Presence detection without smart phone - is it possible?

The wife refuses to have a smart phone, meaning that I can’t currently do presence detection for her.

Is there another way to do it, perhaps with another small device (key fob?) she could carry instead? If so, what device would work (and how?)?

You could try using a bluetooth beacon, but that’ll obviously only work with a BT receiver in range, i.e. it’s only applicable inside your house.
If it’s about GPS positions, there’s non-phone devices to exclusively do that.

But in the end, your and your wife’s best option is to get a smartphone.
Tracking apps such as owntracks or FIND can be setup such that your wife can decide on her own when she wants tracking to be turned on or off.

How about a nice necklace with a RFID?:wink:


I doubt that huge RFID antennas (to extend the range) would fit in WAF :wink:

I’m using door sensors and motion sensors in every room to sense the presense in a room, so the general presence is detected. For most situations this is enough information.

You can also combine it with Find , so when presence is detected in a room and it’s not you, then it’s your wife.

Does the find app need to run on the phone all the time? Can it be set up to autorun in the background when wifi is turned on? I am using IFTTT to turn on wifi on my phone at work and home to save my crappy battery lifetime so it might last one day…

It needs to run whenever you want to update your location. Dunno if you find a tool such as Tasker or IFTTT and manage to set it up like that. But the fine thing about FIND is that it’s working passively, so it should consume little battery even when always-on.

so there is no autorun of FIND app on reboot on the phone, then I need to user tasker to accomplish that.
Thanks for the feedback, I am experimenting with owntracks and IFTTT these days, IFTTT seems to be really unreliable, so I am considering turning over to FIND

Thanks for the ideas.

I’ve seen some creepy demos by Microsoft using cameras and their Azure AI stuff to do live facial detection and identify people in videos. I think I saw some HomeAssistant addins that claim to use this.
You could detect your wife this way if you have one or more cameras?

how about an rfid keyring?
when she opens the door, the rfid reader sets the home in “wife mode”

I am using CO2 sensors of my netatmo. This is quite slow but reliable unless you open have the window wide open for a longer time. It does not distinguish who is who, but I can tell if the kids are in their rooms or - during vacation - if the woman who helps with cleanig our house is in.

Well, if it’s just about presence of someone, you can use almost anything as a presence detector - a light switch, a microphone, any motion detector, an energy meter with your coffee maker, … and if you have a smartphone, you can ‘subtract’ your presence, i.e. if someone’s switching a light and you’re away, it must have been your wife (well or your kids or a burglar or your cat or whoever, but you get the idea).

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Yes you are right. For me the typical case is that I want to know if anybody is at home while I am not. But with sensors in different locations of your home you still get some indication about who it is.

Continuity is a nice thing as well. Once I have detected anybody reliably, and afterwards no one left the house (contact or PIR reading), you know that that person is still there most probably, even if you do not get an up-to-date reading of bluetooth or what not.

I have a small bluetooth low energy token (for the key chain), which can be read by my iPhone from up to ten meters. Unforunately the battery of this token is gone; otherwise I could try if this device works with the bluetooth L2-ping on an RPI 3, which has a low-energsy varinat as well (it detects my Bose headset). Bluetooth L2-ping works fine with openHAB, as iPhones anwers such pings reliably in sleep mode (unless BT is fully deactivated of course). No pairing needed.

[UPDATE] Found the right screwdriver to open the “Gigaset G-Tag” device and put a fresh CR2032 battery in it. Now not only the iPhone finds it, but the raspberry hcitool finds it as well:

[23:16:23] openhabian@openHABianPi:~$ sudo hcitool lescan
LE Scan ...
7C:2F:80:A1:XX:XX (unknown)
7C:2F:80:A1:XX:XX Gigaset G-tag


this is what I’m going to go for, using an iTag.

All i’ve got to do now is work out how use hcitool to get it connected.

sorted with a php script to scan for the itag and to update openhab via rest. :slight_smile:

If you have an intruder alarm and you can interface it, you can use the “set” condition. I have a Honeywell system connected by Alarm Decoder. Alternatively lots of alarms have either a single trigger output or an 8 way connection port. You can program the output to show when the system is set (amongst other things). Communicator outputs can be detected quite simply with Raspberry Pi GPIO or an Arduino connected to OpenHAB by a serial connection or with an additional board, by Ethernet.

I am using the netatmo welcome camera with great success… Tells me who is home, and let me put on playlist according to it on the chromecast

I used that to for a while, then I switched over to noise sensor on the netatmo, faster response rate…