A comparison of 4 presence detection methods

At a bare minimum, an Apple TV 3rd gen can be found on eBay for as low as $35, plus an rPi is around $35.

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Yep, ive tried them all.
All home - One Home - All leave - one leave. you name it, ive tried it.

It could have maybe a 40% sucess rate.

The last 2 days with locative, 100% success rate so far on both devices.

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The most accurate presence detection that I’ve found is Fingbox! I have the physical box (not web app) and have tied users to each of their devices, with their primary “presence” device being their phone. I’ve also set a 5min delay on departure notifications, and tie those to set Away mode on Hubitat through IFTTT. The delay prevents an accidental “departure” should someone’s phone disconnect from Wifi while they’re still here. That prevents the heat being turned down accidentally (Honeywell Home via IFTTT) should there be only one person remaining in the home. It’s extremely reliable, but as backup, when my Ring Alarm is armed in Away mode, it sets a virtual switch which will also trigger Away on the Hubitat. Likewise, when it’s disarmed, Hubitat goes into one of 3 possible Home modes, based on time of day. I personally have tried all of the various geofencing applications, but find them slightly unreliable, and worse yet, battery “hogs” as they repeatedly check to see your proximity to the fence. I also drive within 1/2 mile of my home while on a highway that requires me to exit then double back. Relying on the geofence method would potentially set my house in one of the home modes well before I arrive, and if I stop at the store on the way back, it could potentially be 30+ minutes before I arrive!

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Well, I'll just reiterate that life360 with just a couple of manual refresh rules = 100.0% accuracy for me.over the last 6+months.

I use and like Life360 I have had good results with it but my only issue with it and some other methods is they require the cloud vs locally.
Which is one of the main points of Hubitat.
Using multiple devices to create a single device (any present then present all departed then departed) this should work great if everything works correctly but this has the possibility of multiple points of failure for departure setting.

I have found using a Xbee3 or SmartThings arrival sensor powered by plugging into the usb port on my cars so they are only present when the the cars are running and in range the most reliable and secure. Mainly for doing secure things like opening garage doors.
Adding a life360 refresh to this is a great idea.

I don't mind the cloud. And for detecting those without cars, lIke my kids, an xbee wouldn't help me.

Yes no prefect solution.
I am not totally anti cloud no getting away from it now.
Just trying to be as secure as possible especially with garage doors. Since the car sensor is powered off after arriving it should never accidentally fire an open rule.

I also use a battery powered SmartThings arrival sensor in my kids backpack. I had to set these to 10 minute departures to try and avoid false departures caused by hub slow downs.
To set SmartThings arrival sensor depart to 10 minutes you have use the
Xbee3 presence DH


Hey @stevebott123, could you share more about whats going on in your dashboard?

Yep, on the advice and experience of other forum members I setup the above.

So if either the iOS app (he phone) or Life360 (steve 360) register as in the geofence, set group A to present (steves phone)
if either steves phone or sb wifi (wifi presence community driver) register as present, set group b to present (steve all home)
If group a (steves phone) or group b (steve all home) are present, set "someones home" as present.
The same went for my wifes setup.
This was to counter false positives and negatives - which worked 60% of the time.

My current setup is ive deleted all of this, and combined presence, I am Just running maker API and Locative iOS app. Its been 99% accurate for me.


Another option for android is Macrodroid via maker API
It has a geolocation service - i have been using this for about a week, and it seems to be working quite well

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SmartThings Presence Sensors - 3 (with battery hack) Have worked perfectly for about 3 months now. No battery drain on phone which was an issue with HE app and not reliable.

Thanks @stevebott123. Where did you find the best way to setup Locative? I've been trying and keep getting errors all over the place. I must be setting up Maker API incorrectly

This was the link I was given, got it working first go.
just take your time to read it all.


uhm .. can you enlighten me on this? Rules? Can you explain this in one word or less? and "Yep" or any form thereof isn't an acceptable answer. :crazy_face:

Just kidding. But, I'd really like to know how you're managing that. I'm evaluating my garage door automation and even though it's capable, I'm not using it because I don't feel like presence is going to cut it for me entirely.

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I have had absolutely 100% success using Life360 for geofencing. That being said I have a very large circle around my home. I don't want it firing when I go the mailbox. If I remember right I have about a 2000 foot radius and it has never failed to lock up when we leave the house and never failed to unlock and turn off the alarm and all the other stuff that we want to happen when we come and go. It is just speculation on my part but I think that most folks are probably using too small of a radius.

Edit: Not sure if it matters or not but we run Android phones.

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How is everyone using Wifi for presence detection? I've seen lots of talk about it, but no guide on how to set it up.

One way:

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Thanks for the rapid reply. Would this work for Android?

Just wanted to mention that there are several other ways to do presence now.

On iOS, native geofencing can be used, although it requires a Home hub and HomeBridge. Locative seems to be another popular choice.

On Android and iOS, OwnTracks works really well. @brianwilson has written a Hubitat integration for it.

[RELEASE] OwnTracks Presence

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I use an Asus AX11000 router with two Asus XT8 aimesh nodes. I have a script on my NAS(Qnap) that runs every 15 minutes that checks if a script on the primary AX11000 router exists and if it doesn't it copies it back over using scp and then uses ssh to schedule the script to run every 5 seconds on the router. The script basically uses ARP to check for the presence of certain MAC addresses. It then creates a reference file on the router which acts as a flag so the router knows the last state. If the state changes it fires off an http get request to change a virtual presence sensor on HE using API Maker.
It works perfectly once you have it all set up but it does take quite a bit of effort to get up and running. Just need to make sure you don't use randomised MAC addresses on the phones you want to use for presence, make sure to set the option of using the device MAC address.
I have tried sooooo many different presence detection methods and this is the only one that is 100% affective. Been running for quite a few months now without issue.

Download the Hubitat app