Ideas/suggestions for presence detection?

I’ve been having a real issue as of late with presence detection on my wife’s phone. We’ve tried using the native smartthings phone presence sensor and Life360 as a presence sensors and both are failing regularly, but only on my wife’s Galaxy S7.

We rely on presence detection quite a bit because she has an irregular schedule and works nights. Does anyone have any clever ways to do presence detection with having a phone as the device? With all the inconsistencies lately, I’m starting to lose the Wife Approval Factor with my home automatons, which is not a good thing. Haha

I use a handful of routines for my schedule since I’m working a 9 to 5 job, but with her being in school and working nights, there is a lot of coming and going on her part, which is resulting in lights staying on all day, not coming on at all, garage doors going haywire, and intrusion notifications all over the place.

Any help or idea would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

The following might give you some ideas. It covers a couple of other methods.

Since life 360 has also been failing you, it sounds like there may be cell tower issues in your neighborhood, so you might want to look at some of the Wi-Fi options. Or it might be settings on her phone, but hopefully someone with the same model will have some ideas on that.

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Would she be willing to consider the presence sensor keyfob? They’re pretty small.

This has been a known issue with Samsung phones. I have had almost all of the high end Samsung phones going all they way back to the Vibrant back in 2010 and have always had an issue with the location services being turned off.

I have also test various LG, HTC and Iphone’s and never had as many issues related to location as I have with Samsung. The August Lock is almost worthless with my Samsung, I had to move an access point near the front of the house so that when I connect to the wifi it then unlocks the door and even that is not very reliable. Samsung needs to stop killing the location so often, other makers do not have the same problem in my opinion.

Here is an post from a while back that gives a bit of an explination and it has not gotten any better.


It is possible her S7 is putting the Life360 and Smart things app to sleep with a feature in Android called Doze that has been out since Marshmallow (version 6.0). I would recommend going into the battery settings in the phone and tell it to never optimize either app.l and that should fix your issues.

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I’ve read through this post a few times and tried quite a few things here. Problem is that most of them are phone based and that’s where my problem is. I was trying to think outside of the box in terms of presence detection… maybe not so much based on geofencing, but maybe a unique way to go about it with other sensors or something.

I’ve been thinking about the keyfob, but I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about them, in terms of them showing entering/leaving because they are not close enough to the ST hub. Our hub is close to the front of the house and near the driveway. I’d image that it would register when she came home, but might be out of range by the time she parked her car in the garage. I suppose I could look at putting a zigbee repeater in the garage.

This could be the case, but I’ve went in and updated the settings already to say not to optimize the ST app or Life360. When she first got her phone it seemed like there wasn’t an issue, then one day it just popped up. I suppose it could always be possible that there is another app that is causing the problem, but she really doesn’t download a lot of apps to her her phone.

As far as the phones go, some of the methods in the presence FAQ discuss detecting when the phone connects to your own Wi-Fi. That’s often more reliable than Geopresence that uses cell tower reporting. But it’s technically more complicated to set up. Again, several methods discussed in that thread.

The FAQ thread also links to topics which discuss other kinds of presence detection, including iBeacons.

You can’t just use Contact or motion sensors, because the sensors don’t know who is triggering them.

The zigbee presence fobs work well for some people, but not for others. This is usually a matter of local network interference from Wi-Fi networks. They’re worth a try as long as you buy them someplace that has a good returns policy.

There are also some options that use facial recognition, such as the netatmo cameras, but they’re expensive, most of them don’t work outdoors, and it’s still very new technology. But it is another option that will work for some people. :sunglasses:

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I agree with JD. Some people love them, others hate them. It all depends on your local network conditions. It works fine for me. Best bet is to have a strong zigbee mesh.


I’ve been working on an app that monitors your WiFi for presence. It seems to be working so I thought I would share.