Home Automation - Need, Want and Would be Cool

This thread is for everyone to freely air their opinion of what home automation is to them in their personal home environment.

Please don’t use it to rant or rave how SmartThings is doing something right or wrong or if you see something that is missing in the product today. Try to keep the conversation to just what the topic title says:

  1. I really need to SmartThings to do this in my home because…
  2. I really want to SmartThings to do this in my home because…
  3. It would really be cool if SmartThings would do this because…

Be creative, talk to others in your house or ask your family and friends what they would like if they had HA. Maybe some of our conversation will spark someone in here to come up with something that fulfills that need, want or does something really cool that in the end will provide value to us all.


Ready… Set… Go…!

Honestly, my need list is pretty much fulfilled. I do have a lot of wants.

I want my house to be more responsive. I want better presence detection in and around the house; how many people are in room for example.

I would be really cool if I could speak to my house in plain English from any room and have the house respond with relevant information or take appropriate actions.


I want a desktop program that allows me to easily setup all my automation scenarios on one screen, allowing me to add delete and change the smartapps without having to go through multiple pages on my phone or IDE.

I want that desktop program to also give ST permission to wake on lan (WOL)

I also want the presence sensor tp include BT and a panic button. BT could help you find your keys or phone while away from the house (similar to trackr/tile) and the panic button could tell your phone to send out a distress message to friends and family with your location.

I think it would be cool it there was a ST hub for cars (maybe a Viper partnership) that allowed you to remote start, roll up and down windows, change a/c setting, lock your doors.

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I agree with @Jonathan_McGuire. There needs to be a web based control of SmartThings. The app is for quick access but can be time consuming for setup (will not get into the layout this has been discussed in many other threads) I would love a way to setup calendar events to control SmartThings. For example Vacation mode or Guest/Visitors mode.

I would love it if SmartThings had an Intercom or a working speaker system (sorry Sonos setup is unreliable and annoying)

If there was a BT (ibeacon) sensor for each room so your house really new what room you were in based on your phone.

Over all more reliable would be nice as well.

its a workaround but its works for now

I have a lot of different people coming through my house, many of whom don’t have smart phones. And who are at different trust levels.


  1. SCHEDULE VIEWS. So in addition to basic reliability, I need my home automation system to have a good rules engine and a simple way to view the scheduler so I can tell what I’ve already set to happen when. Right now I literally have spreadsheets taped to the door.

  2. SWITCHES. I need simple intuitive physical switches in a form factor my service dog can use. Including some battery operated ones.

  3. REMOTES. I need a tv-type remote that also controls IR devices with at least 12 buttons and NOT mini size.

  4. NEAR RANGE PRESENCE DETECTION. I need reliable presence detection that is limited to a range of 50 - 75 feet. (This is my bus stop problem. As someone in a wheelchair it can take me 5 minutes to get off the bus down the street from my house. I don’t want “I’m back” to trigger until I’m closer to my door.) It would be great to have microlocation indoors, but I don’t need it the way I need to solve the bus stop problem.


  1. VIRTUAL DEVICES. I really want the ability to create virtual devices within the mobile app itself without having to touch the IDE, but it’s not a need, just a want.

  2. I have pretty good voice control now using Siri and IFTTT, but I’d like more and better. And with a wearable. :blush:

  3. I really want touchless proximity switches so I can trigger things with a hand wave but they don’t trigger when someone just walks by. Really want this for both wall switches and tabletop. But can work around it. These typically trigger at 2 to 10 millimeters.


  1. I want the ability to view the routing tables to identify orphans and places where I need to add repeaters, but I don’t need it.

  2. better smart lock support so I can access more of the lock’s functionality without custom code.


  1. drop down refrigerator shelves. Basically this:

But inside a refrigerator. :blush:

Or this, but motorized, :sunglasses:



Did you see the Fibaro Swipe yet? It was demoed at CES 2015. Looks cool.

Very cool, but I think not for sale yet.

To me the HA System needs to do the following:


  • Lock up on command or condition
  • Notify me if security compromised
  • Monitor and notify on leaks, smoke and CO2
  • Notify me if “off limits” areas compromised (gun safe, pool area, etc.)

In making the list above, I realize that since I’m saying this is a “NEED”, that I should install a fail-over system that will work when power and or internet is out. So I will be getting a UPS and Cellular fail-over modem/router.

I want motion sensors just like the ones that are used with alarm.com/Simon XT/i systems. i.e. zero false triggers from pets and pet vacuums. That would be another step towards enabling ST for alarm/security use. I’d still want current style motion sensors which are great for response for lights and room presence. Just another option specifically for security alarm level sensitivity. For most of us, we’d only need one or two of these.

An ST connected alarm panel that operates just Simon XT/i or similar models for PIN, arming/disarming, status. Uses Hub v2 cell backup when primary link cut or whatever network and backup hub is connected to. (I have a 4G backup ISP with instant auto fail over through a Peplink).

Along with some of the video storage/pay services being considered with Hub v2, consider offering alarm.com style security monitoring (call police/fire) if I don’t respond services. i.e. steal the Alarm market!

Plants/Soil Moisture
Soil moisture sensors for indoor and outdoor with app to customize moisture level and/or duration to trigger “time to water xx plant” notification.

Data analysis
In house or partnerships and integration with Thingspeak or Xively to store and evaluate data from sensors or event we select. Make it a standard option in many devices or smartapps. Work out plan on appropriate frequency of writes. Batch update during off peak hours. It’s about allowing data analysis for things like energy usage without having to manually write apps for each device type. Not about real time monitoring.

Blinds and Shades
Seems like a big opportunity here to bring new customers to ST. Somfy is just too expensive to deploy. Look at some of the kickstarters. Like Tilt My Blinds. Lower cost hardware that is integrated with SmartThings.

Cars, Automatic, ODBII (presence)
My two favorite new toys in 2014 were ST and my Automatic. Integration possibilities. Help with presence detection. A lot could be done with a partnership.

Unlock everything in IFTTT so we can do more. My extra virtual switch workarounds seem to slow down my experience.

I mentioned this in the topic on smart appliances, but another would be cool for those whose utility companies offer tiered pricing would be a washer, dryer, and dishwasher that let you:

A) lock out appliance use until a specific time, with a visible count down timer until next cheap power period and a pin code override. All able to be controlled remotely, of course.

B) track usage over time

C) send a reminder/alert when used during high cost power


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