I have started using the SmartThings devices and I love them, but I have some of the issues that others have. I want a wall mounted dashboard to control lighting around my home from any room. I also want the wall mounted device to act as an intercom.
Before I get started the ambitious programming venture. I would like to know if there are any out of the box apps that allow you to have a SmartThings Dashboard plus intercom system on any Android Tablet or iPad? I have done some searching but haven’t found any, so I am here to ask the experts.
There was quite a bit of interest in the use of dashboard tablets as intercoms, but once Amazon introduced the intercom feature on their echo products, they pretty much took over the device class, at least for audio only intercoms.
An Echo Dot has a regular price of $49 and goes on sale every few months for a bit less and it’s just hard to beat given all the other features it also has, including home automation control and the fact that it’s totally hands-free. And with the farfield voice recognition, you can put it pretty much anywhere in the room, something which is not true with most tablet intercom options where you may have to be within a foot of the device to make it work well.
As far as the dashboard itself goes, the third-party actiontiles is very popular for use with SmartThings. It has pretty much everything except the intercom feature, and will run on most web browsers, so you can use it with very inexpensive tablets. ( it was previously called smarttiles, but that version is no longer available). Color, font, and tile selection are all customizable.
There are a couple of other dashboard projects in the community which are available for free, and you can find them on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki on the “dashboard” list.
If you do run one of the dashboards on an android tablet, there are some intercom apps that you could run on the same tablet and might work for you, but nothing specific to SmartThings and they would all require leaving the dashboard app and starting the intercom app so again, the hands-free options from Amazon are just a lot easier to use.
Here’s a good how to article on enabling the intercom feature on echo devices. Note that the process has changed since it was first released, so if you’re reading things about it from other sources, make sure that they are recent.
(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy)
Amazon Fire tablets have built-in Alexa by holding the home button. Amazon Fire is a very popular tablet for running ActionTiles.
Unfortunately, currently this does not support the drop-in / calling / intercom feature.
However, you can install the Alexa App to use the calling features…
I’ve seen some really cool wall mounted setups using Android tablets.
I don’t think there’s anything quite out of the box that does both dashboards and intercom, but there are some good dashboard solutions out there. If you don’t want to go the Alexa route, you can put together a custom dashboard with quick access to your home automation controls as well as intercom features. Basically use the dashboard to mashup all your desired features.
This post shows one using a custom Android home screen to display relevant data (weather, house status, etc) along with quick actions for accessing things like cameras, house control, etc.
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