Actions vs modes trying to understand


(Dane) #1

What is the main difference between actions and modes. Trying to understand an example being home party, now with the new update with philips hue mood and sonos mood, can it just create an action and that action can play the song I set and light I set or a mode needs to be set too and than that action trigger the mode which would trigger the setup for hue or sonos?

If that’s the case why need both, why not just actions or just mode.

Also any easy way to have a virtual tile or button to trigger those changes. Thanks.


(Ben Edwards) #2

Within the dashboard (and other places like the Sonos SmartApps you mention) you can create actions based upon a number of things. In many respects these will replace the simplest of SmartApps that would previously be required for things to take place. I think of actions as parts of rule-sets that include actions/triggers and (optional) conditions.

You can think of modes as the state your home is in. You can then create actions to change how things act or behave based on your home’s state or mode.

Potentially further complicating things (but hopefully not) is the additional mechanism within Hello, Home. Within this conversation view you you can use Phrases to get your home to do certain things, including changing modes. The can be triggered manually from within the Hello, Home interface or automatically based upon things such as your presence, a schedule, sunrise/sunset, and more.

You can find more about modes and Hello, Home phrases in this post on the SmartThings Blog.


(Greg) #3

I think I’m having the same issue as dane. Being able to trigger things with a virtual tile would be helpful. I tried to set that up today and I think I can’t do it without making a new mode. A mode that mirrors home mode, but with one new rule.

Example - Yesterday I ran into the situation where my house has open doors and windows because it’s nice weather. I ended up being outside talking with down the street neighbor then going in their backyard, leaving my house open, unattended and out of sight. I thought why don’t I set up an app to tell me if there is motion I didn’t expect that I could just run while I’m in home mode? so I tried to do that.

It seems I have to make a new mode - a mode that mirrors home mode with one exception and then go through all my smart apps to add the new mode to any app that normally just runs in home mode. It seems to me easier to do what dane said and have a virtual tile that I can say - if I push this virtual tile I want motion notifications until I turn the virtual tile off.

If this is already possible, I apologize, but I can’t seem to find it.


(R Lance Barbour) #4

I agree. This latest update that took away my ability to change modes manually is driving me nuts and rendering my existing home automation setup useless.

Three states? Home, Away, and Night and that’s it? My other modes got buried in the update, apparently. And the only way to change to them is via the Hello, Goodby, etc… which is based off of presence devices? What about the ability to have mixed mode setups - where I am home, but want to be notified when there is a knock at the door (acceleration detected).

This last round of updates has made the app prettier - but much less stable, and useful. :frowning:

Anyone have any ideas? Is there some sort of virtual button press I can do to force something into a mode - how can I test functionality if I actually have to leave the house to change modes?


(Greg) #5

R. Lance,

You can add modes. It is awkward how to find it though. On ios access the left menu stripes. You will see home at the top and a gear there - this is the same place where you set your geofence. scroll down under the geofence setting and you can add modes.

You can add phrases to hello home to change modes too. You can make the mode change via hello home phrases, presence devices or by accessing that same left menu/home and there is a drop down menu there.

For being notified if there is a knock at the door you would have to set up a whole separate home mode that mirrors your normal one, add all the apps to run in that mode and make your acceleration app run in the new mode. Which is what I described above for my scenario. I agree there should be a way to make a virtual tile. Something like if I’m in home mode and I push this virtual tile then send me notifications for XY&Z.

You can test functionality by changing modes without leaving. I also made an “experimental” mode where I try new stuff out before adding it to my regular mode.

Hope that helps.


(esung) #6

I can’t help but to think that the whole thing is more convoluted than it needs to be. I like having an option of more than one way to do certain things because it gives flexibility for power users, but it also causes confusion for the untrained. I think ST should find the most optimal way of performing tasks and make it a default way of operation, and leave other ways as an option more hidden than exposed. Power users can use them if they want, but normal users can get by without the as well. (Like applescript on os x)
I like apps, but not necessarily the ones with witty and vague names. And when those apps come from the platform runner it is even more confusing. It feels like iPhone without apple’s basic apps but only ones like ‘Dial all you want’,‘phone booth’ and phone booth2’. Variety and flexibility provided via app store is a good thing but only when basic function works with just with default apps.


(Ben Goodman) #7

I feel like actions/hello home phrases are the most powerful thing in smartthings. It seems like they are not exposed in the Graph API and that is serious shortcoming. No smart apps seem to be able to talk to them or initiate them(including IFTTT). It would be incredibly powerful to be able to automate them.