Feature Request: Random Offset Time

I have a routine to turn my outside lights on 15 minutes before sunset and turn them off 15 minutes after sunrise. It is fairly well known that some criminals will determine if home automation is used based on when indoor and outdoor lights turn on, which can also indicate whether someone is actually home or not. I’d like to see an option to trigger at a random offset instead of a defined number of minutes. Perhaps select X number of minutes and the routine will randomly decide an offset X minutes before or after. (15 minutes would result in a 30 minute window for selection.)

Randomness is already built into into groovy. If you need an example look at the pollster smartapp.


I’m trying to envision the set of criminals who are wily enough to identify targets based upon observing behavior of presumably home-automation driven night-time activation but dumb enough not to consider that the lights might just be triggered by an old-fashioned illumination sensor.

If it is consistent that there isn’t motion at the time the lights come on then it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe they are timed. It’s not just about outdoor lights. It’s also about indoor lights. I work from home and travel so I’d like to keep some semblance of someone being home even if they don’t see anybody coming or going. (Yes, I’m already using Out Of Town)

You may want to checkout this app:

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I think I tried that at one point. I don’t really want my outdoor lights randomly turning on and off though. I just want them to come on within a time frame and then turn off within a time frame.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to make an addition to that list and implement it, especially considering at least a few apps already have some functionality that randomly chooses a time. A separate SmartApp shouldn’t be required for a simple addition.

I don’t think outdoor lights have much to do with criminal casing. It’s all too common for them to be timed and based on sunrise/sunset or something like that. It’s really indoor lights that will be the key and the Vacation Lighting Director is a great app for that.

Sadly your probability of being robbed at night is less than 10%.

90% of all robberies are during the day when they know that nobody is home.

When do most break-in occur?

Usually occur in the daytime when occupants are at school or work.
July and August most the frequent months for break-ins.
February is the least frequent for home breaks.
How are homes targeted?

Simple selection process
Choose an unoccupied home with easy access, the greatest amount of cover and the best escape routes.
Homeowners often make this selection process easy for thieves by failing to take simple precautions.

What would be cool is a “learning” function that watches the times you turn on and off lights during the past two weeks and then simply replays those events to give the perfect “i am home” schedule if you really want to have it look like you are home at night.

The learning function doesn’t always work. When I travel I usually travel for a month and then I’m home for a month. If it learns from my previous behavior, then my lights would rarely be on.

None of this really matters. It’s a feature request for something simple. I gave my reasoning for why I would like to have it. That doesn’t mean everyone else would use it or would use it for the same reason.

Haven’t you seen home alone?

What you want is completely possible, the functions required to make it happen already exist. You’re just going to have to code/fund it into existence.