SmartThings Community

Nest away vs auto-away - is this in the API?


(Brian Smith) #1

@Dianoga (since you seem to be on top of this stuff)

Do the Nest APIs allow you to set a Nest to Auto Away rather than Away? If we can only go to Away, then schedules don’t kick in and we don’t get to take advantage of Early On after it learns Time to Temp.


Nest Home/away mode
(Brian Smith) #2

Nuts… After reading the API docs, it looks like auto Away is not an option. That stinks.


(Brian Steere) #3

It looks like I might be able to set auto away once I get everything working with the official api.


(Brian Smith) #4

That would be awesome.


(Brian Steere) #5

The official API also introduces the idea of trips. So you can tell your house you’ll be home around 5:30 and it should get things ready for that.

I’m not sure how that will work yet within SmartThings, but the idea is good.


(Brian Smith) #6

Oh, that sounds interesting… Opens up a world of possibility.


(Brandon) #7

I’m just getting my SmartThings devices setup now and am using your (Dianoga) implementation to talk to my Nest. I was already utilizing the unofficial nest-api to implement a humidity setpoint reset schedule for the winter months which worked great.

Adding this Auto-Away functionality would be stellar. I got excited about triggering a “real” away setting with the help with SmartThings since my Nest is in a low traffic area, but losing the cool down/warm up feature is a big drawback in the current setup.


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #8

I’m still confused why you want to toggle the setting “Auto-Away” which just detects if a user is there and then sets the “Away” mode.

Why wouldn’t you just set the “Away” mode from ST?

Unless you want to use the Nest as a presence sensor?


(Brian Smith) #9

@pstuart Nest has a lot of functionality that use the “automation” of Auto Away. For example, Nest has schedules, just like every other thermostat. However, it will learn how long it takes for the HVAC to heat or cool your home. It then adds that time, called Time to Temp, to the schedule so it shoots for that temperature at the schedule start.

If you “hard set it” to Away, it doesn’t do that. In fact, all schedules are shutdown and the Nest will not recognize activity at home to start heating/cooling. Essentially, you need to think of Away as “you’re on vacation and I don’t care what my sensors tell me” and Auto Away as… “You are not on vacation, but you are not in the house at this time. Since you are not on vacation, I’l going to look to the schedule so I can anticipate when you will be home again.”

The thing that sucks is even the Nest app doesn’t allow you to set Auto Away…which really blows. Being able to force set Auto Away just speeds up the process of it recognizing that you are not home. Thermostats are not in the best locations in some houses. It is one of the reasons they also added the motion sensors in the Protects to work with the Thermostats. I’m hoping that motion sensors connected to the Hub can talk to Nest via the new API.

Also, I was hoping that the Protects could be used as motion sensors for the Hub since they are usually positioned well in newer construction when smoke detector codes became more stringent (and frankly WAY better).


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #10

@brianlees I know what the away vs auto-away is, I own a nest and have written other platform drivers for it.

The purpose of the Auto-Away feature is to set the Nest to “AWAY” when the built in presence sensor (part motion, part audio) detects no one in the area of the Nest for awhile.

When it is in this mode, it does the exact same thing as setting it manually to AWAY. Once the Nest detects presence it sets the AWAY flag to off.

More details here: http://support.nest.com/article/What-is-Auto-Away

Setting the flag AWAY is exactly the same as Auto-Away detecting no presence.

Setting the flag NOT Away is exactly the same as Auto-Away detecting presence.

The protects do improve the accuracy of detecting presence with a nest.

So what you want is the ability to set the Nest from ST to Away and Not away from some trigger, motion, etc.


(Brian Smith) #11

Away is different - see the end of the FAQ page you posted:

When you set Away mode manually, the Nest Thermostat will not return to your regular schedule until you take it out of Away mode by pressing the ring or on the Nest apps.


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #12

No, you just need a method to set it out of Away mode from ST when you want it to. ST just needs to send the away = false to the API. Simple.

Check out my nest device, on the screen is an away button, you can click it to set the nest away and then unclick it to take it out of away.


(Brian Smith) #13

Hmm… I think I see where we are walking past each other on this one. :smile: This is a case where, personally, I would rather have the Nest handle all scheduling. That means kicking in the Time to Temp on a regular schedule so it is comfortable before I get home from work. Also, the Nest can handle humidity, etc, by turning on the AC if needed. To do all this in ST, someone would have to essentially reinvent all the Nest functionality since it would become the controller. I don’t think that is worth it. I think it is worth it to have ST and Nest working together much better, alerting each other for motion and presence, maybe setting of trips (that @Dianoga mention), airwave…essentially all the Nest Sense options.

I also think this is a fundamental part of home automation that needs to be addressed by developers…look at it this way. Nest is the “subject matter expert” in the home on HVAC. It has millions of dollars of development and algorithms behind it. ST can turn HVAC on and off based on parameters. But it is not the subject matter expert, similar to how I think a motion sensor is a better option at determining if someone is walking through a room rather than placing a multi-sensor on the floor in vibration detection mode.

As we integrate all these devices, we need to determine who the expert is for each. I’m one that believes that well designed devices, such as the Nest, should be the experts and systems that drive there area of the home. Like I said before, everything should talk together better so the Nest knows that there are windows or doors open. Or, maybe use the temp sensors in a motion detector to know to run the AC a little longer since there is a part of the house that is several degrees hotter than it’s current location. Hell, at that point, Nest could even make suggestions about closing vents partially to balance the house better or interact with ST to command dampers to close if ST knows that the temps are supposed to be.

You don’t want a used car salesman to argue before the Supreme Court (no offense to used car salesman) and you don’t want a 5 term US Senator performing brain surgery on you…unless they were an actual, practicing brain surgeon! :wink:


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #14

No doubt, I agree with you, and you just outlined why google paid so much for Nest as their center of HA.

I don’t think I’m going to be able to show you how this can and does already work. But that’s ok.

My Nest is in the dining room (don’t ask why, that’s where the builder put it) and no one goes in there.

I use the Nest-Sense options, air-wave, time to heat/cool etc. I just have auto-away turned off, otherwise it would think I’m always gone.

However, I use the API status Away via another HA system when I set my alarm to away, then when I disarm my alarm that HA system sets the Nest back from Away and all scheduled temps and functionality returns.

This can easily be done in ST today.


(Marc) #15

I see all of your points. I too have become frustrated with auto-away and away. My main complaint about auto away is it depends on motion and as mentioned, if your thermostat is not in a good location, then that doesn’t help. Also, it can take 30 mins to 2 hours to kick in and if you add that up over time, it can be some decent $$$ wasted.

As such I started to use ST to put my 3 Nests into away mode when I leave the house and my cost savings issue is now solved. However, this creates a new problem, when I return the house will either be too cold or hot because it doesn’t kick in until I get home. As mentioned, schedules are useless in away mode which is why @brianlees wants to utilize auto-away mode. I have gotten around this issue by using a smart app to change my nests from away to home mode based on manual time schedules essentially making my own version of auto-schedule. This isn’t perfect as my schedule can change here and there. I probably am doing all of this work for nothing :u5408:

If Nest can support scheduling in away mode or allow us to tap into auto away mode, it would solve this challenge some of us have. Also, it would be nice if it can support Geofencing like the Honeywell Lyric will do.


(Beckwith) #16

How about using Life360 or Automatic to trigger a “Going Home” mode when you leave work.


(Marc) #17

I thought about that as well. I don’t have Automatic (yet) and I didn’t want to install Life360 as another geofence battery drainer (using IFTTT and ST already for this stuff). I’d rather wait for the Nest API apps which will probably help.


(C Schwartz) #18

@beckwith can you setup automatic directly with ST or do you have to integrate it via IFTTT?


Automatic.com integration
(Steven) #19

Surely if my Harmony remote can act as a presence sensor, we can somehow use ST to accomplish this same feat?

http://www.myharmony.com/Nest


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #20

https://github.com/pstuart/smartthings/blob/master/set%20tstat%20to%20not%20away.groovy

Try this, a motion sensor in ST changes turns off Away on the Nest, doesn’t matter if it was set via Auto-away or manually in the App or Website.

This could be modified to support a door open, presence detected, etc.

FYI, the code does support multiple Nest tstats so it can set them all back, or you could break out the ones potentially tied to motion or presence.