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Creating Automations That Are Useful

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RocketmanSFCA
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I'd like to create automations for my indoor cameras that are dependent on whether someone is home (for privacy reasons) but also what time of day regardless of whether someone is home (at night, for security reasons). I'm wondering if the Arlo app. can be used to create them, or if I'm stuck using either time-based or geofence-based automations with no correlation.

 

My ideal automation logic would be as follows:

  • If everyone leaves home → arm
  • If anyone comes home and it's between 6 am and 10 pm → disarm
  • Starting at 10 pm, if the system is not already armed → arm
  • Starting at 6 am, if anyone is home → disarm

I think this logic works regardless of whether we are on vacation or not.

 

My question: can I create the above logic using the Arlo app, or otherwise? If so, how?

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DualShock
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Hi!

 

I believe I have a similar situation and I have found a configuration that works well for me.

 

I have the following set up. Note that this is for the "new" app setup. I only got Arlo cameras within the past few weeks so it's using the "new" UX in the app. Note that when I mention "disarmed" that means that the camera's shutter is closed. I have a few Essential Indoor cameras and that is the behavior I am seeing as each mode is toggled on and off.

 

I have 3 Arlo cameras.

- I have Geofencing enabled, as I want every camera armed when I am away

- When I arrive home, every camera is disarmed

- Each night at 11 PM, I arm 2 of the 3 cameras, and at 5 AM those same 2 cameras are disarmed

- The previous rule should only apply if I'm at home. If I am away then the geofenced away rule should apply.

 

Here is how I configured my app. Hopefully this can work for you also.

- I set up the "Arm Away" mode to arm all cameras

- I set up the "Standby" mode to disarm everything (actually I don't have any device rules added for this mode, but I think that effectively does the same thing as disarming everything)

- I set up the "Arm Home" mode to arm only the 2 cameras previously mentioned

- I added an automation I called "Home Leave" that is "Always Enabled", which activates "Arm Away" when I leave home

- I added an automation I called "Home Arrive" that is "Always Enabled", which activates "Standby" when I arrive home

- I added a schedule I called "Home Enable" that enables "Arm Home" at 11 PM, and similarly a schedule I called "Home Disable" that enables "Standby" at 5 AM

 

With all those modes set, I then did the following, which I think is the critical piece you're looking for. Under the "Arm Away" mode settings, I disabled the "Home Enable" and "Home Disable" schedules, so that the cameras will always be armed whenever I am not home for an extended period of time.

- Since "Standby" only enables when I am home, it will never enable when I am not home, so "Arm Away" will stay active

- Since I disabled the "Home Enable" and "Home Disable" schedules when "Arm Away" is enabled, the cameras will stay armed indefinitely as long as I am away

 

Hope this helps out for you!

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jguerdat
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RocketmanSFCA
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Thank you for responding. 

 

I reviewed the articles you listed before posting my question. The issue I see is the automation feature allows for schedule-based rules OR geofencing-based rules, but not both with much flexibility. As a result, I have been unable to configure them to create the logic I shared in my original post. Looking at my desired rules above:

  • Rule 1 (If everyone leaves home → arm😞 I can configure this one.
  • Rule 2 (If anyone comes home and it's between 6 am and 10 pm → disarm): I do not know how to configure this rule. Once you create a geofence rule, I don't see an option to add a time dependency, and that eliminates its usefulness. I want privacy once anyone is home, but then starting at bedtime, I'd like to record for security reasons.

If you think Rule 2 can be configured, I'd love to hear how. If there is a way, I can probably use that capability to address Rules 3 & 4. Thanks.

jguerdat
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There would seem to be 2 ways:

 

1) use Change Mode

 

or

 

2) Enable/Disable Automation

 

I suspect you're using the first but haven't tried the second.

RocketmanSFCA
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Hi again,

 

I read your suggestion, and you're right: I hadn't tried Enable/Disable Automation. After trying it, and playing around with different options, I'm stuck on my last desired rule:

  • Starting at 6 am, if anyone is home --> disarm

What I mean by this rule is to enter Arm Home where the camera lens is shielded for privacy reasons.

 

The challenge I'm having now is this: is there a way to sense whether anyone is home? There is clearly a way to sense if anyone arrives or if anyone/everyone leaves. But I don't see a way to create a rule based on location.

 

Any thoughts on this? I would think this rule that I'm trying to implement would of interest to a lot of Arlo customers.

 

Thanks

Matt

jguerdat
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@RocketmanSFCA wrote:

The challenge I'm having now is this: is there a way to sense whether anyone is home? There is clearly a way to sense if anyone arrives or if anyone/everyone leaves. But I don't see a way to create a rule based on location.


That would use geofencing. Use Automations again and note that you can choose Add Arrive/Leave. You will typically need 2 automations - one for Arrive and another for Leave. Depending on how they are set up, anyone being home would use a mode to disarm at least for some cameras while everyone leaving would use a mode to arm them.

RocketmanSFCA
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Aspirant

Thanks for responding.

 

I am aware of geofencing, but (as I mentioned) my issue is that I don't see a logic trigger for 'if anyone is at home.' Instead, the triggers are 'if everyone leaves home' and 'if anyone arrives at home,' which are changes in state rather than a measure of the current state.

 

That seems problematic in the morning in particular - after an evening when the camera lenses are not covered and thus recording for security reasons, I want the lenses to cover at a fixed time in the morning (like 6 am) if someone is at home but not to cover if everyone is on vacation. In the at home scenario, that person isn't leaving or arriving...just is there...so isn't triggering the changes in state mentioned above. How do I create a rule that distinguishes these cases in the morning (at home vs. on vacation) when there's no leaving or arriving? That's my issue.

 

Perhaps the answer is this:

  • At night (like 11 pm) when I open the lenses to record, I simultaneously disable the automation 'if anyone arrives' (which would close the lenses).
  • Then in the morning (like 6 am), when I want the lenses to close if someone is home, I enable the automation 'if anyone arrives.' Perhaps by enabling this automation, it will sense someone is there (even though they haven't moved...or arrived) and close the lenses?

I would have tested this out, rather than pondering out loud on this discussion thread, but I'm currently traveling until Saturday and can't test it right now. I will when I return, and report back. Sorry for that, and thanks for engaging with me on this issue.

DualShock
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Hi!

 

I believe I have a similar situation and I have found a configuration that works well for me.

 

I have the following set up. Note that this is for the "new" app setup. I only got Arlo cameras within the past few weeks so it's using the "new" UX in the app. Note that when I mention "disarmed" that means that the camera's shutter is closed. I have a few Essential Indoor cameras and that is the behavior I am seeing as each mode is toggled on and off.

 

I have 3 Arlo cameras.

- I have Geofencing enabled, as I want every camera armed when I am away

- When I arrive home, every camera is disarmed

- Each night at 11 PM, I arm 2 of the 3 cameras, and at 5 AM those same 2 cameras are disarmed

- The previous rule should only apply if I'm at home. If I am away then the geofenced away rule should apply.

 

Here is how I configured my app. Hopefully this can work for you also.

- I set up the "Arm Away" mode to arm all cameras

- I set up the "Standby" mode to disarm everything (actually I don't have any device rules added for this mode, but I think that effectively does the same thing as disarming everything)

- I set up the "Arm Home" mode to arm only the 2 cameras previously mentioned

- I added an automation I called "Home Leave" that is "Always Enabled", which activates "Arm Away" when I leave home

- I added an automation I called "Home Arrive" that is "Always Enabled", which activates "Standby" when I arrive home

- I added a schedule I called "Home Enable" that enables "Arm Home" at 11 PM, and similarly a schedule I called "Home Disable" that enables "Standby" at 5 AM

 

With all those modes set, I then did the following, which I think is the critical piece you're looking for. Under the "Arm Away" mode settings, I disabled the "Home Enable" and "Home Disable" schedules, so that the cameras will always be armed whenever I am not home for an extended period of time.

- Since "Standby" only enables when I am home, it will never enable when I am not home, so "Arm Away" will stay active

- Since I disabled the "Home Enable" and "Home Disable" schedules when "Arm Away" is enabled, the cameras will stay armed indefinitely as long as I am away

 

Hope this helps out for you!

jguerdat
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Guru

Nice catch! We're almost  always home or away together and the schedule is all we really need but I haven't used some of the options that the new UI supplies. I had noticed that when were were away for a week that the schedule was still happening but I didn't really care much (given how I have things configured) so this would be my fix to allow GF to override the schedule as needed.

RocketmanSFCA
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Sorry for the delayed response. Our travel plans extended, I just returned this weekend to test out your ideas.

 

First, thanks for the suggestion. Your point about disabling the schedule-based automations when Arm Away is active was the key thing I needed. I saw that option, but mistakenly took the toggle as something being communicated to me about status rather than something I could configure, admittedly for no good reason. So that helped a lot, and I now have a configuration that works.

 

Second, I tested out your settings, and noticed that they didn't work for me in a 'stay out late' scenario where I arrive home after the Home Enable automation had run: the cameras would go into Standby mode rather than entering Arm Home mode. That is not what I wanted to have happen, so I needed to include an additional complexity: under the Home Enable and Home Disable settings, I configured each of these automations (Home Enable and Home Disable) to be active only when Arm Home and Standby are active and NOT when Arm Away is active. That seems to address this 'stay out late' case.

 

Thanks again! Really helpful.

 

Lastly, for Arlo product people reviewing this discussion board, this process was more complicated than it should have been. The automation examples you post online are too simplistic, focusing on schedule only and geofencing only cases rather than ones with crossover dependencies. A few written cases studies with crossover use of the schedule and geofencing automations would be helpful!

 

habebert
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This post has been very helpful get my system setup how I want with the new interface. The only thing I haven't been able to accomplish is that if we return and geofencing changes the mode from "Arm Away" I'd like it to change to "Arm Home" if after a certain time and "Standby" if I return home before a certain time. I can only see how to change to it one mode regardless.

 

Any ideas?

 

 

jguerdat
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Guru

I believe I answered this in another post. Geofencing doesn't work that way.

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