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homebridge-people

NOTE: Since version 0.5 the configuration changed to platform. You must fix your configuration to match the new configuration format.


homebridge-people

This is a plugin for homebridge. It monitors who is at home, based on their smartphone being seen on the network recently.

It can also receive webhooks sent by location-aware mobile apps (such as Locative, which can use iBeacons and geofencing to provide faster and more accurate location information.

Installation

  1. Install homebridge (if not already installed) using: npm install -g homebridge
  2. Install this plugin using: npm install -g homebridge-people
  3. Update your configuration file. See below for a sample.

Configuration

"platforms": [
    {
        "platform": "People",
        "threshold" : 15,
        "anyoneSensor" : true,
        "nooneSensor" : false,
        "webhookPort": 51828,
        "cacheDirectory": "./.node-persist/storage",
        "pingInterval": 10000,
        "ignoreReEnterExitSeconds": 0,
        "people" : [
            {
                "name" : "Pete",
                "target" : "PetesiPhone",
                "threshold" : 15,
                "pingInterval": 10000,
                "ignoreReEnterExitSeconds": 0
            },
            {
                "name" : "Someone Else",
                "target" : "192.168.1.68",
                "threshold" : 15,
                "pingInterval": 10000,
                "ignoreReEnterExitSeconds": 0
            }
        ]
    }
]
Parameter Note
threshold optional, in minutes, default: 15
anyoneSensor optional, default: true
nooneSensor optional, default: false
webhookPort optional, default: 51828
cacheDirectory optional, default: "./.node-persist/storage"
pingInterval optional, in milliseconds, default: 10000, if set to -1 than the ping mechanism will not be used
ignoreReEnterExitSeconds optional, in minutes, default: 0, if set to 0 than every enter/exit will trigger state change otherwise the state will only change if no re-enter/exit occurs in specified number of seconds
target may be either a hostname or IP address
name a human-readable name for your sensor

How it works

  • When started homebridge-people will continually ping the IP address associated with each person defined in config.json if pingInterval is not set to -1.
  • With an iBeacon or geofencing smartphone app, you can configure a HTTP push to trigger when you enter and exit your 'home' region. This data will be combined with the ping functionality if used to give this plugin more precise presence data.
  • When a ping is successful the current timestamp is logged to a file (seen.db.json)
  • When a Homekit enabled app looks up the state of a person, the last seen time for that persons device is compared to the current time minus threshold minutes, and if it is greater assumes that the person is active.

'Anyone' and 'No One' sensors

Some HomeKit automations need to happen when "anyone" is home or when "no one" is around, but the default Home app makes this difficult. homebridge-people can automatically create additional sensors called "Anyone" and "No One" to make these automations very easy.

For example, you might want to run your "Arrive Home" scene when Anyone gets home. Or run "Leave Home" when No One is home.

These sensors can be enabled by adding "anyoneSensor" : true and "nooneSensor" : true to your homebridge config.json file.

Accuracy

This plugin requires that the devices being monitored are connected to the network. iPhones (and I expect others) deliberately disconnect from the network once the screen is turned off to save power, meaning just because the device isn't connected, it doesn't mean that the devices owner isn't at home. Fortunately, iPhones (and I expect others) periodically reconnect to the network to check for updates, emails, etc. This plugin works by keeping track of the last time a device was seen, and comparing that to a threshold value (in minutes).

From a very limited amount of testing, I've found that a threshold of 15 minutes seems to work well for the phones that I have around, but for different phones this may or may not work. The threshold can be configured in the .homebridge/config.json file.

Additionally, if you're using a location-aware mobile app to range for iBeacons and geofences, this plugin can receive a HTTP push from the app to immediately see you as present or not present when you physically enter or exit your desired region. This is particularly useful for "Arrive Home" and "Depart Home" HomeKit automations which ideally happen faster than every 15 minutes.

Pairing with a location-aware mobile app

Apps like Locative range for iBeacons and geofences by using core location APIs available on your smartphone. With bluetooth and location services turned on, these apps can provide an instantaneous update when you enter and exit a desired region.

To use this plugin with one of these apps, configure your region and set the HTTP push to http://youripaddress:51828/?sensor=[name]&state=true for arrival, and http://youripaddress:51828/?sensor=[name]&state=false for departure, where [name] is the name of the person the device belongs to as specified in your config under people. Note: you may need to enable port forwarding on your router to accomplish this.

By default homebridge-people listens on port 51828 for updates. This can be changed by setting webhookPort in your homebridge config.json.

Notes

Running on a raspberry pi as non 'pi' user

On some versions of raspbian, users are not able to use the ping program by default. If none of your devices show online try running sudo chmod u+s /bin/ping. Thanks to oberstmueller for the tip.

Thanks

Thanks to everyone who's helped contribute code, feedback and support. In particular:

  • wr - for adding in webhook support.
  • benzman81 - for porting the plugin over to be a Platform and improving how ping and webhooks work together, and numerous other fixes.