Geofencing Mode Changes

I use about 4-5 different location modes in ST (Home, away, babysitting, dogsitting, etc.). and have certain routines/automations either run, or not run depending on the mode. My question is, why can’t I simply write an automatic routine that changes the home/away modes based on my phone, and my spouses phone? No matter how I write the automation routine, the location mode automations just don’t work. The location modes won’t change, no matter how I configure the routines/automations.

However, if I create 5 virtual switches with each switch representing each location mode, my geofencing will reliably turn on/off my home and away virtual switches. My work around is to then have corresponding actions activate to accomplish what I want to have happen as far as connected devices, and also keeping the virtual switches “in parallel” with the location modes.

This just seems like such a hassle I’ve had to work around for something that you’d think would be elementary in ST, i.e., your lights to turn off, alarm activate, and doors lock and stuff like that when you’ go into away mode, and some lights to come on or whatever when you switch to home mode. My work around works, but for newer users it sure seems like this could be set up better!

Something I would try would be to create a virtual presence sensor for each of you and have Routines set your virtual presence based on member location. Then swap out member location in your Home/Away Routines for the virtual presence sensors. If this works, then you would not need virtual location mode devices.

If the above works, I would want to look at the way your Routines are set up when using actual member location to set your Location modes. Do each of you have separate ST accounts or are you using the same account on both phones?

I have seen the virtual presence buttons on some of the available trigger lists, but I admit, I would need to know more about how the presence is determined or established by ST (this info doesn’t seem to be available in the app, at least that I can find). I say this because if motion reported by a sensor could cause a mode change between away, to home, that would be a security concern as I do have my security system tied into the home/away modes.

I set up my wife as a separate user, so her device shows up in the account as an available trigger. (I don’t use my login on her phone.) I don’t recall if this means she has her own account or not, but I believe I have it set up correctly with myself as the admin. Its not a permissions or device issue, as the geofencing interfaces with ST ok. For whatever reason a basic routine of “whenever all members leave” or “any member arrives” will not change the routines. The only twist I use is a precondition of the opposite mode, so that away mode won’t run on date night with the babysitter in the house.

I created virtual presence sensors using the vEdge Creator Edge driver since I have a hub. Alternately, you can create a cloud based virtual presence sensor using the ST Advanced Web App. The virtual sensor doesn’t change on its own, you need Routines to sync them to your Member Location, so two Routines like:

If Member1 Arrives Home
Set Member1 Virtual Presence to Present


If Member1 Leaves Home
Set Member1 Virtual Presence to Not Present

then you have your Location mode Routines trigger off the virtual sensors instead of Member location like:

If Member1 Virtual Presence Not Present
Member2 Virtual Presence Not Present
Set Location Mode to Away

and of course you would adjust all your Location mode Routines accordingly.

I set it up this way after Life360 went away in ST and I wanted a way to decouple my presence states from the underlying tracking mechanism. That way I can change out the geo-tracking method without ever having to touch Routines that are triggered by presence. It also gives me a way to see that geo-tracking is working since I have devices I can put on the Favorites page that shows member presence state (which can’t be seen with just ST Member location geo-tracking).