Setting a "guest" mode?


I’m new to ST, though I’ve dabbled in HA over the years. One of the things that caught me out a little was the lack of a rules engine - I gather that’s a slightly contentious topic and hopefully something that will be properly addressed in time, but I find myself trying to get my head around what can be achieved and how.

I have what seemed like it should be a fairly basic requirement that I’m struggling with, so hoping to get some advice.

I’ve been using the starting modes, and using these to drive security monitoring states i.e. Setting the system to Armed in the Away state. I’m using presence tracking from my and my wife’s phones to set that mode, and whilst that does work, it doesn’t account for guests - if we have a babysitter over for example, I don’t want the system to switch to Away when we leave.

To manage this, I setup a Guest mode. Although not perfect I have some simple logic to set this - if both myself and my wife leave (when the system would normally switch to Away), but movement is detected within the following 5 minutes, switch to Guest instead, on the assumption that we’ve left someone in the house knowingly. Likewise if in Guest mode and the front door opens and closes, and then the door stays closed and movement isn’t detected for 10 minutes, switch to Away mode. It’s not perfect, but seemed like a fair starting point.

Except that I can’t seem to code this logic using the 1st party functionality. I then tried using SmartRules, but that wouldn’t do it either. Are there other 3rd party rules engines that can achieve this sort of thing, or is this out of reach?

It doesn’t feel overly complex so hoping someone can point me in the right direction as to how to approach it.

Have you considered giving the babysitter a virtual presence?

You could add that as a device, and all your “if someone is present” stuff should still work, assuming that the initial process of “the babysitter is home” works.

As far as the rules go, you can try working with CORE as well.

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Welcome! Your basic concept of a guest mode is a good one, and many people do approach the situation that way. So now you “just” have to set up the rules. :sunglasses:

There is a very powerful rules engine created by the community and now receiving some behind the scenes official support from SmartThings. It’s complicated, but there are many community members who will help you if you need help with any specific rule.

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Thanks for the assistance.

I’ve installed CoRE, and it seems like a Then-If piston would be perfect for the job.

I’ve written up one to set guest mode and one to switch back off it - the rules seem good and it was all pretty intuitive, but I can’t easily test them as my motion sensor seems to have died and become locked. I’ve tried resetting it but no luck. Oh well - certainly a step forward in finding CoRE, but a shame I can’t see if my effort actually works.

On a related note, one of the key purposes in having the Home and Away modes seems to be to set the security system. However from what I’ve seen from the built in rules there is no direct link - you can set the security system to Armed (Away) at the same time that you set the mode to Away, but that’s entirely manual. This seems a bit odd - really whenever I set the mode to Away, I want the security system to switch to Armed (and vice versa), without me having to make sure I independently set it at the same time in every rule that changes a mode.

I assume I could use CoRE to switch the security system appropriately when the mode changes, but I was hoping to have that run locally rather than from the cloud. Am I missing an obvious way to do this in the core (not CoRE) functionality?

Thanks again for the help!

Smart home monitor was added about a year ago to the existing system and it’s just not the same as a security system that was designed from the ground up.

Believe it or not, there is no way at all to change the armed state in SHM locally. It always has to go to the cloud. Which means if your Internet goes down, you can’t disarm SHM. Or arm it. You’re stuck with whatever arm state it was in when the Internet went out.

Anyway, you can definitely use Core to tie an SHM alarm state change to a specific mode change if you want.

You can also do this with a routine where you have a routine that only runs when the mode is away and it changes the SHM alarm state to armed away. That’s what a lot of people do and it will work fine. But routines don’t run locally.

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Assuming your guest mode has the same functionality as home mode, I’ll second the virtual presence sensor idea. We use it whenever we have a sitter. Even got fancy for our regular sitter and automatically turn it to present when her phone connects to our wifi.


I have something similar and also use netatmo welcome camera recognise the face of known people and switch on guest mode virtual presence automatically. I reset these every day automatically when I switch on night mode in case I forget to manually switch disable guest mode too.

I use a virtual Presence Sensor as well. Just need to remember to set it. :wink: