Mobile Presence and iBeacon (discussion beginning 2015)

Gotcha further study is needed lol

Thanks man

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Is anyone using Beecon+ on iPhone and got it working when iPhone is locked or the app is not open? It works perfectly fine when app/phone is open but as soon as i lock the phone nothing until i open it up. i have the “Allow monitor when the app is closed” option checked but it doesn’t seem to work. Im using a Radius MacBeacon on my mac if that could be a problem??

Mine works fine with estimote beacons and an iPhone 7. I would get in touch with the customer support at Beaconsandwich, I have found them really helpful. :sunglasses:

Thanks @JDRoberts. I did try to find their CS contact earlier but on their site they don’t have any details. What is their email address/community for support?

@JDRoberts I have been meaning to ask you, which estimotes do you use? The proximity or the location?

I haven’t made the investment yet but just starting testing beacons (using old iPhones setup as transmitters) with Beecon+.

I use the original ones, which are now called “proximity.” I’m not trying to do any triangulation, which is usually when you need to shift to the “location” line.

Wow, this is disappointing:

Unfortunately, the Zendesk support channel has been discontinued and the Twitter account is no longer in use.

I’m not sure what to say about that. :scream: I haven’t had to contact their support for about a year and apparently they removed everything but the FAQ in that time.

Maybe the developer has moved on to other projects.

So I am clearly late to the game and this is more of a “how to use” beecon+ than an ST comment.

My issue with Beecon+ is the rate at which my device will ‘believe’ I left a region.

For instance, I set an estimate 8’ from my phone at night with no walls in between. Incidentally, I have 3 other estimates in the house.

During the night I was told I left the region for an hour. Thereby triggering the Virtual presence switch through the IFTTT recipe.

Where I get confused is on the delay before action. I read (from the Beacon+ FAQ) that you do not want to delay an action, such as exiting a region, because it may cause issues when the iOS device is locked. I think this is what causes the exiting of the region in the middle of the night.

So my question is this… Can I delay the Virtual presence sensor switch natively in ST? This way my VP Switch can sort of false trigger itself.

Alternatively, is there an iOS app that does what beacon+ does but better?


I’ve got a Raspberry Pi 3 with Bluetooth integrated, and I’m supposed to be getting in the mail a RPi Zero W (bluetooth there as well…)

Is there any way I (we!) could set the thing up as a Bluetooth RADAR of sorts and have it send a REST command to ST based on what phone arrives?

I’ve tried many forms of presence detection but they all seem to fail for a reason or other…

I live in a 6th floor… and therefore I can’t use the built in presence in the app. I’m currently using a combo of IFTTT and wifi detection, but it’s often laggy, especially on my wife’s phone.

I also have 3rd parties come into my house (cleaning, other family) and I don’t want to have to install x apps in their devices… So I thought about the raspberry + bluetooth + radar approach…

In my head it works… I am no programmer but I’m sure you guys can figure that one out!.. Right?

(just thinking outloud here…

Nothing? No ideas here? :disappointed:

I may have found part of the answer by accident…

Now we would only need to be able to tell ST about the newly arrived/departed bluetooth device

So that would work… you just need to add a post request (For example the 2nd answer has the basic script to do this, you’d just need to add in the ST URL which will include the appID and token and set it to post the name or the MAC … however this will be dependent on the phone retaining a bluetooth connection constantly… considering the range will likely cover 1 room and not much more and also this will likely severely impact battery life

so I think it’s possible, just likely to not to deliver the experience you are expecting… I think this would probably be better with bluetooth low energy devices

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Has anyone looked at Google Nearby? I came across this youtube and it talks about nearby and beacons. It looks like it may have potential with Smartthings. The scenario I was thinking about was for the kitchen. What if a beacon is placed in the kitchen and the nearby turns on the kitchen lights when the nearby app shows up. I’m not a developer so I don’t know if I am way off base on this.

It could be used, but most people wouldn’t use it in a single-family home because it would be easier just to use the regular ibeacon/eddystone methods. Nearby is really intended for stores doing advertising. Since it only sends URLs, you would have to do some tricks to get anything to happen in smartthings.

Yes, it only works on Android
Yes, it does support iBeacon
Yes, it only sends URLs (HTTPS to be exact!)
No, links to are not supported (use Intents instead)
No, it doesn’t support data tracking*

If you read the rest of this thread, you’ll see that you can already do the “pass the IBeacon, turn on the Kitchen lights” scenario with other methods. ( although to be honest, unless you only want the lights to turn on for a particular person, a motion sensor will probably work much better for that use case in a SmartThings context.)

Thanks. That gives me a better understanding. It does sound like its more for business.

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2019 update: several community members now report good luck with a newer iOS app, “geofency”

It’s intended for businesses that want to automatically check trucks or employees in an out, but it can work well for this kind of IOT use case as well. :sunglasses:

Hey JD, I’ve been mulling an idea to build a “beacon gateway” little piece of hardware that would scan for known beacons and then send out a user-defined webhook when one of those beacons goes into range or out of range (with RSSI threshold also customizable by the user).

The core idea is to remove the scanning work from buggy smartphones/apps, then use webhooks to bring the trigger event back to the smartphone and/or app and/or home automation system.

I’ve read a number of your very informative posts here about beacons, so thought I would run this idea by you for your input. If you would prefer, you can DM me to discuss more. Thanks!

There used to be a device exactly like that that was used for gate openers, I don’t remember the brand, though. :thinking:

Anyway, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work. These days, I use the Geofency app on a tablet which is also used as a dashboard, and I’ve been happy with that.

But lots of people do write their own “receiving station“ software, sometimes running on a raspberry pi, so I don’t see any reason not to do that if you want to. :sunglasses:

Can I ask if you’re associated with the blue charm IBeacon company? Or is the name just a coincidence?

Yes, I’m Thomas from Blue Charm Beacons.

Thanks for the input on the beacon gateway idea!

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You might find this article and the references it links to helpful as well. This is a UK site, so the specific ibeacons they link to are limited to those available in the UK, but the receiving station discussions are relevant to all regions.

Thanks for the link. As always, has great content!

By coincidence, I already own a copy of the second book on his list, Rasberry Pi IoT project by John Shovic. The author uses my beacons for all of his project examples involving beacons. Whenever anyone asks me about rPi and beacons, I recommend that one.

For my project/product, I will probably focus on the esp32 rather than the rPi. rPi is a bit too expensive I think for the idea I have in mind: I’d like to keep the price of the esp32 scanner/gateway down as low as possible so that people could potentially afford to put one in each room of their house. Hopefully US$29 or so.

Side note: I am trying out another app that you recommended in an old thread a few years back: myHome for Home Automation. I discovered there is a slight bug on the beacon portion of the app, but the developer said he will fix it after xmas. First impression, the app looks quite interesting for working with beacons and automation. Geofence works ok too, but the lag in reaction time to entering or exiting a beacon zone is a little slow for me. Can’t really blame the app for that though, since the big limitation is the iOS system and how it allocates resources to various apps.