Improving ST presence detection reliability?

I’ve been having some reliability issues with my presence detection automations for a while now. Currently I am testing the following process to try to improve this:

  • Setup a simple Alexa routine to turn on/off a virtual switch (based on its awareness of my location)

The ST automations will check for the native presence sensor as well as the virtual switch. If either one is activated, the automation will run. This works on both exit and enter the geo zone. So far so good. I am using just a single android device for the sensor so it’s possible that could be a single point a failure.

Any thoughts on other ways to help with the reliability of this?

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Only to make sure that the ST automation is only acting on the state of the presence sensor that has changed. It is all very well the automation being triggered by changes to either the native presence or Alexa, but if it then goes on to use the current state of both sensors you haven’t gained anything as even when everything is working well they will disagree on half the automations.

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I just want to add to my above post while allowing other users the chance to address it as is.

I have been experimenting with Google Home/Away to support ST using multiple phones. On the whole ST is actually pretty solid with my home presence, but less so with ‘linked places’. In comparison Google has been pretty solid with home departure, though with a minute or two delay. However on home arrival I have seen events timed to the same minute, events delayed by a few minutes, and events not happening at all until the Google Home app has been opened, or even at all.

What I don’t see is false events unless I trigger them manually for test purposes. So the best I can do is act on the last change from either sensor.

It does depend on your requirements though and what reliability means to you. Two sources might improve your confidence if they agree and it might be that you are looking for.

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Thanks for the reply and info. It’s early going to see if this makes an overall improvement for me. The way it’s setup now it only needs one of the systems to register in order to trigger. I’m hoping that a dual failure would be less likely. But then again, the single phone might be the cause. I noticed on at least one occasion, restarting my phone fixed the ST issue. Time will tell.

I think if there is a lesson to be learned about ‘presence’ it is that it can be a very individual thing and we should always be prepared to craft our own solutions. We can always draw inspiration from others, but I would be very wary of using another person’s solution.

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As @orangebucket said, presence in smartthings has just turned out to be one of those things where one method works well for some people but not at all for others. A lot of it is just trial and error until you figure out what works for you.

Recently quite a few people had problems with St presence on iPhones but the same iPhone would work fine for presence in HomeKit. So one option then was to use an inexpensive Meross smart plug as a proxy for presence and turn it on from HomeKit. Smartthings was very reliable in seeing the plug turn on even when it wasn’t reliable for presence.

Over the six years that I’ve been using smartthings I’ve seen people use many different third-party solutions, from Life360 to the Alexa app, to IBeacons. People who have a Wi-Fi router which can detect when a specific device joins sometimes use that. There are just lots of different methods.

So it all comes down to finding the one that works for you with your phone at your house.

It’s been somewhat ironic in that I originally chose smartthings as my home automation platform because I wanted Geopresence, and then I ended up using a third party solution for that. But so it goes. :thinking:

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