BeaconThings - Beacons and SmartThings

Put an app on it. BeaconThings will work, but right now it only looks for one specific beacon ID. So you’d have to configure your beacon to broadcast that ID. Brice says above a future update will let us use our own IDs. Which is what I want because we use other apps with it that we have already set up.

You can have multiple receiving station apps on the same phone or tablet. I have 5 right now. :sunglasses: I like Beecon+ a lot, and it can use the Maker channel on IFTTT. But it doesn’t have a rules engine like oby’s. I also use the apps from Estimote, Geohopper, am testing BeaconThings, and another one.

I agree, this is a good idea, but this does bring up a good point that I want to be sure everyone is aware of:
An iBeacon can easily be cloned, since it is just like a lighthouse, constantly broadcasting 3 pieces of info: UUID, major, minor. Someone could detect what your beacon is broadcasting, then setup their own iBeacon to broadcast the same.

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Yep, we’re not using beacons alone for barrier control, just for touchless proximity switches like for lights and home theatre controls. We do combine beacons with geopresence like the ST fob or a phone for barrier control, just like we might use a contact sensor as a confirmation on the geopresence. And I’m still looking into stuff like Flic for convenience. It’s all about options. :sunglasses:

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Agree. Thats why I plan to use it along with other triggers (motion, presence, etc…).


You could effectively do both options:

First been with a stationary tablet (runnning BeaconThings) and each user thrn has an iBeacon… so when they arrive home the tablet detects there presence (more reliably than SmartThings presence) and that can operate mode changes and alarm systems based on who is present or away…

And then you can have different iBeacons set up elsewhere around the house on a lower power (only recognise close proximety presence) that react to your phone (also running BeaconThings)

That way your Tablet acts as a Hub for detection of people present in the house (using a certain set of mobile iBeacons), but then your phone and more precise located iBeacons can detect specific location of a user . . .

The best of both worlds :wink:

The only way you can improve on that is with the above mentioned idea . . . Been able to make different things happen from one iBeacon dependant on who’s phone (running BeaconThings) is within proximity of it . . .

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Yep, we do all of the above and more.

Like many people, we actually have more than one tablet dashboard in the house. I have one on my nightstand. So that one also detects the beacon on my wheelchair but triggers different events from the one in the entryway.

We also do have some stationary beacons around the house and receiving stations on the phones for some things.

And finally, we have the famous “beacon in a box.” :wink: go ahead and laugh, but it works!


I swear you need to do a house tour video for SmartThings @JDRoberts it sounds like Santas Grotto for a ST enthusiast :slight_smile: love it . . . Defo going to get on the iBeacon train this week

Then i will have two redundant SmartThings Presence Detectors… Any obscure use cases you can think of to utilise them JD haha

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I still use the smartthings presence fob, I just use it with the iBeacon so that when the fob decides to teleport on its own, it doesn’t affect any of the events at my house. The fob alone is unreliable for me, but isn’t easily spoofed. The iBeacon is much more reliable for me, but can be spoofed. Using both smooths out the bumps. :wink:


Argh good thinking… (YET AGAIN - surprise suprise haha) i like it :slight_smile:

so two presence devices per person (One ST tag & One iBeacon)

so for example arming the SmartAlarm and turning the home to away mode can only be activates if both devices show as away not one… meaning if one drops off the face of the earth for a second the other one covers its arse whilst it sorts itself out…

Its sad that we’d have to do that as it should just work right the first time, but great work around

Ps: Defo do a house tour video, your place sounds like an ST Palace, im working my arse off to catch up as im still fairly new (6months in) and have loads of ideas and products i need tonadd in, so its really inspiring mate… Honestly thanks

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Thanks for the shout, but I really don’t have that much stuff. There are a lot of community members who have much more sophisticated set ups than I do. I think it’s just that every one of my projects has been driven by a practical need because I’m in a wheelchair, and so it’s both something a little bit unusual relative to what other people do and it’s something where you can see the value of it because of my situation.

The houses I’d like to see video tours of are @mager @juano2310 and @ben . :wink: Those guys are pushing the boundaries!


@JDRoberts, I just moved so I’m gradually working in each room… so far I’ve only connected the living room but haven’t written any logic yet. I promise that when I get something going, I will volunteer my house :slight_smile:


Me too…

So all we need are beacons and the app?

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Yup, that’s about it (and SmartThings).

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I first read this as “BaconThings - Bacons and SmartThings”.

My first reaction -

While a SmartThings connected 3D bacon printer would’ve been great, I guess I will have to spend my money on some beacons and BeaconThings instead. This looks awesome!


So I am a little confused

I get one of these and put it in the house.

Then on my wife phone, my phone and my kids phones use the app to register each phone as a presence sensor, replacing the current presence sensor.

When the iphone is in range it talk to the Radius device and says I am here.

Am I missing something?

Yes, that is basically correct. The beacon is always broadcasting, and when the phone comes in range and “hears” it, the app sends a message to SmartThings letting it know. When the beacon goes out of range, the app sends another message to SmartThings.

The remaining issue is that multiple devices on one account may need an update to ensure it works as expected. We’ll be sure to test that thoroughly for version 1.2 (1.1 allows custom UUID and is already waiting for approval from Apple).

The one thing I would add is that the I beacon Has one more feature than using the regular GPS location on your phone, or using the SmartThings zigbee fob, because you can set the range to a very small area, anything from just a few inches up to about 30 feet.

You pick the range for each individual I beacon that you are using by changing its power setting for the identifier message that it sends out.

It’s not 100% Accurate, because the signal can get diminished by local materials, so if it’s sitting next to your refrigerator, for example, the signal might have a hard Time traveling past the refrigerator, so it wouldn’t go quite as far in that direction.

But one reason that we really like I beacons at our house is we want the “I’m home” to happen in a very specific area, right near our front door. Because I’m in a wheelchair, it can take the bus driver several minutes to get me unloaded from the bus. I don’t want all the “I’m home” events to start happening well I’m still out on the bus. I want them to wait until I’m near the front door. The IBeacon lets us shorten the range to do that.

Similarly, there’s no way to use either GPS or the smart things presence fob to do anything inside the house. Basically we’re either home or away as soon as we’re close to the house.

With the I Beacon, we could set the range to just a few inches if we want to use it as a proximity switch, or to a few feet if we want to catch someone walking into a room.

All of that said, it’s also important to understand that an iBeacon is not A position tracker. I can’t use it like Star Trek to say “computer where is JD?” And get an answer “in the kitchen.”

Instead, the receiving station (The phone or tablet) reports specific threshold events when it enters or leaves the set range of a specific IBeacon. That’s still very useful, and if you get really clever you can save that information and use it later, but you just need to understand that it’s a system for sending “JD just entered the area” and “JD just left the area” notifications. Then you use that information to trigger some other event using some other app.

If you’re the kind of person who literally always carries your phone with you, then you can set up detection areas all around the house and do all kinds of things. But if you sometimes leave your phone on the counter or if it’s sitting in it’s charging station, Then you can pass by 15 Ibeacons and they won’t register anything because your phone didn’t come into their range.

So that’s why there’s the second option, of having a wearable I Beecon on a wristband or a fob with a clip. The IBeacon itself probably only has to have batteries changed every few months. Maybe longer depending on the brand. Then you have receiving stations set up where you want to detect people entering the area. If you use dashboard tablets around the house, they can be the receiving stations. Or old phones. Anything that can detect I beacons and run the receiving station app.

The point is that whichever way you set it up, you can have a much smaller detection area then you can with the smartthings zigbee fob or with phone GPS. So it can fit a number of additional use cases.

One drawback is that I beacons work better with iOS devices then they do with android, and I’m not sure they work with windows phones at all. I beacons are detectable by android devices but there aren’t as many apps for android because of the way the detection is done. It’s just More efficient with iOS.

Google very recently introduced a new ibeacon standard called Eddystone which is supposed to help with this but deploying it is as yet a little complicated and the app we’ve been talking about in this thread, BeaconThings, does not work with it. If you have an iOS device and you’re shopping for ibeacons, just be aware that you do not want the Eddystone version.


I also just wanted to mention the technical note that the communication actually works the other way around. The IBeacon is always broadcasting a very short message, basically just its ID as a numeric code. So the I beacon is sending out a very short message “123D789” or whatever. Over and over every few seconds.

When your phone comes in The receiving station app on your phone detects the I beacons transmission, recognizes it by its numeric ID, and notes “I am now in range of I beacon 123D789.”

Then when you go out of range of the I Beacon, the receiving station app on your phone notes “I am now out of range of I beacon 123D789.”

That’s really all there is to it. What happens next depends on the receiving station app. Some receiving station apps can send text messages, some can use the maker channel on IFTTT, some can send post requests which then trigger events in other systems.

So it’s not that the Ibeacon knows a particular phone came in range. I beacons don’t detect phones. Receiving station apps on phones detect Ibeacons.

That’s why people like to use the lighthouse metaphor: A ship at sea sees the lighthouse beacon and knows that it has come close to the lighthouse. The lighthouse does not detect the ship. The ship figured out its own location based on being able to see the lighthouse. The lighthouse doesn’t do anything at all except stand there and send out its light, whether there are any ships nearby or not. That’s exactly how I beacons work. They just keep transmitting their own ID, over and over, whether there’s a receiving station nearby or not.

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Ok you convinced me.
I just bought a few of the beacons…:slight_smile:

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What’s that soap bar kind of thing in a bowl? :wink: