Geofencing / GPS Services

I’m toying with a project currently around a full GPS Service with geofencing, sensors, notifications all the stuff that is available from the major Telematics systems that fleet companies use.

I’m thinking of making this a service and doing it fairly cheap compared to service offerings currently available. This is not specific to ST but it does have a full SDK/API and can easily send a HTTP POST which ST could consume.

The system would take GPS data from phone apps and from hardware. Updates/Ping times are up to the end-user since it’s your data fees. There would be a monthly fee per device but I’m looking to gather interest to see what that would be. The more users the cheaper the price as it gets spread out. I’m not looking to make huge gains off this so if I make 1-2 bucks so be it as long as it pays the back-end bill. As the cost will be low this is more of a DIY and support will be limited to forum/email.

Is there any interest for something like this in the ST community?

Its not clear to me what problem you’re solving here - perhaps tell people why they might need this/what it does for them.

It it purely to provide a location based notification solution, or something more? What level of up-time will you guarantee? People will, nomatter what you say, use such information to perform security-critical automations.

I suspect the only way to find out who is willing to pay for such a service is to build it and find out. So many people get (and expect) these services for free now, allowing the companies to use their data in exchange. Good luck.

You are correct about people wanting everything for “free” in exchange for their personal information that is then sold for millions. Unlike “free” services I’m not collecting/storing/selling data. I’m putting together a bare bones DIY service that has most of the features of the high end systems but at a fraction of the cost.

As for scalable and reliable it’s the same system that powers over 1 million location devices around the world today.

Uses range from basic presence of home/away through the use of a Geofence like people use Life360 for or other basic services. However as a full Telematics you can setup unlimited “Zones” or geofences and get notification based on enter/exit/time inside/time outside and how you receive notifications is up to the user whether it be e-mail, sms, Webhook (which can integrate to ST) or by almost anything else through the SDK or API integrations.

That’s just the basic example. Here’s a few things I use the system for with phones and vehicles for my whole family.

  1. Phone battery status -> notify if drops below a level, send message to charge phone (kids)
  2. Vehicle battery -> notify if vehicle battery drops -> maintenance issue and so I don’t wake up to a dead battery without a “heads-up” (old van that I know has issues)
  3. Multiple Zones setup for common locations, places, school, work, etc notify when people arrive/leave done through TTS notifications for some events of importance and simple device status on/off for most common things.
  4. Garage door opening. What good is a geofence if your garage door can’t be automated? Life360 updates are too unpredictable to be useful for actual rules/events.
  5. Same as item 4 except for security systems. I wouldn’t trust Life360 to arm/disarm an alarm system as it’s unpredictable about when it’s going to update.
  6. Traffic ticket validations. I get a ticket in the mail but who had the car that night? I can find that out. Did this just last week.
  7. Vehicle Trouble Codes. Get notifications about trouble codes and run an event against them.
  8. Sensors that can be connected to get cabin information.
  9. Cabin audio if desired
  10. Dashcam support for inside or outside or both. Can be used to follow tracks within the system and replay the video so you can see the exact map location and video correlation.
  11. Vehicle Control. Some devices support inputs and can communicate with the onboard ECU. These devices are expensive. However this is adding things like remote lock/unlock/start/stop/engine-kill

I suppose if you have no experience with Vehicle Telematics a lot of this would be “new” and strange and questions around why I would want this. Same questions around Smart Home’s to those that aren’t doing it. Vehicle Telematics brings Smart’s to vehicles and has been doing it for years before the trendy IoT naming. This is the type of stuff that’s normally only found in large fleet tracking or emergency response vehicles or service companies performing dispatch for (delivery jobs, taxi, buses)

Well after reading through I’m not sure how much could be integrated/used with ST it would take someone else that knows ST development far better than I do to answer that. So this may be a limited option for ST. Which would also explain why the limited interest from ST and Hubitat users. Afterall Life360 is free with limited place support and provides the basic presence function.

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Thanks for putting the effort into putting that together - I’m sure it gives people a much better idea as to whether this is something they’d be willing to pay for.

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The basics is think of Life360 on steroids and crack!

I used Life360 and at first it was great. I liked it so much that I wrote a Plugin for it (on a different system)… well multiple systems to be honest.

What I found in daily/actual use was that it was not reliable. The problem was a two-fold issue.

The Mobile App was not consistent in how/when it updated the server. This is fine for general/normal users who use it for social aspects. Which I think is why it’s in the “Social” category in the ST market :slight_smile: But this was terrible for using with rules/events as I didn’t know when the update would happen. So basically sometimes the garage door would open… and sometimes it wouldn’t… and that led to a very very bad WAF… This was also problematic of trying to do other automation around lights and thermostats and just basic presence was not reliable.

So I started looking to more “real” GPS based solutions. What I found is features/functions they are great and reliable and expensive. So I made it a mission to make a “service” that had features galore, reliability and cost effective.

I’ve achieved 2/3 of the mission. The reality is this service costs money to run and since I don’t want to be archiving and selling user information ala google/amazon/life360 then the service must have a cost associated to it. What I’m trying to do is some basic market research and see if there’s interest. I’m checking here and with other communities as well. If there is a market with lots of interest then I can “spread the load” and make it really cheap. If there’s limited/no interest then it will either be really expensive and nobody will want it and I just won’t release it to others.

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Not much response so far. I still think you’re best bet would be to release it free to people as a beta, with the clear message that it will be a charged-for service beyond the beta. I doubt you’ll get (m)any people signing up form something they haven’t/can’t try.

Oh I guess I forgot to mention that. The Alpha is live and running. All people have to do is ask and I can provide access to the system.

If they have hardware devices (OBD Trackers or Hardwired or Battery) I can help with setup or if they want a simple “test run” they can install the Mobile Tracker/Tag app and use their phones as the “Tracker Unit” and there’s a mobile app for viewing the map if they want. The main usage is through the full Web Interface and then the API or Notification system for integrations.

I’m interested. I’ve been using life360 with ST and playing around with webcore.

The battery draw on phone has been the issue using life360. What is this battery draw?

Let me know more about alpha and integration into my ST. Thanks

Integration into ST: None currently. The system can send Notification via an HTTP POST/GET, SMS or E-Mail or you can use the SDK or API for a custom solution.

Battery Usage: Depends on you. How fast do you want it to update and send location data. There are three presets of Active, Standard, Lite and you can create your own configuration.

Send me a private message with what you want your username to be and I"ll reply back with install/configuration information.