’s cars they often go into this repetitive “has left…has arrived…has left etc” mode.

IMO this is one of the most important features of this system, and one that should be reliable since most will use it to determine if their kids, spouse or parent arrive at home (or leave). Also at night I’d like to have lights turn on when they get home.

I’m really trying to make this work, I’m doing whatever support suggests, but it’s my second system after Kickstarter, and if they can’t get this fixed I’m sending it all back.


(John Essey) #4

My ST Tags are pretty reliable. I had issues at first, specifically with the ST Outlet causing interference with the tags, which caused the Tags to frequently arrive/leave, if checking in at all. I removed the Outlet, and replaced 1 of the tags… havent had any problems since.

I rarely see the “has arrived, has left”, which is something I had early on with the Outlet in place. I only noticed the has arrived/has left more frequently due to the holidays and family borrowing cars. Seems fine normally though.

My Phone has been spot on. I recently upgraded to a newer phone and it has been much better detecting my ‘location services’ location. I think my older phone had radio problems (dropped a few times, 2 years old, etc.). Night and day difference with a newer phone.

A few things I did that may have helped, but not directly a "Smart Things"fix: I changed my wireless channel, and put the Hub in different switch on my lan (which gave me 7 feet of space between the Hub and my wireless router – previously had 3 feet).

Good luck!


(Steve S) #5

My wife and I try to use our iPhones as mobile presence devices. I think my record is about 3 days before one or both fail to update which causes the “smart security” app to sound our alarm or not to “arm” in the first place. I’ve been reporting this to support for months, they are supposedly testing a promising fix, but not sure when they will release it. I was hoping Santa would deliver it, but I must not have been nice enough :slight_smile:

So to answer your question, no I am not getting accurate presence. I have a standing beer reward for the ST programmer who fixes this. I’ll up this to a six pack if it will help things along. It’s really neutered the usefulness of ST for me.

The problem with a feature like this is that unless it is rock solid, it’s almost useless because you can’t count on it.


(Ajf) #6

Thanks for the replies guys, I at least know it’s not just me. And Steve your last 2 sentences really hit the mark.

I will probably add their cell phones, but what I don’t like about that is having to download the ST app which gives them access to everything. It would be great if there was a “virtual ST presence tag” app or a version of ST app that can be customized for each user.


(Ajf) #7

I removed the presence tags from my system, they just don’t work. They should take these back and give unhappy customers a refund, or swap them for something that does work like a switch or motion sensor.


(Mike) #8

Unfortunately I have to agree - my presence sensor experience has been horrible so far and mobile presence hasn’t helped either. I sat outside my garage in the car for minutes last night with two mobile phones and a presence sensor in the vehicle and finally had to manually enable the garage from the app.


(Chrisb) #9

I had some problems for a while with my presence sensors. But this seemed to be related my a bad Zigbee outlet. After taking that off my network performance has improved. It’s also important to note that they need a good connect to the hub. If you hub isn’t near a window/door you may not be “in range” until you are really, really close to the house.

I’ve got a SmartThings motion sensor plugged into my garage so that it operates as a Zigbee extender and helps get a good connection. Finally, based on a recommendation from support I moved my hub to a distance of about 5 feet from my wifi router. Wifi and Zigbee use the same range, so some distance helps the signals from competing.

After making these changes my tags have been quite reliable. I use them in my cars to automatically open/close my garage doors when I leave/come home.


(Mike) #10

I have an external z-wave power outlet in the garage (https://shop.smartthings.com/#/products/ge-outdoor-plug-in-module) and an GE z-wave outlet (https://shop.smartthings.com/#/products/ge-in-wall-on-slash-off-switch) by the backdoor (about 30 feet away) so I assume one or both of these is relaying the signal. Is this an incorrect assumption? I’m new to zigbee and z-wave. If the presence sensor needs to connect directly to the hub then I can understand why its problematic - that’s in my basement.


(Chrisb) #11

@zj4x4,

That is an incorrect assumption. Z-wave and Zigbee protocols are different. The presence sensors are Zigbee whiloe your outlets are z-wave. If your hub is in the basement that could be a problem. Do you have a SmartThings motions sensor? If you have one of these they act as a Zigbee repeater IF you have it plugged in. When running on batteries it does not act as a repeater.


(Ajf) #12

Just to clarify, my kit came with a Z-wave outlet. I believe they stopped including Zigbee outlets because of the problems it was causing/ I laso followed all of support’s recommendations:

Moved my hub away from router
Changed WiFi channel to 11
Increased the radius of my geo-fence

Now I did place an ST motion closer to the cars with the presence tags, but wasn’t aware of what chrisb said, that it needs to be plugged in rather than on batteries. So I’ll try that before I give up on them.


(Mike) #13

Thanks @chrisb, I didn’t realize the presence sensors used zigbee so that explains it. Now that I have a bunch of devices on the z-wave side of things I’m going to move the hub and see if that helps.


(Ajf) #14

Found a place closer to the cars where I can plug the motion sensor in and so far so good.
Very stable and accurate now.


(Mark T) #15

Thanks AJF for your original post here. All the tribal knowledge contributed here was very helpful. My question to all (and ST Support if they see this) is why are we only supplied with a short LAN cable with the hub when we are best keeping the hub 5ft or more from the router? Should at least supply us with a 6ft cable. And is there anything special about the cable they supplied or can I use any longer LAN cable to move my hub further away? The cable they supplied seemed to have special metal shields at each end so I wasn’t sure.

  • Mark

(Mark T) #16

Thanks AJF for your original post here. All the tribal knowledge contributed here was very helpful. My question to all (and ST Support if they see this) is why are we only supplied with a short LAN cable with the hub when we are best keeping the hub 5ft or more from the router? Should at least supply us with a 6ft cable. And is there anything special about the cable they supplied or can I use any longer LAN cable to move my hub further away? The cable they supplied seemed to have special metal shields at each end so I wasn’t sure.

  • Mark.