SmartThings Community

Are Sonos and Echo ($180 or more) the only audio speaker options? I just want a cheap "doorbell" speaker

(Mike) #21

Thanks Ed, this is great to know…

While I was surprised to find there are no “simple” speakers readily available (on ST site or SmartHomeDb), Echo is still in the running because it also adds potentially interesting additional things. So maybe I’ll just get it, and be done with the particular issue of needing a speaker. We really do want to know when we get mail or have motion out front because I average 1 or 2 packages a day, half the time they don’t knock, and I’ve had stuff sit overnight in the rain before because I didn’t know there was something there. We don’t always have our phones on us and if we do, we can’t always check to every single notification chime quickly, so it’s good to just plain old hear “motion out front”.

Listen. If I can say,

I am new to smart homes (Wink, Smart Things) and find them a real mixed blessing. I went with smart home tech because I found task-specific items too limited. For example, Heath/Zenith has quite a broad line of motion-sensitive flood lights … but of course the sensors on these things only control the light, and will not send notifications or do anything else. So there are tons and tons of decent, low -cost task-specific devices out there. But none of them work with other things. Not even some of the top-shelf DIY, e.g., security motion sensor systems will talk to anything else, nor are they particularly flexible even for motion sensing. (They can’t touch the flexibility and interconnectivity of smart home systems.)

BUT.

But there are SO few actual smart devices available in quite a few categories, compared to the broad avalanche of items that are not smart. For example, this question about audio speakers. And, importantly for me, I can hardly even find a single outdoor-capable smart motion sensor. WTH? There are a hundred non-smart ones out there. Yes, they’re on a flood-light mount or whatever but still, the technology is obviously out there in inexpensive form. Another example: I’m having real trouble with a mailbox sensor - apparently it’s too far to communicate well? Even with a relay? (I have another thread on how comms with a ST Door Sensor are super spotty once it needs a relay. I don’t mean due to distance; I just mean timeliness of reporting when using a relay. And it definitely does need a relay, for my mailbox.) There are plenty of door sensors that have no problem communicating longer distances in the non-smart areas. I spent a lot more for a smart system and device that is, in one sense, surely far more flexible - but also, far more limited?? (in distance or relay or something)

And then whenever I ask about how to make something work, everybody chimes in with endless add-on apps. It’s like, holy cow, do I have to spend my whole life tweaking just to know when I got mail? lol

I am exaggerating some. But still, I don’t want to spend months of my life trying to get a nice smart home. Ideally I want to spend all of zero hours on it. I want it all working right out of the box. But clearly the technology is very very far from there. So I chose SmartThings over the other possibilities because at least it has the most potential (with all the developers and apps), even if it is far far more work and searching than I anticipated.

Oh well. What’s new under the sun? If you want something cutting edge, you gotta bleed, I guess. Hehe.

And let me thank you again. You guys really are helpful here. Even if I wish I didn’t need help because it was all straightforward already, laugh.

Mike

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(Jason) #22

It’s different, because if a flood light goes off to frequently… who cares, if you get an alarm on your phone that someones at the front door when it’s just the wind blowing, you care more. But there are ways to Improve false alarms outside and there are threads in this forum on doing so as well as community smartapps that could help.

Is it a metal mailbox? If so you could get a zwave door sensor that has a terminal block, and use the leads to put a magnetic sensor on the inside while leaving the device on the outside(in a weatherproof plastic box) There are also some other threads on people doing other things to monitor mailboxes.

Yeah, theres no way around this, especially with SmartThings. They’re business model isn’t that they’re one app should cover it all, it’s to use the community created development to create the functionality for them. No getting around this, but i’ve found that almost all of the apps can be replaced with @bravenel’s Rule Machine.

I own a bunch of different diy HA hubs, this is one of the easiest to configure, and offers some of the best community support. That said DIY HA right now Does take time, there are a lot of factors, and many in the community are worried with Smartthings portrayal of how easy it is. There are companies that will automate your house for you, but they set it up, and if you need to change anything at all they charge hourly(at least in my area). But they do it all the time and will make sure that your mesh is strong enough. There are also some people in this community that will provide more in-depth help for a fee, as well as some that professionally install ST in some areas.

No problem -

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#23

Would this cheap wifi speaker work with SmartThings? http://www.bestbuy.com/site/jam-voice-portable-wireless-and-bluetooth-amazon-alexa-enabled-speaker-black/5607815.p?skuId=5607815

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