Presence in 2023, including multiple members and multiple locations

I’m really glad you mentioned Linked Places. That is something I was trying to figure out just the other day because I wanted to do something similar: have a separate ‘neightborhood’ location defined that would give me the ability to have triggers when I’m ‘near’ home.

I’m on iOS, and the app does allow you to configure a linked place, but it wouldn’t allow me to set up an automation, saying something about requiring all mobile devices to be Galaxy phones. So I thought it was a dead end. But if anyone knows better, I’d be interested. Right now I think the only way to accomplish cross-location automations is with a SmartApp or other 3rd party app.

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Alexa, which would be a third party of course, works great for this. My phone is set as the primary presence sensor for SmartThings with a radius slightly larger than my property.

I’ve also got the Alexa app on the phone and a routine that triggers a SmartThings scene when I get about 20 miles away.

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That’s a great solution. Only downside is giving Amazon 24x7 tracking of where you are, which is a bit off-putting for me. I know it’s the same issue with Samsung, and maybe I’m being naïve, but for some reason I trust Amazon less with that data!

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I’m trying Alexa for presence as ST presence has been completely unreliable of late for both iOS and Android.

Yes, that is what it used to say on the Android app. However it now lets me create Routines including a non-Galaxy app and the mobile presence device now includes the components for the Linked Places. What I haven’t been able to do yet is try it out. Indeed I don’t even know if my non-Galaxy phone works with the main presence sensor.

Both my GF and I use the same login for the ST app. So, while I can set up her iPhone and my Galaxy phone to provide location, ST sees that as a single member with multiple location trackers. So, when going to create a routine, there is only a single member available and only one location tracker can be selected. Then when trying to add a second rule, Member Location is greyed out.

Morale of the story is that if you want a routine to contain location tracking for multiple people, each person must use a unique ST login for their app.

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That doesn’t happen in the Android app. Multiple devices can be selected per member.

There seems to have been a bit of reworking of presence in the past couple of Android app updates on top of the Linked Places changes. When enabling location access in the app settings it tells you if you already have it set up on another device and allows you to disable it. I don’t remember seeing that before. Also it makes a point of asking if you are happy to share your location with others. Again I can’t remember it asking that previously. In Routines it emphasises that only devices that shared their location are shown.

I’m dragging the thread off topic though …

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My husband and I both use iOS and presence sensing has been working great. That was a relief since we lost Life360…which I had set up because presence sensing on his old Android phone was unreliable at best. (That was, of course, the complete opposite of what other mixed marriages :grin: were experiencing.) I switched my virtual presence sensors to take input from our phones directly instead of Life360 and I doubt anyone else even noticed there was a change.

Tiny rant: Why is this basic feature so hard to get right?!? Your phone knows where you are but it’s about as willing to share it as a 3-YO with candy.

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Problem i have is that i do not want all occupants to use the ST app, they are not interested in it and have no need for it, i have recently been trying life360 notification keywords on Android but although initially it seemed to work it now appears notifications are not recieved logically, i often get multiple life360 notifications for 2 different members and doing different things, one leaving, one arriving, turns out at least in my experience life360 notification useage is not an option

Due to that i simply cannot set up home security with ST in an automation

This may or may not be helpful but I set up ST virtual presence sensors for both my parents and am triggering those through location based routines in google home. Their google home accounts have access to ST but they dont use it for anything else. Here’s a link to the discussion

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Thank you Terri, due to everyone in the house using different O/s phones not using google home nor ST on all devices the google route will not work in our scenario

I think for now i am going to have to admit defeat on automating STHM

Thank you

Yes, linked places would be perfect but it’s not available with IOS phones

I connect to this thing that I use too, saying that I made 3 virtuals for each person:

  1. geolocation ST
  2. geolocation GH
  3. official presence sensor: with routines it considers the last change of status reliable.

I did this because often on my wife’s phone, either google home doesn’t work, or smartthings doesn’t work… this way if one of the two works, everything works.

13 posts were merged into an existing topic: Unable to join channels (25 Jan 2023)

I can confirm that Alexa solution works well for multiple household members as long as each member has a SEPARATE SmartThings account. While you can link separate Alexa accounts to the same ST account, one will always be the active and the other will timeout.

So here is my setup:

  • Separate Alexa accounts (but in the same household) on each phone (one Android and one iPhone)
  • Separate ST accounts on each phone (but members of the same location)
  • ST Virtual presence sensors for each member using vEdge Creator from @TAustin
  • An arrival and departure Alexa routine for each individual on their respective phones that turns the virtual presence sensor on/off for that individual
  • ST Routines that react to the state of the virtual presence sensor for one or more individuals

While there are several moving parts here, I don’t think it’s anymore complicated than it was with Life360. ST also seems to receive the state change very quickly from Alexa making for a snappy SmartHome experience (I like my doors unlocked when I get home :slight_smile: ) And by using a virtual presence sensor, it will be very easy to change out the underlying detection mechanism should Life360 come back or ST presence becomes more reliable, etc, etc.

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So here’s how I am doing presence detection now with the loss of 360 on Smart Things and Smartthings dismal presence detection.

I used a Libre S905x and setup Home Assistant on it. In the Home Assistant world I can still use Life360 as presence detection. It also has the ability to interface with my Linksys mesh system to detect phones arrival and departure by their connecting and disconnecting from WiFi.

Home Assistant uses these 2 inputs to leverage presence. It relays the result by having a routine in Home Assistant the uses the presence to toggle 2 edge virtual presence devices in Smartthings. You can connect Smartthings to Home Assistant and control Smartthings devices in both environments. This has it’s limitations but this method of toggling the virtual presence has been reliable for us. It all operates in the background and uses my Life360 login to track location of my family.