Alarm Capability API improvements

At the moment SmartThings has an Alarm capability, but this is more of a bell box/alarm box that sits on the side of a building to flash/ring. Actually a lot of people seem to be interfacing with real alarms - i.e. a device which is either disarmed/armedhome/armedaway/alarm/… and could be interpreted as a sensor and a button (i.e. it can tell you it is in armedhome state, or you can set it to armedhome state).

Am I missing something or is this totally impossible right now? I have got the ability to arm/disarm my alarm through SmartThings, and can read the alarm status [disarmed, armedhome, armedaway, alarm (these are the main ones), plus arminghome, armingaway, trouble (these are the additional states possible)]. None of the capabilities supported seem to allow this. And without this feature I cannot integrate the alarm with CoRE (amongst other things), so that when I arm the system it turns all lights off - for example)

Has anybody got any ideas to accomplish this, or how would I submit this to the ST team for an improvement in the ST capabilities?

Thanks in advance

If you have the interest and patience for long reading, I initiated an entire Category to discuss Capabilities … in January 2015.

One portion of my, ummm, theses there dealt entirely with the dilemma and balance of Capability granularity or scope. There are good arguments for both highly granular limited scope Capability definitions, and just as good for more comprehensive “big” Capabilities!


  • The SmartThings platform doesn’t handle either extreme very well, so all the Capabilities (beyond the basic obvious binary ones like Switch and Sensor), are compromises. SmartThings has mentioned they are thinking of ways to re-architect this, but it is a huge undertaking that is entrenched in the platform.

  • SmartThings has not been responsive to the Topics in the entire Category. New Capabilities are introduced from time to time, but with zero request for Community Developer feedback.


Long but fascinating read! Good insight into some of the challenges which need solving, though I would no doubt agree with you that it is a shame it has been 2 years with no progress!

In the short term I could achieve what I want (i.e. Core having access to information about my alarms arm state) by hijacking another capability (e.g. Thermostat Mode (heat=alarm, heating=armaway, cooling=armhome, off=disarm)), though I can clearly see that this is both confusing and liable to break in the future…

From everything I have seen there is no indication about what development and features are upcoming in the next 6months of product roadmap…

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I am facing a similar problem. What do you mean by hijacking another capability. Can you please elaborate a bit more on this?

Thank you

I suggest youhave a read of my Visonic Powermax integration post and Github. You will see there how I have used the alarm capability to effectively create a device with four distinct states (disarmed, armed home, armed away, alarm triggered) as opposed to a bell box that you might have on the side of your house which can either be silent/flashing/ringing/both. Hope that helps gives you some ideas for a solution!

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