The simplest way is to find a Beacon receiving app which can send a “webhook“ (HTTP post) and use that as the “if“ in an IFTTT applet. Then you can use smartthings as the “that“ for the Ifttt applet and you’re all set. most typically you would turn on a virtual presence sensor using this method, but you can also control devices directly if you prefer.
Once you have that, it works like any other presence in smartthings.
None of this will require programming, but the onetime setup can be a little tedious.
So let’s start with the end goal: using the free Ifttt webhooks service.
It’s going to look crazy technical at first, but it’s a lot simpler than it seems.
You’re going to give each “if” that you want to use its own name. Ifttt calls this an “event.“For example, “mike_arrived”. This needs to be all lowercase, no special characters, and no spaces.
IFTTT Will also give you your own unique “key“ which you will use for this. It will be long and weird looking, something like “AFd36GMIwwSD3LK57x” only even longer. You can always look that up by going to the webhooks page at Ifttt and clicking on “documentation.”
(Note that the “ webhooks service” at Ifttt was originally called the “maker channel“ so if you look for examples and tutorials you may see it referred to as that.)
In order to use the key, you’re going to have some other application link to Ifttt using your key and the event name of the if that you want to trigger. This is called a “webhook” using the HTTP “post” process.
Again, if you go to that documentation page, it will show you the format of that link, but it’s going to look like this,
So in our example it would look like
Using the webhook
OK, now we know exactly what we want to do. When an Ibeacon is detected, we want an app that will use that specific webhook so that IFTTT Will run our applet.
Sounds simple, right? And if you write your own mobile app code, it is. But if you don’t, you have to find one that will let you do that.
The problem is that that’s not how most people use IBeacons. Most of the people using Ibeacons are using them for commercial purposes and they want the ibeacon to trigger their own app. Not just pass it along as a webhook. So there just hasn’t been a lot of demand for this use case. And it seems like every couple of years some one individual creates one for themselves, then offers it for sale through the App Store, but doesn’t bother to keep it up-to-date and so after another couple of iterations of iOS it doesn’t work anymore. (RIP Beecon+ and BeaconThings. )
I’m now going to list a couple of the apps that I use that are working as of February 2020 in the US. I don’t know whether they are available in the UK or not. Or if there are other UK alternatives, but that’s what you were looking for. An app that can detect an Ibeacon and then do an HTTP post webhook.
Also, check carefully as there are two very useful ibeacon features that many apps ignore. (Again, I miss beecon+ , which was perfect for home automation, but no longer runs.)
First, An iOS Ibeacon has three identifying codes:
These were intended to delineate zones. So you might have all the IB can set your house have the same UUID, then use the Major to indicate a room and the Minor to indicate a specific Ibeacon.
Which sounds great, but unfortunately many apps only use the UUID. Which won’t be enough to cover an entire house. It’s just something to be aware of in your planning.
Second, the iBeacon spec allows for I beacons to transmit at three different strength levels, which they call “immediate“ (detectable within a couple of centimeters), “near“ (detectable up to around 3 m) and “far“ which is the maximum transmission strength and will be detectable up to around 30 m, although it may be less depending on architectural barriers.
Beecon+ let you sit different rules for these different ranges, which was really nice. But most of the other apps just use the maximum, you either detect the I beacon or you don’t. You may be able to use the device manufacturer’s app to lower the transmission strength of an individual IBeacon so you won’t detect it until you’re much closer to it, but that’s not as flexible.
Anyway, just be aware of that as you work with any one app. Even if it lets you enter the major and minor, it may not use them.
Also, license fees can be relatively high for these apps because again, they are usually end at businesses, not individuals. Some of them have fees as high as 25 € a year. Some have a one time license fee of around €30. There’s just a lot of variation In The pricing models.
Pushcut was only released in 2019 and is the work of one person. It will detect ibeacons and do webhooks.
It’s really designed to do fancy notifications, the kind where the notification pops up but you get to choose from several selections before an action takes place. But you can also create a “local” Event which will do the webhook without requiring you to tap a notification. It ignores the major and minor and only uses the maximum range. And it will make you type in the whole UUID and the whole webhook, which is tedious.
I actually use it more for the notification feature, but it does work with IBeacons.
My biggest concern with this is that I fear it may be like BeaconThings and the developer may just move onto other things in the future and stop supporting it. Which means the app would continue to run until there was some required iOS update and then it might just not work anymore.
It has a nice watch app and some HomeKit integration options if you are on one of the paid tiers. I paid for the annual subscription, but, like I said, I don’t have high confidence that this will still be around in two years, although you never know.
This app is used for by businesses to keep track of employees and shipments. It’s an automatic time clock using IBeacons. It will discover nearby Ibeacons so you don’t have to type in the UUID, it already fills it in for you. And it can do a webhook when you enter or leave the range of an ibeacon.
The license fee is very reasonable.
I’m pretty sure this is also a one person operation, but it’s been going for about five years, it gets updated regularly, and I have a little more confidence that it will be around for a while, although you never know.
I like this and use it for my IBeacons. There are also quite a few people who are using it with home assistant and openhab and homeseer in the same manner.
The author is German and I’ve heard the app featured on both UK and German podcasts so I believe it is available in the UK App Store.