Device Tracking

Using Bluetooth on your Raspberry Pi as a Device Tracker

Want to use your Raspberry Pi to track device status?

Here is a simple way to use your Raspberry Pi’s bluetooth for presence detection. You need Raspberry Pi3 in order to be able to leverage bluetooth capabilities.

To get started, make sure you have python bluetooth libraries installed by running the following commands. Also make sure the Bluetooth is enabled on the RPi.

sudo apt-get install bluetooth
sudo apt-get install python-bluez
sudo apt-get install bluetooth libbluetooth-dev
sudo python3 -m pip install pybluez

After running the above commands one after another, you should be able to run python3 command line and be able to inport bluetooth package.

The following is the python program that checks for status change every 15 seconds, and if there is any change, it publishes the message to the MQTT topic.

Have an MQTT binary_sensor in Home Assistant and use this as just another data set for your device trackers.

import bluetooth
from time import sleep
import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt
import paho.mqtt.publish as publish

phones = [
    {'name': 'person1', 'state': 'not home', 'mac': '<mac address>'}
    {'name': 'person2', 'state': 'not home', 'mac': '<mac address>'}

client = mqtt.Client("hass-client")
client.username_pw_set('<username>', '<password>')
client.connect('<mqtt broker>', 8883)

while True:
    for phone in phones:
        key = "bluetooth/presence/" + phone['name']
        result = bluetooth.lookup_name(phone['mac'], timeout=3)
        if result != None:
            detected_state = 'home'
            detected_state = 'not home'

        if phone['state'] != detected_state:
            phone['state'] = detected_state
            client.publish(key, detected_state, retain=False)


Thanks to @B10m for providing this tip!

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