Room occupancy detection with motion plus ecobee sensor?

Hi all,

I’m having trouble with occupancy detection. In my den i have an Ecolink motion sensor as well as an Ecobee remote sensor that includes a motion sensor. I currently have the lights to turn on with Ecolink motion detection.

So the lights turn on when we enter the room, but if we sit still they turn off. I was then trying to use the Ecobee motion sensor, but it is too slow in responding. So now i’m toying with combing the two with OR logic. One should cover the initial response and the other can cover occupancy. Has anyone tried something like this? I can’t say its quite working, but i’m new and have been other issues with my webcore pistons.

If not this, then how to reliably detect if we’re sitting in the room or not?

If you’re up for installing a smartapp in the IDE… Look at this.


This is a pretty common question, and different people approach it different ways.

One of the most reliable is to put a pressure mat under the sofa cushions and combine that with the motion sensor when you initially walk into the room.

There are lots of other methods, some of which will work when there are multiple people, some of which will not, so there’s a lot of variation.

I like the pressure mat approach, but if you have a big dog who also sits on the sofa then that won’t work. :wink::dog:

You can get really serious about this use case and put in dual beam detection at the room entrances, but most people don’t want to go that far.

Absent that, it all comes down to details. How many people, are they all carrying detectable devices, are there pets in the home, etc. And of course the details of what exactly you want to track.

Collectively, all of these approaches are usually grouped under “microlocation.”

You can find those threads by checking the following list:

BTW, for a highly reliable but expensive and a little laggy solution, there’s a new microlocation system released about a month ago called RoomMe from Intellithings. This is one of the few systems specifically set up to distinguish between entering a room and exiting it. And which can perform different actions for different people. It does, however, really respond to each person‘s phone rather than to the person, so if you forget and leave your phone in one room then the system won’t really work in the other rooms.

I also think the lag is unacceptable for many people, it’s a full four count based on the video demonstrations I’ve seen. But it might be worth it to some people for the cool factor.

The sensors for the system are large, about the same size as a smoke detector, and they also go on the ceiling. You need to have at least two of them to work so that it can tell the difference between entering the room and exiting the room based on proximity of your phone to the different sensors. Each sensor costs about $70, so the cost can really add up.

The following is a long but very detailed demonstration video

And here’s the manufacturer’s site:

To me, this plays more like a “proof of concept“ – – it’s showing what people would like to have, but it still needs to be polished.

A lot of analysts believe that eventually we will get something like this that works on recognizing individual people’s heartbeats so you don’t have to carry anything and also hopefully it would have much quicker response time. But we are a couple of years away from that yet.

To integrate this with smartthings you would have to use Phillips hue bulbs as a proxy. Have RoomMe turn on Bulb A, and then smartthings could recognize that bulb A had come on. So more cost, more complexity, and more lag. But it could be done.

I wouldn’t be likely to recommend this system to most people. I’m also concerned that this could be like Halo or Leeo—a cool device from a company that runs out of money in a few years and the whole system has to be replaced. :disappointed_relieved:

There might still be some people with significant disabilities who could use it if they had the budget. (Or again, someone who just wants the cool factor.) I don’t think it’s practical for most people though. But I did just want to mention it as an example that more work is being done in the space all the time, we just don’t have easy solutions yet. :sunglasses:

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could you use a switch like tv/lamp… eg go into room sensis motion light turns on, you turn tv on and sit still, if ‘only when this switch is off’ is in the smartlighting rule would it block the turn off when motion stops part?


Sure, but what’s going to turn off the control switch eventually?

If it’s something you have to do, like use a voice assistant, you might as well put everything in a scene and remove the automatic “turn off after inactivity.” Perfectly reasonable approach, it just didn’t sound like what the OP was looking for.

BTW, as I’ve mentioned before, at our house we rarely use “turn off after no motion” except for a couple of pressure mat setups for exactly that reason. Instead, we have an intentional off mechanism, usually a motion sensor hidden on the side of a nightstand or end table. So when I’m getting up, I just slide a hand past it to indicate I’m leaving that particular piece of furniture. :sunglasses:

I have an iBeacon on my wheelchair, so I do have some microlocation setups based on that. The hidden motion sensors are typically used for when I’m not in the chair. But obviously mine is a fairly unusual case. I need touchless switches, but I can also be pretty certain I’ll have a device with me (on my chair) when moving through the house.

Turn off tv then when motion has stopped it will run?

Sure, but again, how are you turning off the TV?

And what if you’ve turned it off because you have guests over or you just start watching TV at that time? are you sure there will always be a TV on when that room is occupied?

Again, that’s an example of why the details matter. In some households that could be true. :sunglasses:

Could be a lamp / virtual switch, could be a voice command, your right… I was only giving a suggestion to the original question with the details provided

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