Use your alarm for presence detection in your Home Automation setup

One of the great things about home automation is the possibility to activate scenes based on presence of people in the house. Having solid presence detection in your home is not easy to achieve. There are a lot of ways to do this, but most of them use ping your devices, using network connectivity, Bluetooth or GPS geo-fencing technology. These solutions might work for some use cases, but if your presence detection is based on devices will only work for known devices and people. Meaning you can never be 100% sure that no-one is home.

So do not, I repeat do not, trigger scenes that shut down all the lights if no-one is home based on phones. I’ve a great story about a baby sitter that called me very unhappy about all lights being turned off and also that every time she switched them on they went off again. This go back to one of the essential rules of home automation. Read the 7 tips for a successful home automation.

However, switching lights off when nobody is home or switching random lights on while you are on holiday are great benefits of home automation. This is something you want to achieve. A great way of doing this is by installing an alarm and read the status of the alarm, e.g. Fully Armed, partial armed or off.

Having this information in your home automation platform will help you automate and control your home based on 100% accurate information of people being in your home, you will now know that;

  • When the alarm is fully armed, no-one is in the house (if there is anyone in the house you have another issue :-|).
  • When the alarm is partial armed the person(s) in the house are going to/are in or just getting out of bed.
  • When the alarm is disabled, people are actively living in the house.

Now you can use that information for all kinds of actions. For example; turn off all the lights when the alarm is fully armed and start a light scene that mimics your presence in your house, which is a great addition to your for home security.

In my personal setup I use a Woonveilig / Egardia alarm. I picked this alarm because the hardware is solid, you can communicate directly with the alarm and the subscription is optional.

I’ve chosen not to fully integrate my alarm with my home automation or build my own custom alarm solution. For security reasons I advise to keep the control of the alarm separated from your home automation setup.

Read and learn how I integrate Woonveilig / Egardia alarm with OpenHab using Node-Red

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