how do you "detect" somone home ?

Like has been said before, the alarm state is a good way. Each person has their own alarm code, so you know who disarmed the system to enter.

I also have occupancy sensors. You could have these (or a PIR) send you and a trip alert. With the OC’s, you could even know their location in the house.
If you get an alert, log into your NVR and look at the cams too.

i actually do auto-arm if i leave my house by car (independent geofence)
that does fix the away button issue for me.

well everyone is pretty much extreme about energy saving, so i spend like the rest of my life preventing everyone from pulling plugs all the time.
(its not really about saving the energy because the Airconditioners running but the doors wide open) … its just some pre-school trained-on behaviour :slight_smile:

maybe a “ALL off” button and some “light with no real function” in direct sight may solve it …
so naturally they would follow the instinct and try to get the lamp off …
a human trigger (so to say)

but then there is a new scenario, trying to get the lamp off … lock the door but stay inside …
well okay a movement sensor could fix this

if all off + door locked but still someone walks arround = mother go to sleep
if all off + door locked + no movement = everyone out … ready to arm

A lot of people use bluetooth. Once the adapter “sees” your phone/anyone’s phone, you are home.

Not everyone keeps Bluetooth on all of the time. I only turn mine on when needed and turn it off when done to conserve battery power.

  • Garrett

Have it turn your BT on when your wifi is near.

I was rather intrigued by this recent, highly publicised, paper:

Through-the-Wall Sensing of Personnel Using Passive Bistatic WiFi Radar at Standoff Distances

which claimed to detect presence using Doppler analysis of ambient WiFi signals at 2.4 or 5 GHz.

Not that there’s a Z-Wave module for that yet, but I’d quite like to prototype one…

That is quite agood aproach, give me the idea of using real connections to the accesspoint.

Having the mobiles in a dhcp group with a very short lease time.
Then query the Mikrotik Router if there are Leases for mobile devices.

If none = everyone left

Even if the phones are “forgotten” the sleeping of WiFi will do the job then.
So arming could be happen even with a mobile left in the house.

Easy to do as well.

[quote=“intveltr, post:5, topic:175326”]What does work well for me is to trigger the “home” state when a door is unlocked. I’ve mounted micro switches in the deadbolt wells so I can reliably detect a lock being opened. This detection is armed 5 minutes after the “away” button is pressed (to allow a quick re-entry to pick up forgotten items :slight_smile: ).

I’m thinking of ways to use the lock detectors to trigger the “away” state as well… no one really forgets to lock the door when they leave (and this way you can check that via Vera);[/quote]

I have played with the same idea to detect home /away to adjust the thermostat setpoints, as we never lock the doors when at home unless when we go to bed (then we want to reduce the temperature setpoint in any case).
What kind of sensor / transmitter do you use for the microswitch? mains or battery powered? Did you build it into the frame of the door (is it visible)? I would like to build it into the wooden frame in an invisible manner, but still be able to access it for battery change etc.
Any images to share?


I used regular micro switches recessed in the wells; quite invisible so no pictures to share. I use a Fibaro switch to read the micro switches and transmit their state to Vera, so they are mains powered in a way. The wires leading from the switches to the Fibaro are hidden in the wooden frame and behind panels, so invisible as well.

An alternative is to open up a magnetic zwave door sensor and to wire up the micro switches to these, not hard to do with a little skill. Then you’re battery powered.

Very interesting topic. I will be curious what approach is finally taken for home detection.

I’ll throw in my two cents. I think home detection (location awareness), should be dictated by your mobile phone. It adds an extra layer of security by default, for example, your pin code.

GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi Network status are all accessible triggers without any input from the user, if that is their choice. Profiles setup on the phone can trigger scenes. Simple logic can detect the location of multiple family members to ensure everything operates smoothly. Each person coming home can have their own scene for example.

As far as manual input, you can have a lock screen shortcut, notification shortcut, home screen shortcut, NFC tag, gesture, 3rd party app, custom app, and more.

If you have an Android device you can take advantage of all of these scenarios right now, by using Tasker, and Tasker plugins, apps like AuthomationHD, Home Buddy, and Vera Alerts, enhanced by plugins like PLEG and the XBMC plugin. This is all done without any Luup code by the way.

We are that much closer to the true Domotic lifestyle we envisioned when we bought-in to this technology.

With Google I/O tomorrow, we are at a turning point. Exciting days ahead.

IF (!!) you live by yourself, and/or the peoples arround you do live the same livestyle as you do …
and/or in a perfect world,
we would not even have this topic here, because everyone would nice and smooth “check in” at your house
and mios would decide to let you in or call the cops :wink:
no issues at all.

the trouble starts if there are peoples different in genders, ideology, age

then the issues start, and the “triggers” need to be more human-alike.
its easy to babyproof a house, but making technology “compatible” to everyone is a job for life.

even by force this is still something very “individual” …
i think.

as for me.
there are 3 groups now of individuals to take care of in the home automation side.

  1. peoples fully integrated in the automated flow like Myself … (i have a car and vehicle tracking) so i use the car as Key and to disarm
  2. peoples aware of automation but not apreciate it and not enough discipline (use phones and a combination of behavour i can “track” to detect without having to enter a code, since this will be dismissed very quickly anyway and renders the whole thing useless)
  3. anyone else, not possible, use manual arm/disarm (babysitting them) :wink:

Force would be a option of course … in a silent fashion like turning off essential items like the TV or the internet for the mobile devices of the user in question :wink:

My 2 cents:

Most solutions right now are kluges and most are not universal enough to cover the potential user-base, as @nullx8 discussed. Even his car tracking method, which I plan to implement for car presence tracking, is not in my opinion, an acceptable “key” to the house.

Of late I have been thinking about modern cars. Many or most are shifting to push button start with proximity sensing of the “key” fob to open doors and activate the ignition. It’s very short range(possibly NFC I don’t know) and seems to work reliably.

My current thought is that it would be more ideal to (re-)use or piggyback on that same key fob, with a sensor at the doorways to the home. This way, presence (entry/exit) in the home could be tracked and doors opened or locked, regardless of whether the car is in the garage or not. I sometimes go out, but leave the car in the garage. I want the doors to remain locked and the security system to remain armed even though the car is still in the garage and I don’t want my alarm disarming or my doors unlocking until I am placing my hand on the door knob. I also don’t want my house to open up and disarm because it sensed my phone while I’m asleep in bed.

The present options are too vague and prone to misinterpretation or misfiring, I want something much more positive and definitive. If I could inexpensively sense(positively identify) the car key fob at the door, rather than yet another “key” in my pocket, that would be great. Right now, presence won’t control anything more than lights and fans, for me.

This may not be an easy thing to do. Many of these car security RFID devices use a challenge/response form of encryption which is designed to prevent determination of the embedded key through the capture of message exchanges. It may be possible to detect that some key-fob is present but detecting that your key-fob is present will be a real challenge.

Using an RFID reader and adding an additional transponder to your keyring should achieve the same results, though. Some of the RFID systems offer good read-range so the reader could be in a convenient position near the lock without requiring power and signal cables to be run onto the door.

I’m using motion sensors and yes I have 10 of them and each room has one.
So I set arm my house if there is no motion for 30 minutes.
Someone may have objection what about night?
All beds in my house has occupation sensors and yes if there is someone sleep in the bed then thermostat will work but house stay armed.
What if sleep in the couch? You will be getting cold or hot and back to your bed.

Siren will go on if window/door opens without unlocking door event or no motion inside of house.

I figure that this way quite fit my case and using phone and car can do it but you may have guest but your family is out or carpool or leave cell phone home will bug you.


akbooer your Dream Green House link in turn links to a Smart Things solution which is a propriety key fob that you can associate with individuals or objects (like a car). Demo: SmartSense Presence. It looks like a reasonably robust solution. There is user tear down of the fob.

[quote=“RichardTSchaefer, post:2, topic:175326”]There are a lot of strategies for a single occupant. For multiple occupants that come and go at different times I can think of a couple of strategies …
All make some type of assumption to infer presence, or lack thereof …

  • Ping Sensor on everyone’s phone using LAN IP address. Need to handle false hits when Phone is sleeping


There exists the Unlock with Wifi Android App that prevents the lockscreen from activating when you are at home by detecting whether your phone is connected to your Wifi network.

It would seem this logic could be readily adapted for presence detection in general. In Android there is “Settings > Wifi > Advanced > Keep WiFi on during sleep.” to address the phone sleeping issue (I prefer my phone to be able to update various bits of data when sleeping anyway).

An installed Phone App could also identify persons. This could be done by the App can sending a MAC(?) or other address. Relying on dynamically allocated IP addressed wouldn’t work. If all else failed you could require an Phone App User to enter their name manually.

It does seem that there would have to be a pulse (or ping). Whether that ought be pushed from the Phone side or pulled from the Vera side, I don’t know.

Edit: There is another thread, “Wireless Sensor Tag System”, looking at for presence detection, among other things. Conceptually it looks good. It has a URL based API which facilitates vera integration. Unfortunately the implementation is reported to be flakey …

[quote=“mbairhead, post:32, topic:172570”]Just got mine this weekend and I’m disappointed.

Occupancy Monitor - This is actually what I was hoping to get out of this, put one tag in the glove box of each of our cars and when they both are gone, run an “away” scene. Of course this won’t work since it loses communication with the tags so often.[/quote]

Edit2: There is also the [Plugin] Google Latitude (Beta), the kind of solution previously mentioned by RichardTSchaefer. Note that Google latitude also works off Wifi detection. So you don’t need battery draining GPS to be on all the time.

Edit3: Fixed urls.

Sorry for resurrecting this, but this is a very interesting read.

I have recently start to think about this, and have come across the different threads mentioning the WIAB (Wasp in a Box) algorithm, and have perused the pages of DreamGreenHouse (that’s another good read!).

I suppose it really does come down to using multiple technologies/sensors. Lucky for me I have a Yale deadbolt door lock. If I open it from the inside, Vera knows. (I suppose other deadbolt locks can notify Vera too.) My back door (Schlage lever lock) can only sense if I unlock it via a PIN code. The good thing is, I have garage door sensors. So following WIAB, unless the front door or garage doors have been opened, someone is still in the house (if starting from an occupied state). If starting from an empty state, an opening of the garage door, or a PIN code at the front or back doors will mean that the house is now occupied. If Vera mistakenly thinks the house is empty but someone turns on a Z-wave switch, or uses a device that the Ping plugin recognizes, or if a PIR motion sensor is triggered, then Vera can easily correct itself.

@Akbooer, you may have created scenes to implement this. Is it possible to create a scene, identify all the triggers that would turn a Virtual Switch (signifying house occupancy) on, but only need at least ONE and not ALL those triggers? I tried doing this but Vera says the action will only be done if ALL conditions are met.

i use NFC tags for it. since other ppl (like family and friends and so) have no business in my house this works well. my little brother has a key to my house and he got a android phone and as soon as he is at the frontdoor he auto-connects to the wifi and then the NFC tag can make the phone send a i’m home signal to vera, disabling the alarm and turning on the tv,stereo etc. automaticly
when he leaves he just put his phone against the NFC tag and it toggles the virtual switch, turning on the alarm and shutdown the equipment. case im home the NFC tag doesnt work as it disables alarm, which is allready disabled and the equipment is allready ON then. when he leaves and im home he knows that he doesnt need to touch the tag. can disable it with another virtual switch in line with the one for the NFC tag. works for me.

Yes, I’ve used scenes and, more recently, Luup code for a slightly more sophisticated implementation.

I’m not understanding your problem, since, as you describe it, that is exactly how scene triggers do work… any one of them fires the scene, which would turn on the occupancy switch. A separate scene would just have one trigger (door closed) to clear the occupancy switch.

For an enhancement, I’ve added some Luup code which delays (and possibly cancels) the action of clearing the occupancy for a few minutes to handle the situation where you just go out to get the mail / empty the trash / … and then come in again shortly afterwards.

So are you saying that for multiple triggers in the same scene, it’s an OR not an AND?

Yes, I’ve used scenes and, more recently, Luup code for a slightly more sophisticated implementation.

I’m not understanding your problem, since, as you describe it, that is exactly how scene triggers do work… any one of them fires the scene, which would turn on the occupancy switch. A separate scene would just have one trigger (door closed) to clear the occupancy switch.

For an enhancement, I’ve added some Luup code which delays (and possibly cancels) the action of clearing the occupancy for a few minutes to handle the situation where you just go out to get the mail / empty the trash / … and then come in again shortly afterwards.[/quote]

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