For better or worse, I am heavily invested into a Philips Hue Ecosystem in my home. As it’s not just me in the house, and I’ve taken care to make things easy for people to use who aren’t tech savvy or really don’t want to use their phone to control anything, I’m looking to add a SmartThings hub without changing any configuration of the Hue system I’ve already built. I’m sure I will find many uses for a SmartThings hub in time, but my first goal is this… I have a Hue Dimmer switch at the main entrance, and a Hue button by the bedside. Both of these are programmed to shut off all the lights in the house with the push of a button when either leaving home or going to bed. I have two light fixtures that cannot be replaced by any kind of smart bulb, Hue or otherwise, so I need to get a smart switch to control these lights. 1) Can I link a smart switch (like a GE or Lutron) with a SmartThings hub so that when pressing the off switch on a Philips Hue brand dimmer switch, it can also shut off a smart switch made by the other company? 2) If this is possible, is there a preferred smart switch that works best with the SmartThings hub for integration? (or are there brands to avoid). I was looking at the Lutron Caseta switches, but honestly, I’m not attached to anything in particular.
There are several entirely different ways to approach this.
- Use Apple’s HomeKit Without homebridge. By far the easiest, alThough not the least expensive, is to use Lutron Caseta switches. Both Hue and Caseta work with both HomeKit and SmartThings. You use HomeKit to use the Hue buttons and switches to Control the Caseta devices. (Very easy.) and if you want to control either the hue bulbs or the Caseta switches From smartthings you can do that too.
Smartthings will be unaware of the existence of the hue “accessories” (anything other than a bulb or a light strip), but it probably won’t matter. The accessories are a parallel means of control and everything will work fine.
If you already have iOS devices, in particular if you have an iPhone and either an Apple TV 4 or an iPad that stays home all the time, then there actually isn’t extra cost. But if you don’t, then you do have to pay for the iOS devices.
This is the set up I have at my own house.
- use Apple’s HomeKit with Homebridge. Homebridge is software that lets you fool Apple‘s HomeKit into thinking there is an extra hue bridge attached to it and that all kinds of other devices are hue devices. This is how people connect Nest protects or SmartThings itself or other non-HomeKit devices to HomeKit. You have to have another small computer, usually a raspberry pi, To run homebridge and do all of the work To keep HomeKit fooled. And set up is very technical.
This is certainly doable and has the advantage of bringing your other smartthings devices into HomeKit, but if you aren’t already a programmer, you may find this both confusing and hard work.
- Group the switches with the hue bulbs in SmartThings. An alternative which doesn’t require using Apple HomeKit is to create a linkage between a specific hue bulb and a specific light switch Using a smartthings automation. You can definitely create a rule so that every time the hue bulb goes on the light switch goes on and every time the hue bulb goes off the light switch goes off. This is very easy to do but it doesn’t fit all use cases. And there may be a slight “popcorn effect“ where you see the hue bulb come on first and then a second or two later the switch comes on.
I do use this method in my own home in a few places, specifically where I have a link to a table lamp with the hue bulb and a physical device which turns on a wall switch. There is a popcorn effect, but it’s not bad. It just means that the table light comes on before the overhead light.
If you want to do this, you can use anything you want for the wall switch that can be added to your smartthings Account.
So those three are the main ways Using your existing Hue accessories.
If you would be willing to swap out the hue accessory for a button that works with smartthings, Then again you could use any wall switch that can be added to your smartthings account and just use smartthings to tie the two together.
It might even be possible To take an existing hue dimmer Or Tap switch and have it talk to the smartthings hub directly, but I hesitate to recommend that method because many people have found that it just isn’t very reliable. But it is something you can try if you want. I do have more confidence in the first four methods, though.