iBeacons+iOS+SmartThings (UK) presence [updated in 2023]

The trigger is whatever you want it to be. It’s the name that you give to the event when you create the Ifttt applet.

So when you create your applet in Ifttt, you are going to put in the name of that trigger.

And when you type in the webhook in some other app, you are going to include that exact same name in the webhook.

At the documentation link on the Ifttt page, it shows you exactly how to write the name of your webhook

Webhooks Integrations - Connect Your Apps with IFTTT

So if you name your event “arrives“ then you just replace {event} with arrives…

Webhooks Integrations - Connect Your Apps with IFTTT

They must match exactly. same capitalization, everything. Because when the webhook comes in, that’s how Ifttt will know which applet to run.

That’s all there is to it. Name the event, then put that exact event name into your webhook. :sunglasses:

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Also, I don’t know what you mean by “send on to smartthings”.

In the IFTTT applet, you use the webhooks service as the IF. You will use SmartThings as the THAT and turn on the switch part of your virtual presence sensor.

Smartthings never knows the name of your webhook and doesn’t care. All it knows is that it got a request from Ifttt to turn on a particular switch.

What happens on the SmartThings side when that switch comes on is totally up to whatever automations you’ve created in SmartThings.

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Hi guys, nice work btw!
So my case is a little bit rare i think, i live in the same building were i work, in different floors, so the ST geo presence don´t really know when me or my wife are at home/work because i´m in the same location range. I know now that the ST Arrival sensor dont work very well so i got into this “beacons” thing.
What i understood till now is that i must have a beacon at home to detect when my iPhone approach it (via BT) and then i must have an app to detect the beacon, so that app can communicate with IFTTT and IFTTT communicate with a virtual switch on my ST/Webcore. Did i get it right?
Thanks!

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Yes, that’s the method, except that it is the app on your iPhone that detects when it gets close to the iBeacon. Not the ibeacon detecting the phone. :sunglasses:

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Hum, so the app in my iPhone detects the ibeacon via BT, so i can solve my work/home problem?

Possibly, you can adjust the signal strength of the iBeacon so it’s down to 3 or 4 meters. How far apart are your home and office?

If you need an even smaller distance, you would probably have to go to an NFC tag.

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So my home is in the 17th floor and my office in the 1st. They are in the same GPS position but in different altitude. I really need something more reliable to work with. Something that detects me when i leave the elevator and open my home door. I was thinking about the Wifi conecting - that would be GREAT! But i think its impossible to config in iOS, only in Android. Not even with “Shortcuts”…
So do you think it works in my case? Thanks!

The following does not list specific support for Smartthings but it might be worth looking at.

Intellithings is an occupancy system based on short range sensors, it won’t detect you outside the home. So good for microlocation, but it won’t know you are “arriving” until you enter the first room. That will fit some “presence” use cases, but not others. It’s also quite expensive as it requires a minimum of two of its sensors for a detection event.

This has been an interesting discussion. The advice, analysis, and comment is very informative. I am going to try this myself. I would like to go a step further and add a beacon to the gate post to track people entering/leaving the driveway. Given it is outdoors, are there any rugged versions or other packages of interest?

Estimote beacons work well outdoors, they are primarily designed for commercial use by shopping centers, sports stadiums, etc. so as long as they are in a semi sheltered location, they are usually fine. :cloud_with_rain::sun_with_face:

image

If it’s for a gate post, you might need to place it inside a plastic box or beneath a plastic shelf.

I’m sure there will be other similar brands in the UK, I’m just not sure what they are.

PROBLEM WITH GEOFENCY
Very interesting discussions here :slight_smile: I have been trying to use Geofency with Webhooks to detect door approach and who is in the car. Geofency seems to work for almost a day, and then i get stuck. I have to reset alle the app permissions to get it going again. I have approached Geofency, but now answer so far. Anyone else having the same experiency? Any good options to Geofency?

I use geofency and have not had those issues.

I know there were some problems with background tracking in IOS 13, here is the fix for those:

I don’t know if the problems persisted with IOS 14. Not very many people have reported them publicly since May.

The geofency developer put out a new update a few days ago. I would try updating both iOS and app and if you still have the issue, try the fix above.

Most of the iBeacon apps had this same issue with background processing in iOS 13 and suggested the same fix.

Thank you so much for the update and the tick :slight_smile: I am running latest version of iOS and the app. I also experienced myself that resetting the app priveliges helped - but only for a short day or so. I will try rest of the trick as well. For me it does not only apply to background updates. Even if I open the app, the beacon status is not updated.

Good that is working well for you still :slight_smile:

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2021 Update

Estimote now only sells their IBeacons for large bulk orders. However, you can use any iBeacon that meets the Apple standard for the process described above.

Bluecharm is a popular brand for retail sales. They don’t have a full programming platform like estimote does, but they’ll still work with A standard Ibeacon reader. They have both indoor and outdoor models, so check the product descriptions to make sure you’re getting what you need.

US indoor:

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Charm-Beacons-Bluetooth-BC011-MultiBeacon/dp/B085XN9B7N/

I know they also sell in the UK, but I don’t have a link for a supplier.

If you’re looking for either a USB plug-in IBeacon or you are OK with the battery powered IBeacon where you can’t replace the battery, then radius networks is a well-known reliable manufacturer. You can find their products at Amazon or on their own site. They even have a wearable with a wristband. :sunglasses: I have used some of theirs in the past and liked everything except the fact that the battery is not replaceable. They also have a USB plug-in model.

US Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Radius-Networks-RadBeacon-Dot-Technology/dp/B00JJ4P864/
.

https://www.amazon.com/RadBeacon-USB-Proximity-Eddystone-Technology/dp/B00JI69JZY/

The radius network platform is now called “flybuy“ so the following is the manufacturer site. Contact them for UK shipping.

DFRobot also has one which is available from Mouser in either the US or the UK, but I don’t know anything about that one.

https://www.mouser.co.uk/new/dfrobot/dfrobot-ibeacon-ble-modules/

Also, as I’ve mentioned before I don’t usually shop at eBay, but it is pretty easy to find estimote beacons on eBay for shipment to both the US and the UK.

Remember when looking at individual models that the Eddystone protocol was discontinued by Google, so don’t get one that only does that. It’s OK if it does Eddystone and the apple standard as long as the reviews indicate that it works well for the Apple standard.

@orangebucket

Since fewer and fewer people are using Ifttt these days, and Webcore is no longer available, is there a process for receiving a Webhook directly into the new smartthings architecture?

@joshua_lyon

Can SharpTools receive a standard Webhook as a trigger and does that require the paid subscription?

Thanks!

Yes, you can use an HTTP Trigger in a SharpTools.io rule to react to a web request.

And yes, it is part of the premium tier.

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Well obviously SmartThings has a very capable API that allows you to do useful things like: execute capability commands on devices; create events (i.e. set attributes) on virtual devices; and execute scenes and rules. That does require a reasonably capable client end to allow method selection and the transmission of a JSON body and an Authentication header. So you aren’t going to get away with a GET with just some obfuscation in the query string for security.

In webCoRE you could use a Webhook in itself as a trigger condition in a piston. It was nominally intended for use with IFTTT but anything that did the same thing would do. I am not aware of any direct equivalent to that in SmartThings.

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Thanks. So that means there would still be a need for an external intermediary to receive the webhook, and then send a request over to Smartthings to do something, probably change the state on a virtual device.

At the time of this writing (summer 2023) some of the possible options for that would be:

  1. IFTTT. Still works as described upthread, but I have my concerns that the company is on a trajectory to either go out of business or start charging a lot more.

  2. SharpTools with paid subscription. This is probably the easiest way to set this up these days and the one most likely to continue to work at least for a while. Like Ifttt, this does not require a SmartThings/Aeotec hub. SharpTools is a very popular third-party rules engine with a nice UI and an active user community. The subscription for the pro level is about $30/year. They have a free trial so you can check it out and see if you feel it would be worth it to you. It’s also very good for generating custom dashboards that run in pretty much any web browser.

Note that SharpTools is NOT at this time able to receive the messages from the IBeacon. So you still need a separate third-party app like Geofency to do that. Then you have the receiving station app send out a Webhook to sharptools.

  1. use an MQTT broker with a device that can detect IBeacons. This will be a good choice for people already using MQTT, but probably overkill otherwise. This will require that you have a SmartThings/Aeotec hub.

  2. get a hubitat hub and use Webcore over there, combined with one of the community integrations to connect smartthings with hubitat. Again, this choice would make the most sense for someone already using that particular integration. This option would also require a SmartThings/Aeotec hub.

  3. write your own custom smartapp and host it yourself (either on your own server device, or in a cloud service, like AWS). This is doable, and would not require a SmartThings/Aeotec hub, but does require programming skills.

——

Summary: for 2023, unless you are a programmer I would recommend using Geofency and the paid tier of Sharptools in combination to allow for using IBeacons as triggers for smartthings. Both of these are available for both the UK and the US. That does require paying for the subscriptions of two third-party apps, and it is some work to set up, but you don’t have to be a programmer, and it does allow you to create a small zone for presence detection.

This can be set up in one of two ways.

A) if each person you want to detect has a smart phone and is OK with you putting an app on it, you can put geofency on each phone and have each phone send a unique Webhook to Sharptools. Then you only need one IBeacon at home. It’s the Geofency app on each phone that will give you the person-specific information.

B) if you want to be able to trigger based on the arrival of people who don’t have smart phones, or who don’t want you to put an app on their smart phone, you can give each one an Ibeacon and have an old iPad or iPhone at home that is always plugged in running Geofency. That way it can send a different webhook for each of the beacons. This has a higher device cost than method a since you need both a receiving station Device and Multiple IBeacons, but it does solve the problem of wanting to just give each person a key fob device rather than installing something on multiple smartphones.

As I’ve mentioned, my own use case is that I want to detect my presence only when I am on the wheelchair ramp that leads to my front door. Not when I’m still out on the sidewalk in front of the house. So it’s worth the extra app subscription money to me.

If you’re just looking for a reliable presence detection method and you’re OK with a wider zone, see the following thread. This covers other methods, such as detecting when a specific phone has connected to the home Wi-Fi. :thinking:

Presence in 2023, including multiple members and multiple locations

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To @orangebucket’s point, you could use the SmartThings REST API directly. Probably an OK approach for someone a bit more technical who has dealt with APIs before as you’ll need some knowledge of how to properly format the payload, set headers, etc.

The other options are probably better if you’re looking for something straightforward and easier to maintain.

And of course I’m a bit biased on the SharpTools side of things, but as you noted you’re also getting a powerful Rule Engine (and dashboards) with the premium tier as well. And let’s be real, if you’re spending $20 a pop on BLE trackers or other smart devices, $2.50/mo is dirt cheap in comparison.

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