How I Set Up Presence Detection in Home Assistant

Presence detection is critical to a smart home. In fact it might be the most important piece on data your smart home needs, and there is no single way to do this. But if I am being honest this is one of those areas I have struggled with the most.

The biggest problem I have had is timing. Most of the device tracker integration use api calls that happen on a set interval. The longer the interval between updates the greater the chance you will be inside your house before home assistant knows you are home. If you want your Smart Home to respond as soon as someone arrives or leaves, this timing issue can can challenges.

On top of that finding the right balance between speed and not killing the battery life on the phone can also be a challenge. If you would have asked me month ago, I would have told you the best solution was using Life360 with IFTTT to call a web hook in Home assistant. After trying lots of options this is the one I decided offered the most reliable and battery efficient results.

But it’s 2020, and IFTTT has decided to change their model to charge for their previously free product if you use over three routines. On top of that Life360 killed their IFTTT integration. And while the Life360 in Home Assistant is decent, it suffers from the timing issue as well.

Presence Detection is a major part of my Home Assistant security system. If you want to know why check out my two part series. That requirement necessitated separating the device tracks from the family is home sensor to cut down on false triggers due to devices going to sleep.

If you want to see the setup check out the video on YouTube:

Until Next time, Automate the Boring Stuff.