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MobiLinc and Geo-fence Awareness



With MobiLinc and your ISY-99x series controller, geo-fence awareness is now possible!

Have MobiLinc notify your ISY to open the garage door and disarm the security system when you arrive home. When leaving, you can have MobiLinc notify your ISY to arm your security system, turn off your lights, and adjust your thermostat to automatically save energy.

These are just a couple of examples to illustrate the power of MobiLinc when paired with the location aware features of iOS. See the video below for a complete walkthrough.

A note for our Android users: Location aware features are supported by the current version of MobiLinc by integrating with the Tasker app.


Geo-fence How-To Walkthrough:


Features:

MobiLinc and geo-fence awareness features the following:
  • Setup multiple regions to monitor.
  • Monitor your home, vacation home, work location, etc.
  • MobiLinc creates region variables in the ISY controller for your use how you see fit with your ISY programs.
  • MobiLinc automatically sets the region variable to a 1 (inside the region) or a 0 (outside of the region).
  • Setup a region for every member of the household to track if they are home or away for use in advanced ISY programming logic.
  • Geo-fence on iOS uses known Wi-Fi locations and cell tower positions to deliver location updates without impacting battery life.
  • Works with our MobiLinc Connect cloud service and also supports direct connections to the ISY.
  • Works in the background. MobiLinc does not need to be actively running to respond to boundary crossing notices from iOS.
  • You can freely rename the region variable from the ISY's Admin Console. NOTE: If the Admin Console was open when MobiLinc created the region variable, please close and relaunch the Admin Console so that it has the latest variable list.

Who can use this?

All iOS 9+ iPhones and iPads.

Android Users: Location aware features are currently supported in MobiLinc for Android by integrating with the Tasker app as a third party plug-in.

What do I need?

The following is needed:

1. MobiLinc HD, MobiLinc Pro, or Orchestrated MobiLinc for iOS.
2. MobiLinc Connect account or a reliable direct/external connection to the ISY controller.
3. Compatible device (see above).

How accurate is this?

MobiLinc uses the geo-fence feature in iOS instead of true GPS data. If MobiLinc were use use the GPS radio for absolute accuracy, the battery would be drained within a few hours. Instead, MobiLinc takes advantage of geo-fencing which delivers reasonable accuracy without impacting battery life.

Geo-fences are limited to a minimum radius of 100 meters to a maximum of several kilometers. iOS will notify MobiLinc when crossing the boundary lines of a geo-fence, usually within a few minutes of crossing that boundary.

Question: Can I speed this up?
Answer: Yes, there are ways to improve this. First, some background:

iOS determines geo-fence boundary crossing based on known Wi-Fi locations and cell tower positions. Also, if there are other apps running that require GPS or geo-fence data, iOS will piggy-back all geo-fence requests on the highest accuracy signal.

Here are some suggestions on how to maximize the response time when crossing boundaries:
  • Make sure Airplane mode is OFF and Wi-Fi ON.
  • Keep the iOS device within site of the road or out in the open. Since the device relies on radio signals for location information, burying the device in the trunk of a car or keeping the phone in your pocket won't lend to very quick response times when crossing boundaries.
  • When approaching a region, if you wake up your device by tapping the top or home button, you can force the device to wake up and determine its location faster than if you were to leave it sitting.
  • iOS will be able to determine your location faster in areas of denser and known Wi-Fi nodes and cell towers. In areas that are very spread out, iOS will take a bit longer to determine boundary crossing.

How do I integrate this with my ISY?

When iOS tells MobiLinc that the device has crossed a region boundary, MobiLinc will attempt to contact the ISY to update the associated region variable. MobiLinc will set the region variable to a 1 (inside the region) or a 0 (outside of the region).

You can use this region variable as a trigger for your programs running inside of the ISY. Here is a very basic example on how to turn the lights OFF when leaving the region and turning them back ON when entering a region by writing two ISY programs:

ISY Program for when the iOS device moves INSIDE the region:
IF
$myRegionVariable is 1
THEN
Set 'My Light' On

ISY Program for when the iOS device moves OUTSIDE the region:
IF
$myRegionVariable is 0
THEN
Set 'My Light' Off

*NOTE: When creating the geo-fence in MobiLinc, please close the Admin Console until after the geo-fence is created in MobiLinc. Then re-open the Admin Console to allow the Admin Console to see the new variable created by MobiLinc in the ISY.

How can I tell if it's working?

You can setup MobiLinc to issue a system notification message when crossing boundaries by opening MobiLinc and going to My Settings->Location Settings. Turn the "Notify on Boundary Crossing" option ON.

MobiLinc will issue the notification as soon as iOS tells MobiLinc that the boundary was crossed. MobiLinc then proceeds to contact your ISY to set the region variable to a 1 or a 0.

If you aren't receiving region crossing messages here are some suggestions:
  • Make sure Wi-Fi is ON.
  • When setting up your region, tap the "Location" row to bring up the map to visually confirm that the iOS device has a lock on your actual location.
  • Set the radius to the minimum radius of 100 meters.
  • When setting up your location, MobiLinc needs to access your location and iOS will ask for your permission to allow access the first time. If you decline this authorization, MobiLinc will not be able to use your location to configure your region properly. To turn this back on and give MobiLinc permission to access your location, please follow these steps:
1. Open the iOS Settings app and go to Privacy->Location Services.
2. Confirm that Location Services is ON.
3. Find MobiLinc in the list and confirm that the slider is ON to specifically allow MobiLinc access to your location.
4. In the iOS Settings app go to General->Settings->Background App Refresh.
5. Toggle Background App Refresh for MobiLinc OFF then back ON.

NOTE 1: Background Refresh is a controllable option under the iOS settings. Background Refresh also controls whether geo-fencing notifications will be delivered to apps. In order for geo-fencing to work with MobiLinc, Background Refresh must be allowed (tuned ON) for MobiLinc.

NOTE 2: Your ISY must be running an official firmware version 4.5.4 or greater from Universal Devices. You can check the firmware version of the ISY by launching the Admin Console from a PC/MAC and going to Help->About.