FAQ: Confused by "Regular" Hub and "ADT" SmartThings Hub. Need clarification (2019)

This might also be of interest. It includes information on how often the smartthings cloud is unavailable. ( short answer: typically two or three times a month for less than 15 minutes each time, but can be longer.)

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Ugh. Okay…

So this might sound dumb. Iris did everything I wanted, with relatively affordable hardware, and paid support for $15.00 / month with the cellular backup option. I think it’s $10.00 / month without. Something like that.

I am not going to lie, while I want the best bang for the buck. I am price sensitive. Looking to replace security monitoring, and safety / fire monitoring through ADT is a recurring cost of about $35.00.

With the ring cameras, I can pay $10.00 month for pro monitoring and unilimited Ring camera support / storage.

I am considering all options now, including using Ring for security, and going with Smartthings for home automation. Again not going with lowest possible cost, but highest return on investment…

Understood, but there’s also the fact that Iris went out of business and nobody else wanted to buy it. So they were probably priced too low for their own survival.

Ring’s security system is pretty cool, and it’s getting a lot of very good reviews. I have a friend who’s looking at it now for an apartment.

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Perhaps pricing was an issue, however for what it’s worth, second generation Iris, most notably the smart hub, was a support nightmare. There is, was very little support from Lowes that was any good on understanding the standards of Zwave and Zigbee. Iris, and SmartThings tend toward consumer / non technical users and installers. This undoubtedly lends itself to for example my mistake. Putting the smart hub in the spare bedroom at the back of the house, not having any wired Zigbee repeaters, and wondering why the contact sensor at the front door didn’t work / connect at a distance.

I did try to work with Iris 10upport to solve this problem, and had to go wtih some deep google searching and Toms Hardware Guide to get an understanding of how these technologies work. I then moved the smart hub to the living room, and added a smart outlet in the front of the kitchen less than 20 feet from the garage doors and master bathroom window, thus keeping all of the sensors online, including the garage door sensors, door sensors, and the window sensors including master bath. Now I spent at least 4 hours on the phone with Iris support for my original $109.00 investment. So they were already losing money because they did a poor job in the documentation letting folks know the distnace limits of the battery powered sensors.

With that stacking up, with tons of frustrated users, I get why Iris failed as a business. It wasn’t so much cost, as it was the technology wasn’t documented well enough in the package to be useful enough to limit their support calls…I’m pretty certain that the phone support folks even if they are getting paid $15.00/hr the cost per employee to Lowes is probably closer to $30.00 / hr. So basically my initial rig was a full loss, and support cost them at least $120.00…

Hopefully other systems can use this sort of feedback and get consumer friendly documentation!

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Okay, so as I dig through the various systems, painfully so, it would appear that in some ways Iris was unique in the feature set they offered.

The closest system, although not quite matching feature for feature is oddly enough the ADT Smartthings setup.

The big failing for the non ADT Smartthings setup is the lack of local processing and utter reliance on the clloud, which to my understanding is the same way that Iris works.

It would appear that the Ring setup is not quite mature yet, and doesn’t do anything beyond basic security, and has much more device limitations. At least at this time.

So it looks like I am going to have to work up the shopping list.

  • SmartThings ADT Home Security Starter Kit. ADT Hub, 2 ADT door / window contact sensors, and a motion sensor.
  • 15 additional ADT door / window contact sensors…
  • Ring video doorbell 2 (being shipped now). My wife insisted on the higher resolution model.
  • 2 @ Ring spotlight cameras.

Now the question is what technology do the ADT sensors use? I am assuing I will need a range extender to get coverage for my futhermost sensors. If it is ZigBee, can I use my Iris 3rd Generation smartplug for this?

What features does self monitoring have with the ADT hub? How will it alert me when an alarm is triggered?

It’s a proprietary protocol, and is neither zigbee nor zwave, and it is not mesh, so there are no extenders that will work with it. It’s a point to point to point topology. But that’s one of the reasons it’s more reliable and has fewer false alarms.

You can ask questions of people who already have the ADT system and are using it in the following discussion thread:

ADT partnership: ST-ADT touchscreen hub and devices (discussion thread)

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As far as the ring spotlight cam, read the following thread, and then ask any follow-up questions about that device in that thread:

Ring Spotlight Camera not discoverable in Smartthings

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I already knew about the spotlight camera battery model. I was fully intending to get / use the wall powered model which is what the works with smartthings list shows.

I might have made a wee mistake though. I already ordered the Video Doorbell 2, which I had thought they listed it as works with smartthings. Actually ALL the systems I am interested in, but now I can’t find it… Just the Ring Video Doorbell, and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. I am hopeful but not going to hold my breath. My wife insists on the doorbell 2 to get the 1080 image…

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BigHoss - Let us know how your Ring Cams work out. I am looking to migrate to a similar setup with 2 Spotlight cameras. Even though Smarthings say they integrate, I haven’t found much info verifying that they fully integrate & can view live & clips within the app. Most importantly being able to trigger recordings with Smarthings motion & door sensors.


OK I think I understand what I need to do now. It sounds like once I get the ADT smart things set up configured I can add my ring doorbell and the to ring spot light cams. I can add the Utilitech Sirens and I should be able to trigger them with IFTTT With an ADT alarm event.

On the automation front it sounds like Z wave is what I want to go with is there is no way I am ever going to go past the 240 devices and there are no baby monitors or anything like that in Wi-Fi does come to interfere with ZigBee. I do have one zig bee smart plug that I can move into my workshop in simply trigger it from my Alexa app to turn on and off my dust collector.

check this link for integration


The one thing that eliminated the Adt/Smarthings solution was the fact that the hub and keypad are combined in one unit. Thus you can only have ONE keypad. I have three Iris keypads.

I’m no expert in this so take this for what it’s worth which may not be anything but the presence of at least one keypad is very important to me as well. I No on the regular smart things hub you can add a Iris keypads throw some programming mumbo jumbo. It is possible I think to use them on the ADT system as well however I’m sure others will know better than I.

For my application one key pad is really sufficient since the people that will be coming and going will be using the front door or if they are not using the front door that will be my wife or myself and we will have our smartphones with us.

The link above for ADT Tools 2 has details about adding a secondary keypad. The Iris keypad is the one the user tested with. You should be able to intefrate them with minimal problenms. Just remeber they are cloud dependent and not local.

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I really need three as there is a person here who is a technophobe (flip phone etc,). They continually open an armed door without disarming and need an easily accessible keypad to disarm. i have the v1 iris keypads and also do not want the core security to be mumbo jumbo, i’m liking the abode system that works locally, They have their cue automation which will pick up many of my non iris devices, Then I will create an ITTT channel to my smart things hub for the rest.

Thanks for pointing that out. I kind of like local for the core functions as I do lose internet occasionally. I don’t mind tinkering for home automation but want to keep the alarm local and as solid as possible.

I am in the same boat, I have Iris and added their monitoring service.
For the most part, I don’t mind the cloud-based service. It works most of the time, and break-ins are kind of rare around here. I will say, sometimes it is slow to acknowledge you disarming the alarm. I have had it trigger sirens and a professional monitoring phone call several seconds after I entered my code because the cloud was running slow.

So I’ve gotten to the same place, I feel like the ADT version is what I’m going to buy. I’m just a bit nervous about it after previously asking a question and getting feedback that the ADT product was recently discounted heavily and that ADT now has their own platform. I would hate to buy another system that gets discontinued.

To the best of my knowledge, all of the Iris v1 hardware, including keypads, is going to be useless with any systems at all once Iris is taken down on March 31.

You are not alone in needing a luddite friendly means of access / disarming /arming the system. My primary concern is our housekeeper. That sounds fancier than it is, she’s a friend from church that helps us with the housework once every couple of weeks, and pet sits for us as needed for a few extra bucks…

I know I have seen keypads for Smartthings at least the photos of the CES demos, I just don’t think they are ready for prime time and released yet. No idea if / when that will actually happen. I also remember seeing the Atari 1450XLD home computer demoed at CES in 1983. It never hit full production.

Us Iris refugees are left with some very uncomfortable choices to make. Nothing on the market integrates all of the features we knew and loved with Iris. To the best of my knowledge, the Smartthings ecosystem is as close as we can get, at least with any hope of reusing any of the Iris hardware. And that is only certain second and third generation hardware.

Now I am going to reiterate MY UNDERSTANDING which could possibly be faulty, about the differences between the features sets of Smarrtthings vs Smartthings ADT.

Simply put, the ADT hub has the touch screen interface with the “keypad”. There is cellular failover available with paid professional monitoring, which are features we are used to with Iris. Although support for existing Iris hardware does not integrate with the official ADT alerting. However via IFTTT that support, although unofficial is there.

The regular smartthings does not offer cellular failover for any of its services, keypads are an add on via custom programming similar to a windows driver. (Perhaps not the best analogy).

It looks like Scout and Noonlight and the average seems to be about $19.99 / month. This is absolutely dependent upon constant internet connectivity and of course cloud services being up. This can be addressed using a dual WAN router with cellular failover.

With any camera monitoring , assume you are using at least 3 Ring cameras and want logging / video storage, thus you opt for the $10.00 / month or $100.00 / year service. You are at $29.99 / month for services. Yes that is cheaper than the $45.00 month that you would pay for ADT Total Security Bundle + Ring video storage. However you get cellular backup for the extra money so is it really that bad?

I cannot speak to Abode, however I can say that ADT and Samsung are both well established companies with less of a chance of failing in short order. Obviously not impossible, but less likely.

Just from MY personal comfort level, I am happier I guess you could say, going with ADT Smartthings. I have the one door that I want the luddite visitor using and I can mount the hub close enough to that door if I can set a delay, they can easily get to the hub and disarm the alarm using the built in keypad. (On the wall next to the smart thermostat). Due to the layout of my house, that point is actually pretty much center of the house, equidistant from front, and back doors… But my layout is odd…

And lastly, reconsider your determination to have a keypad at all. The ADT hub to my knowledge can be paired with an ADT keychain remote to control alarm functions.

So long story short, there appear to be a LOT of options available to us Iris orphans, however whatever replacement systems there are, there WILL be some difference from what we are used to. We need to determine for ourselves what our absolute must haves, and can live withouts are. My needs will likely be different from yours. Good luck with your migration and enjoy the new system!


I have both the standard Smartthings hub and the ADT hub in service, as a former IRIS customer.

What I found is that the ADT panel is really cool in that you can assign different codes to different people. The touch screen arming is a great feature as long as you can be satisfied with the touch screen as the only entry/exit point.

Potential customers need to keep in mind that the ADT hub will only perform security functions if you use ADT compliant devices. Just make sure that you buy ADT door/window sensors and ADT motion detectors. They are the same price or even cheaper in some cases than the samsung counterparts. The same is true of fire/smoke alarms. My first alert smoke alarms get paired correctly but they will never report to ADT as they are not ADT compliant units.

Other than thew security component, the ADT hub seems to work the same as the regular smartthings hub.

For example I added my water leak sensors, and they paired right up. They do not qualify for ADT response, but I was not worried abut that. I just put in a automation to notify me if any of the sensors detected water. This is different than the IRIS system, where things like water sensors automatically notified and even turned on any sirens on the system.

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One Rube Goldberg type option would be to take an ADT keyfob and mount it in a weatherproof lockbox with a regular combination lock.

There are lots of these, they’re designed for anything from holding a key to covering up a switch outdoors. You just have to find one that’s the right size and aesthetically acceptable to you.


That way the keyfob is always there, but you do need to know a code to get to it.

If you want to be able to limit access to the keyfob to specific days or times you will need to get a smart lock box that can be programmed, which will be both more complex and more expensive.

Or, of course, you can always just use a smart lock on the door and have the person able to open the door and get to the regular ADT panel to disarm it during the grace period.

So just comes down to what you need.