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

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.


Keep in mind that even if you add cloud dependent functions on the system. Only those pieces will be dependent on the cloud. The keypad for instance would only effect your ability to arm/disarm the system. It wouldn’t make the ADT Smartthings panel be unable to server it’s security function because the smartthings connected device is running in the cloud. It would certainly be inconvenient to have the keypad quit working from time to time, but your house would still be secure.

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One thing to keep in mind is that though you are completely right in that only the ADT sensors can actually notify the ADT call center for alert actions, there are ways to run the system in a non monitored manor with standard smartthings devices. ADT Tools 2 goes a long way in enabling many security functions in that manor.

You are certainly right about the cloud response or often NO response and you get the bluurp sound and have to reenter the code. Of course by then your sirens are all going off and your phones are ringing from Iris!

My concern here is that using the new app does that work?

ADT Tools 2 does work in the new app. Currently any smartapp that is installed from the classic app is also available in the new app. The virtual buttons that are part of the ADT Tools 2 app also work and usable in the new app.

OK, sounds great!

As a new smartthings user I am not using the classic app, and am not going to use it. The hub I bought can only be activated using the new, supported app, and regardless of the thoughts of folks that have been using ther classic app for years, I strongly suspect that it’s days are limited.

So… I won’t be installing any applications or devices that are not supported in full by the Samsung smartthings app.

I was just orphaned by system and venbdor that I put my trust in (IRIS) and will not expose myself to that kind of thing by intentionally using an application that has already been replaced.

That makes perfect sense to me, but following along on that logic, there’s one more bit of bad news.

Remember that I said that smartThings is in the middle of a big transition right now? New hub, new app, new cloud platform.

The new cloud platform isn’t finished yet, but it’s very different.

Right now, just as anyone can write a custom device type handler and add it to their own account, anyone can write a “smart app” in the groovy programming language, add it to their own account, and it will run on SmartThings servers in the SmartThings cloud.

Anything that you “publish to yourself,” including ADT tools 2, is right now written in groovy and running in that cloud.

All of that is going away. We don’t know exactly when, but we do know that it is. :disappointed_relieved:

replacing it is a completely new structure where each developer has to host their own code and then communicate with smartthings through a REST API. That should greatly reduce the processing load on the SmartThings cloud, but it also means that all the great stuff which is already written won’t work anymore. There won’t be a groovy cloud left to run the code. And it’s not at all clear that custom code will have access to the same system variables that it has access to today. We just don’t know yet.

So when that day comes a lot of the stuff that was running won’t run. Maybe some of the developers will have their own servers and either freely or by subscription make that available to other people. Maybe individual customers who want to run custom code will have to operate their own servers. Again, we just don’t know yet.

So if you really want to futureproof your system as much as possible right now, not only should you stick to the new app: you should stick to the new official features. Don’t use anything which requires custom code, even if it “works” with the new app after you install it via the classic app.

And if you really want to evaluate the SmartThings system compared to your own needs, you should evaluate it on the basis of just the official features.

If you’re a coder and you think you will be using the new platform, here’s a discussion thread on that:

But if you’re buying the ADT/smartthings hub model because the official features are insufficient for your needs but you think the community – developed ADT Tools custom code will fill in the gaps, you’re relying on the old groovy platform. So you just need to be aware of that.

I don’t know if @Mavrrick58 is already working on a version that will work on the new platform or not, and if so, whether he expects to host it for everyone or whether he expects each person to run their own server. And I’m not sure at all whether he can make it work on the new platform because of the changes in exposed variables. Obviously those answers could make a difference as well.

Great post!

That is exactly why I am not using the old app, or anything that requires custom DTH’s or smartapps to run properly.

Ok, So you understand that the “ADT tools 2” Smartapp that @Mavrrick58 authored is custom code written by a community member? It’s not part of the official features even though it can run with the new app after you have installed it with the classic app.


Even though the custom code is probably really useful I will not use it only to be dissapointed when it gets disabled.

The trick is, as I think you posted, that potential buyers of smartthings hubs need to evaluate them based on the officially supported devices and functions, not what it used to be, or what they hope it might be in the future.

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Under the premise of only wanting to use things that are guaranteed to work in the future Smartthings environment you both are totally right. The groovy platform is certainly on it’s way out. The question is just when it will happen.

It is unfortunate they are taking the route they are because it will make custom stuff like ADT Tools much more complicated to provide. I honestly don’t know exactly what can be done yet. I have dabbled with it though so it is on my radar. Just not %100 what will be able to be done. I suspect some of the functions may end up being limited.

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As a Lowes Iris refugee, and wIth how deeply discounted SmartThings ADT products are right now and how places like BestBuy have marked some of the sensors as Sold Out instead of letting you back order them, I’d be very concerned about placing trust in the ADT product line.

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The last time Samsung did this was when the v3 hub was coming out with all the new 2018 devices. It was a hard time finding any of the 2015 models. The Best Buy shelves were bare and the employees didn’t know anything.


Well, to me that would say don’t buy a new ADT hub and sensors until they are replaced by a new model. Without Samsung making a clarification, there is no reason to trust a product that appears to be a discontinued, especially if you are going through all of the work / money to replace an existing discontinued system.

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