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Author Topic: Vera Proximity New Android Applications  (Read 74136 times)

Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2014, 07:04:20 am »
Do you have a door open/close switch on the doors you use to enter the house ... it's the equivalent of what I use the garage door for.

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2014, 12:39:11 pm »
Yes, I used the front door 99% of the time, I currently use that to determine coming or going now. When I get home porch and driveway light comes on (if front door hasn't been opened in the last 5 min.) but when I'm leaving it doesn't.

Problem is the front porch light and driveway lights when I pull up rely on the geofence timing alone to activate (the outside lights atleast) and since sometimes it will turn on a few blocks away and sometimes I'm out of my car walking to the house already, it's just frustrating and not working.

Have to think about it more, but if beacon or the such works better then ping (when phones asleep) then maybe a beacon in the mail box might be more reliable. Haven't really looked into all that much.

Offline SirMeili

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #47 on: May 19, 2014, 03:29:45 pm »
Quick question/suggestion.

I know that there will eventually be a vera plugin. It would be nice if it were possible to set up fences in the plugin and when you connect a phone to the vera, it will grab those fences. This would allow a person to set up a couple of general fences (home, etc) that would propagate to all phones connected to the vera. It might even be possible to "merge" some kind of MS functionality into the plugin for automatically ticking buttons on/off for each phone (for instance 1 plugin could support 8 phones/devices).

Ok, so the idea got more complex as I was writing out. I'm just thinking that we have 2 phones and perhaps a third one soon and it would be easier for me to set up fences if I could do it from Vera once instead of having to corral phones whenever I need to make adjustments.

Another nice feature would be "ring my phone", where the app could temporarily turn up the volume to max and ring the phone for X minutes (or until the screen is unlocked). I know the Android device manager does this, but it would be cool to have a scene controller on the wall that I could set up to "ring" my fiance's phone (who constantly loses it) instead of having to log in and do it.

I'm still anxious to see what the base functionality of the Vera plugin is going to be for this. I can't imagine what you have in store for us @RichardTSchaefer!
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Offline Aaron

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #48 on: May 25, 2014, 12:24:56 pm »
Richard, I'm curious...

What is your ultimate goal with this app and what will it provide above what can be done today with a dozen existing apps?

Currently my and most peoples' needs are easily and inexpensively met with some combination of: Tasker (or fill in your favorite task automator) + Authomation + PLEG + Ping Sensor

 ... what will Vera Proximity provide better, or above using these?

I'm not yet seeing why having another, separate, dedicated Vera app is needed. I'd MUCH prefer to see this as a service built-into Vera Alerts we can leverage with Tasker - which can do million times more that a Vera-only app could.

As for Google Location Awareness - I bought Autolocation, which is only a front-end for Google Location Awareness... it is horrible. Tasker's Network Location feature works 1000x better for me. I couple the below methods which to make my location awareness work perfectly - it includes fail safes & redundancy...

a) Tasker's native Network Location - consistently detects my home geofence 0-30 seconds to pulling into the driveway.

b) Tasker Action send Home/Away triggers using Autohomation - detects disconnection from home Wifi network

c) Vera Ping Sensor + PLEG, detects phone connectivity to Wifi and has a ~4 minute delay set Away and instant set Home. (helps with phone reboots or common Wifi glitches)

... and I'm playing with NFC stickers for some things (like in-car, in office, etc) - but the system does not rely on them in any way right now and geofencing would not be able to fill this gap anyway.

Intersted in your thoughts... thanks.


I know that there will eventually be a vera plugin. It would be nice if it were possible to set up fences in the plugin and when you connect a phone to the vera, it will grab those fences. This would allow a person to set up a couple of general fences (home, etc) that would propagate to all phones connected to the vera. It might even be possible to "merge" some kind of MS functionality into the plugin for automatically ticking buttons on/off for each phone (for instance 1 plugin could support 8 phones/devices).

Ok, so the idea got more complex as I was writing out. I'm just thinking that we have 2 phones and perhaps a third one soon and it would be easier for me to set up fences if I could do it from Vera once instead of having to corral phones whenever I need to make adjustments.

This is something I asked for with Vera Alerts... the ability to set a configuration in one place, and propagate it to all devices. This is really needed if as configuring per device, is a pain... and more so when those devices change, get reimaged, etc.

Offline SirMeili

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2014, 12:36:26 pm »
I'm not pretending to speak for RTS, but I'll give my POV on this:

What is your ultimate goal with this app and what will it provide above what can be done today with a dozen existing apps?

While I realize that I could do this with Tasker, I don't currently run it on my MotoX because it's not necessary. The phone does most of the stuff that I would want tasker to do for me.

Currently my and most peoples' needs are easily and inexpensively met with some combination of: Tasker (or fill in your favorite task automator) + Authomation + PLEG + Ping Sensor
 ... what will Vera Proximity provide better, or above using these?

Since i haven't used Tasker for this i can't say if it does it better. I will say that it has been consistant for me in detecting when I arrive home (normally alerting me at the same time). As far as battery usage, I haven't noticed that much of a drain, but I work from home and I am on Wifi 90% of the time, so my phone will normally last me 2 days anyways (though I charge it nightly).

I'm not yet seeing why having another, separate, dedicated Vera app is needed. I'd MUCH prefer to see this as a service built-into Vera Alerts we can leverage with Tasker - which can do million times more that a Vera-only app could.
I would only need Tasker for this 1 thing on my phone. So I'm trading 1 app to do 1 thing for 1 app to do 1 thing, but in this case the setup and communication to Vera is a lot easier (it handles building the URL for me so I don't have to worry about it). I'm also hoping that it will handle communication with UI6 and UI7's MMS (?) authentication easier (I don't think you can just "build a url" for the new authentication system). I'm also not seeing the crossover between VeraAlerts and This. Perhaps you are looking to disable alerts based on proximity or fences? I could see that being interesting, but RTS would merely only have to build hooks into each app, not merge them. You run both, you can do it, but you have the option of running one or the other.

As for Google Location Awareness - I bought Autolocation, which is only a front-end for Google Location Awareness... it is horrible. Tasker's Network Location feature works 1000x better for me. I couple the below methods which to make my location awareness work perfectly - it includes fail safes & redundancy...
I have not used AutoLocation for tasker (yes, I have used Tasker in the past and do use it on my tablets at home). However, so far using the "rapid update" fence I get consistent results when I arrive home.
 
a) Tasker's native Network Location - consistently detects my home geofence 0-30 seconds to pulling into the driveway.
Vera Proximity detects my Home fence (upon arrive) at the same point for me (right as I park) every single time for me. Maybe +/-5 seconds.

b) Tasker Action send Home/Away triggers using Autohomation - detects disconnection from home Wifi network
I personally don't like to depend on Wifi for this as my network might go down and cause a false condition. Its the same reason I'm very wary of Home Automation devices the depend on Wifi for communication.

c) Vera Ping Sensor + PLEG, detects phone connectivity to Wifi and has a ~4 minute delay set Away and instant set Home. (helps with phone reboots or common Wifi glitches)
As I said above, with Vera Proximity, I am getting very consistent detections. I have  had some false positives (Walking around outside on the phone), but that is more of a factor of the size of my fence and it being just about the size of my lot.

I realize that A, B, and C are used in combination, but so far I've found that Vera Proximity has been handling it very well on it's own without a lot of complex setup. I do not currently use it for any automation as I wanted to run tests first.
... and I'm playing with NFC stickers for some things (like in-car, in office, etc) - but the system does not rely on them in any way right now and geofencing would not be able to fill this gap anyway.
I've thought about NFC, but honestly I don't think it will be very good, IMHO, for HA. I want my system Automated, I don't want to have to do something to make it happen (minus typing in a code to get into the house).


Intersted in your thoughts... thanks.

I know you didn't ask for my opinion, but I hope it gives some insight from another user :)
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Offline Aaron

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #50 on: May 28, 2014, 02:33:28 am »
SirMeili
Not sure why you have issues with Wifi but I don't think most people do. My Wifi is never an issue. The only thing I have seen is some phones have issues with Wifi disconnecting... that is typically a hardware problem or ROM problem. I see this with my wife's LG F3 (aka POS) phone. But, since I use a combo of the 3 methods, it is never a problem.

You mention "rapid update" and it triggers "when you park." What distance and amt of time from your home does it detect you as home? And as away? 
- for me, it needs to detect as home, it will disable the alarm when I'm a few houses down so that when I open the garage door (manually - not using Vera) it does not trigger the garage motion or tilt sensors.

With Tasker's Network Location this works perfectly - with AutoLocation (Google Location Services) is so bad it 100% unusable. I live in a tightly packed rural suburb of Phoenix AZ (~6 million people) with perfect 3G & 4G cell coverage. Coverage is not the problem... Location Services seems to be the problem. Unless AL has some serious bugs, but others say it does not. Also, I've one zero tweaking to Tasker to make it work. I've tried all sorts of things with AutoLocation.

I mentioned combining Vera Alerts and Vera Proximity so there are fewer in-memory services running and less apps to install. Ideally he's create a base app and have plugins and an open API for others to extend. This is what is very nice about Tasker.

Richard makes great apps and I don't mind purchasing them but they need to be easy to setup, backup, restore - these are never first class citizens with his apps.  Multiple separate installs and setups across multiple devices is tedious. When the config crashes or you reinstall the app, or you need to reimage your phone you must start all over. Setting up Vera Alerts with custom audio, time settings, etc  is tedious and time consuming. On a few occasions I've seen custom audio settings change on their own - on two separate, very different, phones. This really needs to be stored in Vera and pushed to the phones (profiles). I had an app called NetRemote back in the Windows CE  days that could do this flawlessly... I'm sure it would be easy for Richard to implement.


Offline SirMeili

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #51 on: May 28, 2014, 10:01:11 am »
SirMeili
Not sure why you have issues with Wifi but I don't think most people do. My Wifi is never an issue. The only thing I have seen is some phones have issues with Wifi disconnecting... that is typically a hardware problem or ROM problem. I see this with my wife's LG F3 (aka POS) phone. But, since I use a combo of the 3 methods, it is never a problem.

My problems are not always with the end of line device, but with WiFi in general. I work from home and I will tell you that even with the best equipment, you can have issues. I'm not saying that Wifi can't be part of proximity, but I would never rely on it for 100% of my presence detection. That is just me. Others may have better experiences, but I haven't, even with Business class devices (which I do use). Its the same reason I stay away from Wemo. I don't want my HA to be tied to a system that to me is unreliable. Now I'm not saying it goes down daily, but for me once a month is bad enough.

You mention "rapid update" and it triggers "when you park." What distance and amt of time from your home does it detect you as home? And as away? 
- for me, it needs to detect as home, it will disable the alarm when I'm a few houses down so that when I open the garage door (manually - not using Vera) it does not trigger the garage motion or tilt sensors.

Rapid update (a feature of the VeraProximity app) triggers on a fence that is about .05 miles from my house and keeps updating my position more frequently (I think RTS said this is 60 seconds). Due to this, and I'm not sure if it's just coincidence, but in the weeks that I've been testing my phone says "Arriving home" as soon as I park. Every. Single. Time. It has bee that accurate for me (as I park in the same spot). Away is a different story as the polling is longer, but normally I get about a block away.

I'm a bit surprised that you said you use proximity to deactivate your alarm. I guess I'm a bit more paranoid than that. I don't currently have an alarm, but when I install mine, I won't be using any kind of proximity detection to turn it on or off (or any automation). My main purpose will be to track the adults/teens in the house and when all are gone, put the house in "away mode" (turn off all lights/appliances except ones that make us look like we're home).

With Tasker's Network Location this works perfectly - with AutoLocation (Google Location Services) is so bad it 100% unusable. I live in a tightly packed rural suburb of Phoenix AZ (~6 million people) with perfect 3G & 4G cell coverage. Coverage is not the problem... Location Services seems to be the problem. Unless AL has some serious bugs, but others say it does not. Also, I've one zero tweaking to Tasker to make it work. I've tried all sorts of things with AutoLocation.

VeraProximity pinpoints me at my exact location in my house (within a few feed I would assume). By looking in Vera alerts and comparing it to the position of my house on my lot, it is spot on accurate. Every once in a while it will flicker between outside the fence and inside the fence, but that is more due to the size of my fence. I am on a .25 acre lot and my fence is set up to just cover that (I think ti's actually .03 radius). Because of this if I am working on the side yard in the garden or walking up and down the drive on a phone call, it will flip back and forth. I will eventually increase my fence, but I did want to see how accurate it was and I will tell you that here in Small Town Florida (Sebring, FL), it is pretty good. I'm not saying your method is flawed or bad in any way, just that VP works fine for me and has a more simple setup than using tasker.

I mentioned combining Vera Alerts and Vera Proximity so there are fewer in-memory services running and less apps to install. Ideally he's create a base app and have plugins and an open API for others to extend. This is what is very nice about Tasker.

I get that, but my phone has more than enough ram to just run them both without an issue at all. Perhaps my Fiance's cheap phone would have had issues, but it has been replaced by another MotoX within the past 2 weeks. My thinking is that 2 apps is just "easier" for the average joe. I know the vera community tends to be more tinkerers and likely more suited to a "tasker" based approach, but in general the 2 apps is likely just more user friendly. That being said, it seems like Tasker is what you want, not VP. I think there is room for both, honestly.

Richard makes great apps and I don't mind purchasing them but they need to be easy to setup, backup, restore - these are never first class citizens with his apps.  Multiple separate installs and setups across multiple devices is tedious. When the config crashes or you reinstall the app, or you need to reimage your phone you must start all over. Setting up Vera Alerts with custom audio, time settings, etc  is tedious and time consuming. On a few occasions I've seen custom audio settings change on their own - on two separate, very different, phones. This really needs to be stored in Vera and pushed to the phones (profiles). I had an app called NetRemote back in the Windows CE  days that could do this flawlessly... I'm sure it would be easy for Richard to implement.

I do agree that a backup/restore system would be nice. Maybe tie into Google Drive or another online storage system for cloud storage. I will say though that after moving to my MotoX, I neither have a need nor desire to flash, root, or do any such things to my phone. It is the first phone I've owned in a long time that is, in my opinion, perfect. I have no desire to re-install it either. It is just as fast as it was the day I bought it (6 months ago). My main concern was just propagating changes through the 3 phones in the house.
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Offline SirMeili

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #52 on: May 28, 2014, 10:07:56 am »
Sorry for the back to back posts, but I wanted to add this bug report in a separate post.

@RichardTSchaefer, When I first tried VeraProximity I could NOT get the sounds to work for local Alerts, so I used TTS which worked great. Well then sounds started working and it was a bit annoying (as they would go off until I entered my phone) so I turned them off. Now I still get an alert when I leave my home fence occasionally.  I would be open to it being another app except that it goes off right when my phone says "Leaving home" (which is another local alert for the same fence). It is too much of a coincidence for it not to be VeraProximity.

The oddest thing is that I don't think it does it every time. I can't be 100% sure because I sometimes leave my phone on silent (or turned down so low I don't hear it).

Just a heads up. I may try deleting the fences and creating them just to see if that works.
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Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #53 on: May 28, 2014, 10:41:09 am »
You need to check your Fences ... both entering and exiting ... as you can have separate alerts on each.

I do have an alarm ... I use Vera Proximity (With Phone Unlocked for entry) as part 1 of my entry/exit key ... 
The second part is the garage door opening/closing.

The order of these (handled by sequence expressions in PLEG within the proper time frame) determines if my alarm system is activiated or deactivated.
This works because I always go through the Garage to enter/exit my property. If I change ... I have to manually arm/disarm the alarm ... I think I still remember how to do that!

If I leave (VeraProximity) and forget to close the Garage door ... it reminds me ... then I can close it remotely and arm the system.

Offline clippermiami

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2014, 10:44:23 am »
I have an inner fence set at .03 and an outer fence set at .06. Entering the outer fence simply starts the rapid checking function (exciting takes no action) whereas entering and exiting the inner fence triggers differ times and sets/clears a virtual switch indicating Home/Away. I had a very tight inner fence but was having constant false indicators so I pushed out out a bit. I "tightened" it up on the driveway/front side by shifting the center toward the center-back of the property.

While the Vera Proximity Android app is the best solution I've used so far (I tried Tasker, Tasker and AutoLocation, CHAOS all left something be desired in reliability) it would be great if Richard could solve the Google Location situation and make the Plug in work Like the iPhone Plug In. I use it for my daughter's iPhone and it is absolutely reliable. It has the additional advantage that it can show where she is, how far from home in time and distance, etc, and map it as well. Great functionality.
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Offline SirMeili

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2014, 10:47:55 am »
You need to check your Fences ... both entering and exiting ... as you can have separate alerts on each.
I did, neither of them have the check mark next to "tone".

I think I'll just try recreating the fences.
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Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #56 on: May 28, 2014, 11:49:18 am »
You can turn the debug log on as well ... And then look over the log file during the specified time to see if VeraProximity caused the alert.

Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #57 on: May 28, 2014, 11:58:16 am »
@clippermiami
The false hits from a small radius are a result of the location services detecting a change in cell tower strength (or it even changing towers) when the gps is off.
When the phone is in low power mode it often turns off the gps to save power ... then uses cell tower changes to detect location/movement. This can also happen if their is poor gps coverage in the house.  I have some other ideas about how to eliminate the false triggers (which only appear to be momentary) by using some of the other phone sensors.
If your phone is not moving ... it should not be exiting or entering a fence.
 

Offline SirMeili

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2014, 12:08:30 pm »
If your phone is not moving ... it should not be exiting or entering a fence.

So simple, yet so brilliant!
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Offline clippermiami

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Re: Vera Proximity New Android Applications
« Reply #59 on: May 28, 2014, 12:13:04 pm »
@clippermiami
The false hits from a small radius are a result of the location services detecting a change in cell tower strength (or it even changing towers) when the gps is off.
When the phone is in low power mode it often turns off the gps to save power ... then uses cell tower changes to detect location/movement. This can also happen if their is poor gps coverage in the house.  I have some other ideas about how to eliminate the false triggers (which only appear to be momentary) by using some of the other phone sensors.
If your phone is not moving ... it should not be exiting or entering a fence.

Richard

Yes, the detections are momentary, sometimes as little as a second or two. For testing i have notifications set when the Home/Away changes state and often I get two notifications almost simultaneously. This happened a lot several days ago before I moved the fence out to 0.03, haven't had a false trigger in several days since that.
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