Presence for nanny (non-registered user)

Here is the problem I am trying to solve.

Our home changes to AWAY mode as soon as my wife and I both left the house and back to HOME as soon as one of us gets home (OK, that’s easy!). We both use our iPhones as presence sensors.

Sometimes we have a nanny (not the same person every time) staying home with the kids. So the hub should remain in HOME mode even when we both have left.

Putting a Smartsense presence sensor in one of the cars and just leaving it at home when the nanny is here is not an option. We often switch car, both take the same car etc… so this would get mixed up. I also can’t use the motion sensors in the house because they are set to alarm as soon as there is any motion in AWAY mode.

Any idea? Is there a way to quickly register/un-register a presence sensor (i.e. activate the sensor and leave it at home to keep the home on HOME mode)?


You could create a “Virtual Presence Sensor” device type that has a tile/toggle to switch between present and not present. That would be kinda cool really.


How I’d tackle it:

I’d setup a virtual on/off tile. Then I’d create a simple smartApp that puts your system into away mode if both your phones are gone AND the virtual tile is set to off. I’d also setup the program to automatically turn off this tile at 1:00am.

So here’s how it work it would work:

Monday Morning: The virtual tile is off by default. You leave, your wife leaves… AND the tile is off, the system goes into away mode.

Tuesday Morning: The virtual tile is off by default. You leave, the nanny comes, and your wife leaves. Before she leaves she opens ST, and taps the tile to turn on the virtual tile. Now she leaves. But because the tile is ON, the system will not go into away mode.

Wednesday Morning: The virtual tile was on, but got turned off at 12:01am this morning, so it’s off by default again. You leave, your wife leaves, AND the file tile off so the system goes into away mode.

With this setup the only physical intervention you need to do it turn on that virtual tile (in the ST app) in the morning when the nanny is there. You could even take it a step further (if you so desired) and install a z-wave switch somewhere that wasn’t connected to any load. Instead of use a virtual on/off tile, just use the switch. Then you can turn on/off the system with the switch rather than needing to even open the ST app.

Stupid question, how do i create a virtual presence sensor? I saw it when creating a smart app, but I don’t see a way to create a tile.

Here’s a great thread on setting up a virtual switch to change modes. I used it to do something similar

How do you include the “and” as chrisb describes for the virtual tile sensor?

Thank you for all the suggestions!

OK… I have been trying to create the app for mode-switching (or forcing not-switching) with the virtual sensor but no luck yet. But I still think this is the right solution. In the meantime I have found a solution using actions and modes:

  • Action: switch mode to “nanny” (in place of the virtual switch)
  • Action: switch to mode to “away” when everyone leaves, except when mode is “nanny”
  • Action: if mode is not “vacation” or “away” or “night” I switch mode to “home” every day at 1am
  • Action: set mode to “home” when someone arrives
  • Action: switch mode to “home”

…will still keep trying to figure out the virtual switch app and post updates