Author Topic: Considering Beacons for non-resident occupancy.  (Read 967 times)

Offline Priest

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Considering Beacons for non-resident occupancy.
« on: December 06, 2017, 02:04:21 pm »
I have seen where others are, or were, using beacons in various ways.

I've been contemplating for a while now, a way to accurately signal Vera when my parents are visiting. Often times, my wife and I only get to go out with each other when my parents are in town. This means she and I leave, the house goes into AWAY while occupied, things happen....  If I remember to, I override the auto away function and then its not a problem, until they leave in the middle of the day while we arent there and it stays in home mode.  I've decided this has gone too far, so I'm back on the search for a solution.

My thought right now is that I have a tablet I've set up to wall mount in the living room (not mounted yet) that has Vera mobile, Tasker, and Imperihome on it. It has no GPS, so no worries of screwing up my geofence. It does have bluetooth and this is what I want to leverage.  If I get a pair of beacons to give to my parents, I can set up tasker to check for those beacons. If it sees a beacon it should use imperihome to turn on a VS for occupancy, if not then turn it off.  Really, if this works I might try to leverage it even further with more beacons for more things.

My questions are:
-Is anyone using beacons in this manner, or are they placing static beacons and having their cell phone or tablet be the mobile piece that is locating based on the static beacons?
-What kind of range/interference problems are you seeing with beacons?  Would I need to have multiple devices (retired cellphones) scattered throughout the house to pick up beacons or would one tablet centrally located maybe do the job?
-Does anyone know of a battery powered beacon that has a power switch on it for them to shut it down and conserve battery while not in town? Or in the same vein, a rechargeable one?
-Does anyone see a problem with my logic in making this work?

Offline Priest

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Re: Considering Beacons for non-resident occupancy.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 12:58:11 pm »
I'm going to bump this back up.  Anyone have any thoughts?

Offline Priest

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Re: Considering Beacons for non-resident occupancy.
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 10:10:26 am »
I've now ordered some beacons and begun a bit of initial testing.

I ordered 2 radbeacons and configured one to ibeacon with a 1 second reporting rate (the least frequent it could do) and played with it's power level bringing it down to about 3/4 of full power.  I set up the Amazon Fire tablet that runs tasker and imperihome to to look for the address of the beacon using btnear, and set up a task to flip a virtual switch on and off based on presence.

For the most part this solution will work if I build my PLEG logic to have some hysteresis to allow for dropping and reacquiring the signal.  The fire tablet takes a long time to register the beacon is there or not though and I do wonder if a better tablet or other device would work better.  I'm seeing 2 - 6 minute delays in reporting at times. 

I then downloaded a beacon locator app that can command tasker actions and loaded it in. It can see the beacon and diferentiate between entering, near, exiting, etc based on constant readings of the power level of the beacon rather than just presence.  I tested with it and it was also sort of working, but not perfectly.  There were times that it was the beacon enter, said it triggered tasker, but the task never made it to Vera, and other times that it didnt trigger at all.  I wonder if the beacon jumping straight to near rather than entering state is what caused that.

Over the next few weeks when I get a chance I plan to play with it a bit more and see if I can get a reliable and consistent reporting of presence either through the tablet or through an old galaxy phone. If it works better through that galaxy phone then I may ordermyself a real tablet rather than the hacked up Fire Tablet to be my wall mount controller and beacon receiver.

I could use some help from the PLEG guys that dont use the automatic geofencing home mode control but instead use virtual switches.  I will be transitioning off of the geofence control to virtula switch control at some point, but I am having trouble getting the PLEG portion figured out so that it will keep track of everything.  I've made a new instance of PLEG that I am starting to try to get this put together in.

Offline onepointbrewing

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Re: Considering Beacons for non-resident occupancy.
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 05:48:31 am »
What beacon locator for tasker did you use?

Ive been trying beacon locator and can't get it to trigger tasker AND it just doesn't seem to run so reliably in the background.

Ideas?

Offline Priest

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Re: Considering Beacons for non-resident occupancy.
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2018, 09:06:21 pm »
The app beacon locator is what i tried. I had to stop messing with it for a bit and have not touched it since this last post.  I'll play with it more soon.

Offline loveawake.ru

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Considering Beacons for non resident occupancy
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2018, 10:53:14 am »
Tekkeons appear to be no longer available. I'm finally looking to get a battery for my two 661s wondering if anyone has a suggestion? 

Thanks