iBeacon Support

(Vincent Colombo) #1

I was wondering if there are any plans to add iBeacon support to the SmartThings iOS app? I believe the SmartThings hub did not end up including Bluetooth, so it won’t be able to act as an iBeacon itself, but I’d like to set up a RaspberryPi as an iBeacon and have the SmartThings app use it for better location detection. Right now when I walk to the store near my house (or anywhere within a few blocks) my doors lock and unlock periodically (fortunately I currently have non-electronic deadbolts that stay locked). With iBeacon support the location detection should get significantly better and hopefully only unlock my house when I’m actually at the house.


(Jeff DeWolfe) #2

I believe @urman was trying to get his hands on one to test it out with SmartThings.

(Andrew Urman) #3

I was, but priorities got in the way. We have some estimotes coming soon.

I initially took a look with a dev board before the iBeacon spec was fully released. We were able to get general signal strength and determine distance, but we stopped there.

(Jeff DeWolfe) #4

Thanks for the update! Does anyone have any clue on how much they will cost?

(Vincent Colombo) #5

You can build your own iBeacon, I don’t know that Apple is actually going to sell hardware iBeacons. If anything, I would suspect they’ll just add the functionality to their existing line of Airport devices, and perhaps even the Apple TV since that has Bluetooth built in. I’m sure it won’t be long until someone comes out with an application that allows your Mac (or any computer with Bluetooth 4) to act as an iBeacon.

If you’re interested in playing around with it and have a Raspberry Pi, you can check out this Adafruit article: http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2013/12/04/introducing-the-adafruit-pibeacon/


(Jeff DeWolfe) #6

Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. I don’t currently own a Raspberry Pi, but have always been interested in getting one. Maybe this will convince me.

(Florian Z) #7

Estimotes are $99 for a 3-pack: http://estimote.com/

(Vincent Colombo) #8

Thanks, I hadn’t heard of Estimotes. Seems like an easy, relatively affordable way to get started with iBeacon functionality.

(Florian Z) #9

Yes, totally. In fact, you might be able to get started without SmartThing’s help. You’d have to write a little iOS app, which uses the BLE beacon API to forward the necessary information to a virtual presence device, which you would have to implement the handler for.

Granted, that’s a little bit awkward, and it would be much better if the ST iOS app would directly give you the option of using BLE beacon(s) in addition to presence detection by geofence.

(Daniel Consuegra) #10

Hey all! Any news or updates on this? (I haven’t checked other possible threads I admit it)

(Tim Slagle) #11


How’s your ibeacon work going?:slight_smile:

P.s. Hope your move the the “best coast” is going well.

(Andrew Urman) #12

I actually am not sure. It’s a project we’ve been toying with, but ultimately it will come to fruition with Hub V2 and its addition of bluetooth.

(Tim Slagle) #13

@urman Had a feeling you’d say that. So is Bluetooth required for this to work? Just now started reading about ibeacon but my understanding is most of the “processing” is done on the phone? In that case would a cloud to cloud solution work? Is your plan to have the hub actually act as the beacon, or would it actually communicate with the other beacons?

I’ve been toying with getting a couple Ibeacons and using them to turn on virtual switches to let STs know what floor I’m on and have lights behave differently depending on what floor I’m on.

I have a proof of comcept app that is working(ish) but I have to clean up some of the logic.

Basically the app controls the lights. But checks for a virtual switch to be on every once in a while. The app has a “present” and “not present” variable and when not present the light turns off after a specific time. If “present” then it will keep the light on. I do need to get some Ibeacons first. But my Mac has been my beacon so far and proof of concept works but need to test multiple beacons under one roof. My fear is the phone detecting multiple beacons at the same time.

(Andrew Urman) #14

The hub wont necessarily control the logic for the phones bluetooth, but overall bluetooth will edge its way into the platform once Hub v2 gets closer. Will probably launch as a side feature in the app with/around Hub v2

(Tim Slagle) #15

That’s what I thought. So info understand correctly the philosophy is, why release ibeacon support without Bluetooth support system wide?

(Andrew Urman) #16

na, just that we’re evaluating bluetooth as a whole. As our knowledge of BLE grows with Hub V2, it will grow with iBeacon support. If we have iBeacon support in the app done before Hub V2 we’re not going to wait to release it or anything.

(Tim Slagle) #17

Awesome! I like when a company “knows their limits”. You’re still learning the new tech and your ok admitting you need time to make sure it will actually work the way I, the consumer, wants it to work. I am totally ok with that and appreciate it in most cases.

Thanks for the update sir!

(Jeff Tremble) #18

I know you all are working on it inhouse but this may be helpful, this is more for office use but it does what @tslagle13 is working on to some level. https://robinpowered.com/apps

(Tim Slagle) #19

super expensive though :frowning:

(Zach Dunn) #20

(Thanks @jefft24 for link)

@tslagle13 – If you’re building custom stuff, I think you might be able to tie our API’s (they are free with all level accounts) to Smart Things. You can do stuff like ask rooms who is in them. Sample presence response:

Happy to get you access/help if you’re interested. zach [at] robinpowered.com