HomeAssistant App and TinyCam - Powerful Combination!

This is going to be a quick one, but I’m unreasonably excited about it. Lately I’ve noticed that image-based notifications haven’t been always going through via Telegram. Lots of errors in the logs about timed out connections, which I chalk up to the fact my internet is over a 5G router. It’s not bad, but it’s not always stable/reliable. I started to consider alternatives like Gotify (which I already use, except not for images) or even something Matrix. But then I decided to take a closer look at an app I already have installed, the HomeAssistant companion app!

The HomeAssistant companion app is way more than just a way to access HomeAssistant. It can provide all kinds of sensor data about your phone back to HASS and also serve as a vehicle for notifications. Not all of which need to be an actual message! You can do all sorts of things, like turn Bluetooth on/off, set do not disturb mode, and even trigger other apps to do things (I believe this part is Android only, I don’t use iOS so apologies to those who do).

When I saw that it was possible to alter the action when you click the notification I was intrigued. Then I saw that you could also call an Android intent to open up another app. And somewhere I saw the idea to open up TinyCam and I had to dig in. I’ve been using TinyCam as a quick and easy way to access my POE cameras as I have a mix of camera brands (post coming soon, promise). I tried the BlueIris app and it’s OK, but the UI isn’t ideal for quickly seeing a camera feed. TinyCam on the other hand literally just shows the camera feeds on the opening page. Doesn’t get much simpler.

I had a “ah-ha” moment realizing I could use the HomeAssistant companion app to send a notification with a snapshot of the camera feed when motion is detected, and then when I click the notification, it takes me directly to that camera’s feed in TinyCam so I can see what’s going on. I struggled for the better part of a day to figure out the right intent (hat tip to the HASS Discord server and @dshokouhi, as well as /u/nVIceman on Reddit) but I got it. So now if there’s motion at my front door, I get a notification with the doorbell image and if I click the link, the doorbell camera feed opens in TinyCam.

service: notify.mobile_app_fuzzy_phone
  message: Motion detected at the Front Door!
    image: /api/camera_proxy/camera.truthwatcher_front_door
    clickAction: "intent:#Intent;action=android.intent.action.MAIN;component=com.alexvas.dvr.pro/com.alexvas.dvr.activity.LiveViewActivity;S.com.alexvas.dvr.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME=Front Door;end"

That’s it. All you’d need to do is change the last bit (after “NAME=”) to match the name of the camera in TinyCam. If you wanted instead to open the camera directly without having to click a link, you could do something like this:

service: notify.mobile_app_fuzzy_phone
  message: command_activity
    intent_action: "android.intent.action.MAIN"
    intent_extras: "com.alexvas.dvr.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME:Front Door"
    intent_package_name: "com.alexvas.dvr.pro"

In closing, I’d encourage everyone to take a close look at the HomeAsssistant companion app docs. It’s really impressive what it can do!

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