Help Please > Looking for whole home setup advice

(rob) #1

Hello All,

I have come across the Smartthings hub and system but wondering if it will be right for the setup I am looking for. Can anyone point me in the right direction, let me know if Smartthings is the right system and will do what i need?

I am looking for a system that:

Works with Hue lights, understands preset ‘scenes’ and can transition (not just fast switch) between them
Works with Tado thermostats
Works with Alexa
Works with Sonos

I have also seen an app called Action Tiles, I love the look of this as I want to stick a couple of Amazon Fire tablets on the walls to act as control points for the house. Is this app any good? Will I be able to get the lighting control I want using this? Any other apps for Fire that are good as central control points?

I also want things to happen automatically, like, when the Hue motion sensor detects movement AND all lights are off, selected lights switch on automatically to a preset brightness and colour. I also want to be able to turn lights on and off when I am not home as well as have a ‘all lights off’ type button to hit as I leave the house.

Any advice on setup would be appreciated!



(Welcome! I’ve moved this to projects so you can get individualized responses based on your own needs and preferences.)

SmartThings can do a lot of things very well, but unfortunately it’s fairly weak when it comes to handling colored lights in groups. With the official features, there isn’t even a way to create a color scene. Nor can it use the scenes created in the official Hue app, even though there is an official integration between SmartThings and Hue.

It can definitely do the “all lights off” and motion sensor options, but when it comes down to precise management of lighting scenes, it’s just not very good at that.

It does work well with Amazon Alexa. The Sonos integration is complicated. At one point customers were being advised not to add more than one Sonos device because having more than one could cause problems with the entire network. I don’t know if that’s still true. But in any case you can’t select playlists or other granular Control with the official features.

There are some community developed offerings which add a lot to the functionality. ActionTiles, which you mentioned, is very good and very popular. You will find much mention of it in the forums. (The original version was called SmartTiles.) there’s even an entire topic just about different hardware options to use with it. You might get some good ideas there regardless of what specific solution you end up going with.

Core is a community – created rules engine, lets you set up much more complex rules than the official features, such as your example of “and the lights are off” – – it’s pretty amazing. Complicated, but there are many community members who will be glad to help you set up specific rules (which core calls “Pistons”). It doesn’t manage existing Hue scenes, though, you basically have to re-create each one in core.

So…if “understands preset scenes” means “understands the preset scenes created through the Hue app,” then SmartThings is not a good match.

And if “works with Sonos” means “works with all the features available through the official Sonos app” then again, SmartThings is not a good match.

Interestingly, none of the devices you mentioned require use of one of the radios inside the SmartThings hub. They are all external integrations. For that reason, you might be able to get a lot of what you want just with a software solution such as IFTTT or stringify or yonomi even a combination of all three.

(Smartthings works with both IFTTT and Stringify but, as I mentioned, I’m not sure you need the SmartThings piece at all.) Yonomi would be another “master app” candidate, except I don’t think it works with Tado. Stringify doesn’t work with Tado directly, but IFTTT does, so I think you would have to add that in. Unfortunately, I originally thought stringify works with Sonos, but I had it confused with yonomi. So I’m not sure exactly how you’re going to be able to work the Sonos piece in.

So my suggestion for the moment would be to start with Stringify, and see how far you get.

You’ll also need the Tado IFTTT channel.

And if you want to see what you can do with Sonos, you may need to look at yonomi as well. Yonomi does give you integration between Alexa and sonos, so depending on the exact use cases, that might be enough.

It may be that that’s enough to meet all of your existing requirements. I’m not sure what SmartThings would add to the solution for you, since you don’t have a hardware requirement for it given the list you presented. And Stringify has better granular control of Hue lights and scenes.

You can always add SmartThings in later if you find you do you have a need for it, but with your particular situation, I would start with stringify. :sunglasses:

(rob) #3

Thank you so much for the really informed reply. So it looks like as Smart things is not all that compatible with Hue it will be a no to this.

I have just come across this controller:

This is basically what I want, a wall mounted touch screen that will control the lights, Sonos and temperature. However of course this is early stage and not available for the UK. Kinda just want something simple to tie everything together in one touch panel. but this seems like too much to ask at the moment.

Any thoughts on Wink?

Home in the Apple ecosystem does not have the level of Hue control I am looking for, so may just have to settle for this for the time being.

if I could find something that would install on a tablet, look like Activetiles and have the level of control I stated above, I would be a happy man!


SmartThings has some compatibility with Hue, it’s just that it is on the individual bulb level, not scenes. If you were getting SmartThings for other reasons, adding a Hue bridge makes sense. But if you just have a Hue bridge, SmartThings is not going to be the best way to manage it.

As far as the brilliant device, as you mentioned, that’s a marketing campaign for a device which hasn’t been released on the market yet. Those always look really cool, but there’s no telling what it will actually be once it does come to market.

You could definitely get what you wanted with control4. The problem is that that’s a very expensive system, typically 10% of the price of the home plus an annual maintenance fee. So it’s more for customers like Richard Branson, not us everyday folk. :wink:

Barring that, there’s nothing to keep you from putting stringify on a tablet. The problem, though, is the Sonos piece. You could flip between the stringify app and the Sonos app, but I know that’s not ideal.

As for Wink, it’s OK, has a fairly limited feature set and device selection. Wink has basically the same limitations as SmartThings with regard to your set up: doesn’t do hue scenes, does even less with Sonos than SmartThings does. It has a slick wall mount tablet/intercom for the devices it does support, but I don’t think it solves your issues.

(rob) #5

Thanks again, I will give stringify a go once the bits start getting installed - electrician starts next week.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #6

Are you using the Amazon echo or other Alexa enabled devices?

If yes, along with the hue bridge, you can have voice activation and control over hue scenes.