I’d like to introduce You to some very interesting occupancy sensors - Hiome and my app which provides Hiome support for Homey.
Link to AppStore: https://homey.app/en-us/app/com.hiome/Hiome/
What is Hiome?
Hiome is advertised as first TRUE occupancy sensors. To be honest - it’s very true. Unlike motion sensors, mobile phone wifi detection or BLE beacons/gadgets used by many of us to try to emulate occupancy sensing, these sensors do it for real!
How does it work?
Hiome sensors count how many persons are in particular rooms in the house. Yes! It does not only know if there is someone in a room but also knows how many persons are there! Hiome system consists of sensors installed in every door (or zone passage) plus a core which makes all the magic - receives signals from all the sensors and using built-in algorithms counts the people. Every sensor consists of 66 data points to detect people, directon of move (so if someone enters or exits the room), etc.
How does it work in practice?
I’m testing my setup for about a month and I have to say it’s working really well. Up to date I used different motion sensors (Aqara/Zigbee, Aeotec/ZWave) plus mobile phone wifi sensing plus some other techniques (e.g. if TV is on then probably someone is watching it). But it was very hard to use it for real occupancy sensing (e.g. the problem of timers with motion sensing). I really didn’t like especially turning off the lights after e.g. 30s of no-movement. If I go out of a room (e.g. toilet) I would expect the light to turn off immediately. Of course there are some possibilities to do it (like wasp-in-a-box algorithm), but they have many limitations. With Hiome it was really straightforward. Just after installing everything and after some simple configuration it… just worked. If I enter the room the light turns on immediately,. If I go out - the light turns off. It looks magically when you go through you home and the light goes with you - from room to room. Also you can use information about occupancy for other devices (e.g. increase/decrease temperature on your thermostat in a room depending on occupancy or persons count, turn on/off the music, close the door-lock if everyone goes out or let your vacuum cleaner do it’s job 10 minutes after everyone leaves).
Another thing is sensitivity which can be changed for every sensor. So you can choose to detect small children or pets or not to do it.
What about the accuracy of sensing?
It’s a very important topic. As many other sensors, hiome is not 100% accurate. E.g. if two persons go into a room very close to each-other, it may count it as one person. But there are some correction-algorithms built into the Core, which try to correct the results based on the events (e.g. it won’t allow the number of people in a room to go negative). Also you may use Homey flows to help Hiome with corrections. E.g. if you have a motion sensor in a room which detects motion and Hiome thinks there is no one there - you can send correction information to Hiome in a flow so it will know what to do.
So should I throw all my motion sensor to the garbage?
Definitely not. They may be used for many other purposes than occupancy sensing. E.g. I use Hiome for occupancy sensing, but it’s not always wise to e.g. turn on the lights depending on occupancy only. E.g. in bedroom - occupancy sensing would be good during the day. But at night when you sleep, bedroom is occupied, but you wouldn’t like the lights to be on whole the night. So after you go asleep (and set such a status in Homey) you can switch your flows to react e.g. to a motion sensor installed below the bed. When you stand up in the middle of the night the light would be turned on to 5%, then when you go from bedroom to the toilet Hiome occupancy sensing can be used to turn the lights in the corridor and the toilet to 5% also. But when you go back to the bedroom I would again use only motion sensing (because you want the light to be turned on only when you go to your bed, after you go asleep again you’d like your lights to be turned off).
Hiome needs power. There are two types of sensors:
- standard - powered by 5V microUSB
- recessed - powered by any 3.6-12V DC source
Also there is a battery pack sold for them, but it’s quite big and has to be recharged every 1-2 months (depending on usage).
In the beginning I thought it might be a problem, but to be honest, it was very easy to hide the cables in the door frames, under the wallpapers, furniture, etc.
About the app
The first thing I’ve done after taking Hiome into my hands was having some fun with MQTT (Hiome has MQTT, HomeKit, IFTTT and Hue integration built-in), but just after a day or two I started development of this app to have more possibilities and make it much easier to integrate the whole system with Homey.
In my app you can find most needed options for using Hiome in Homey:
- occupancy sensing for every room (it’s shown as motion sensing - if the room is occupied, motion alarm is on for that room)
- it shows how many people are there in a room
- door status (open/close - as contact alarm)
- battery status (if battery pack is connected)
- maintenance actions to correct the number of people in a room (increase/decrease/reset/set)
- flow support for all of the above
- auto-discovery of all connected sensors
- support for Hiome Core in a different than standard location
- multiple Hiome Core support
- device avaibility status based on last_seen parameter
- additional sensor informations (like version number)
- update sensitivity level from device settings and flows
If you have any questions regarding those sensors or the app itself - I’ll be happy to answer all of those.
You can read more about Hiome and order it from their official site at: www.hiome.com