Home Security With Some Automation - ST + Abode (or Scout or ?)

I’m with you on the Wyze Cam … crap at $20 I’d put them outside in under my eaves and put them in some kind of cheap enclosure and if it failed - buy a new one. The downside is no native integration with anything through correct? But that’s true of any of the more reasonably priced (like $60’ish or less IMO = reasonably priced) video solutions (Arcrest, etc…)?

One question I have with something like the Wyze Cam (or any of these cameras) is can I use the free 14 day trigger storage that comes with the cameras PLUS use say Blue Iris to continually monitor and record a 24x7 video stream. I think the answer is yes as the camera puts out a RTSP in addition to being able to send motion triggers to their proprietary off-site storage (hate the “cloud” buzz word)?

SUPER helpful dialog with the community BTW - this (and the inexpensive DIY’ish nature of ST) is why I was so attracted to ST in the first place…

That’s good to know - and that holds true regardless of paying for professional monitoring or not? … but if I’m paying for ADT monitoring (and TBH I’d have a hard time swallowing $30-$40/month for that service so not sure I would) - ADT still wouldn’t look at the video to tell me what’s going on if they have an alarm triggered - yes/no?

The scenario that I see monitoring helpful is where I can’t self-monitoring in the first place - hiking in the backcountry and have little to no connectivity, traveling oversees without Internet connection, unreachable by phone, etc… Ideally, someone else would be able to make an intelligent decision on should the police be called for a break-in.

Perhaps I’m asking too much and not willing to pay for it … but it seems like somebody should be offering this kind of service?!? If someone look at an alert coming into a central monitoring station AND they have a video feed immediately available to them - that takes roughly no more work to analyze. This coming from a guy who’s directed 24x7x365 NOC/SOC’s in the past…

Thanks for that HA Report link - I read through that one and it was really helpful to me to compare the three solutions. It was one of the primary articles that pushed me the direction of Abode over SimpliSafe (or Scout now that they started charging for basic features that used to be free). SimpliSafe is the other system that I spent a decent amount of time looking into.

I like everything about the system except for one major, killer (IMO) flaw. It effectively forces you to pay for their premium monitoring service at $25/mo because if you drop premium monitoring - you no longer have access to the mobile apps and the push service. Great - my alarm goes off but if I have no notification of that - who cares? I don’t want to be forced to pay for long-term monitoring.

Now what I’m unclear on is what can be done with a combination of SimpliSafe and SmartThings. If I can have a self-monitored SimpliSafe system (READ: no monthly fees) and take those triggers, send them to SmartThings, and then have SmartThings notify me - then I’m more interested. I like being able to pay $15 or $25 for professional monitoring if I’m headed out of town with my family for a few weeks one or two times a year but not be burned with a contract the rest of the time.

Then the question becomes - just how unreliable is SmartThings if it effectively becomes part of my security (at least the monitoring part) solution. How often, when SmartThings goes “down” (for whatever reason the hub doesn’t communicate with SimpliSafe - or ANY security system for that matter), does it come back up in a functional state? If I’m out of town and ST goes offline for 30 minutes but comes back up and is functional again … not great but unlikely that a critical event happens in that 30 minute window. However, if I’m out of town and ST goes offline for 30 minutes but comes up in a non-functional state that requires physical intervention - they system is offline for a week+ - until I get home and mess with it. That’s a big deal and a non-starter for me (and I’d think more people who are using this as at minimum a 50/50 alarm/home-automation system).

I’ll go trolling through all the SimpliSafe+ SmartThings threads I can find but any thoughts/comments/experiences would be greatly appreicated.

Thanks again - you guys rock.

This is exactly the service that Abode was created to provide. They have a special arrangement with the central monitoring center that they use so the agents there do review the video feeds. This makes it a “verified” call if they do have to call the police for you. They were definitely the first low-end system to offer this, I just don’t know if they are still the only ones.

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I like it … but for video - do I then have to use the Abode cameras or is there some way to leverage amcrest, wyze, arlo, whatever in place of the $150/each and indoor only Abode cameras? I want to put a few cameras outside my house and don’t see any abode cameras available (plus they’re spendy).

Thought I would take another attempt at explaining the ADT system and be a bit more through.

First as already said the ADT part of the system is silo’d from the SmartThings side. So Integration can be limited if they wanted to. That isn’t a bad thing as you want the security system to be as reliable as possible. With that being said all of the sensors from the ADT side are presented to SmartThings for automation. So the sensors do pull double duty and allow automation. The SmartThings side has all of the functionality of the original hubs minus some smart apps. Samsung claims that is to prevent compatibility issues. I haven’t had any problems adding apps back though the IDE though.

The ADT SmartThings system has Door/Window Sensor, Water Leak Sensor, Motion Sensors, Carbon Monoxide Sensors, and Fire sensors that are available. There is also a keyfob but that is simply used to change alarm modes or trigger a panic alert. These create a pretty complete setup. The main panel houses battery backup, cellular radio backup, and a full blow alarm system with all of base functionality you would expect. There is also some TTS functionality built into the panel for the sensors as well. Simply put you can have it chime or say the location name when the contact is opened. ie Front door opened.

One of the biggest complaints people have is that the ADT Side requires the sensors to be the dual branded ADT/Smartthings sensors. If they are not they will never trigger alerts to ADT. This means you can’t just buy any Zwave/Zigbee sensor and expect it to send alerts to ADT. If you were heavily invested in SmartThings already and used Smart Home Monitor this could be a dealbreaker. Since you are not then it is just a matter of making sure you get the right sensors for what you want to do. Generally speaking the sensors are fairly well priced. I purchased all of the Door/windows sensors on sale for $19.99 and at most they seem to be around $25.

Don’t forget of the cost of the sensors. The starter kit is just that a start. You need to look at the size of the space you have to secure, and then how you want to secure it. Motion detectors can help reduce the number of sensors you need by covery a large space, but that also means someone has to be inside to trigger them. If you have pets motion sensors also can be problematic I prefer the perimeter based protection method. Simply put any entry point has a contact sensor. It adds up fast when you consider you have to account for each door and window, but it is a good method to lock things down and potentially stop access before it even starts. I had 18 sensors I needed to get to fully secure my house so the sensors along were about the cost of the starter kit.

Though the system is from ADT there is no contract. You can use it completely unmonitored if you like. There are also 3 plans you can choose from if you want to subscribe for monitoring.
14.95 for essentially Water leak and fire monitoring
24.95 for Intrusion monitoring
34.95 for all of it.
There are also 6 month prepaid plans that allow you to lower the cost a bit. ie if you prepaid for option 2 for 6 months it ends up being around $21 a month.

The ADT setup and management is integrated into the Smartthings Classic App. You add the Sensors from the SmartThings App. Once they are added you go through and configure them with the ADT Dashboard which leans on the ADT’s Canopy system. This isn’t new and technically you can access it from a website. As I was told they don’t really want that, but my point is that this isn’t something that is strictly Smartthings. With that system you setup each sensors type and TTS/Chime information, the location in ADT’s system for monitoring and contact information, and billing. It is very straight forward.

Once that is configured you can now change alarm states from your phone or the panel itself. From your phone you can change the system from Disarm, to Arm/Stay, to Armed/Away at any time without any additional code input. You can do this at any time from anywhere. On the panel you can configure multiple users if you like, and probably should configure a password for each person that will use the alarm. It also has a interface to go through and do a walkthrough test of all of your sensors.

Now that the system is setup what does that mean will happen when alarm is triggered. Well depending on how you setup each sensor they will either give youa entry delay of 1 min or they will trigger immediately. Once the alarm is triggered the ADT Notification app will send you a message with the sensor that has triggered the alarm, and the internal siren will go off. You still get a short period of time to disarm the alarm and not have it trigger a call to ADT. I have seen that happen to me a few times when I was testing the ADT Tools app. The ADT alarm functions are all local services. So if internet goes out it will still be completely functional. Monitoring should work as expected whereas if it keeps going off they simply call you to check. ADT only monitors the sensors they provided though so monitoring a camera is out with them.

This is where many people get frustrated with the ADT SmartThings panel. They realize that all they do is get notifications from the Alarm side when an alarm is triggered. Though they can use the sensors to trigger automations, nothing else was there to extend the ADT integration. The ADT Tools smart app changes that by enhancing notification for mode changes, custom actions based on triggered alarm within SmartThings, and then enabling Alarm state changes from Smart apps. It really extends the functionality allot and I frequently see powerful things the tool can do I didn’t originally think about when creating it.

As far as cameras go as I mentioned earlier the only one I have familiarity with is the Arlo Q. The Arlo line have a wide range of abilities. The Arlo Q is simply a wifi enabled 1080p camera that has 2 way audio, motion and audio detection capability and night vision. Though it doesn’t integrate with the ADT side of the system Arlo Pilot can be used with the system to change modes of the cameras when the alarm changes modes, You an also include the Arlo Camera’s in the apps from ADT Tools to change there state between on and off. The Arlo Camera’s function not only as cameras in SmartThings, but Motion Detectors, and Sound detectors. They aren’t cheap cameras but they are good at what they do, and the video is pretty good quality. with a 120 degree viewing angle you an cover a large area.

You can take a closer look at ADT Tools on “Things that are Smart” to get more details about that app.

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Abode works with Nest cameras Through an official integration from both sides but I don’t really know any more than that. You need to check with someone who is using it to find out more.

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Thanks for the very detailed explanation - greatly appreciated I’m still working through all this but my reservations with the combo ADT-SmarThings system are around price (equipment cost and monitoring cost) and flexibiliy.

The starter kit is one of the most expensive I’ve looked at and has very few sensors ($399 w/ Memorial Day sale ATM). So if I think about the ADT SmartThing device as essentially two unique things in one - then the question is do the economies of scale work out between to have those two functions (security and home automation) combined or separated. With something like Abode or SimpliSafe - the starter system is less than $300 and the SmartThings hub I purchased was like $60 - so having them separate was less expensive and gives me more ultimate flexibility as I can replace either system independently.

I like the streamlined nature of the ADT-SmartThings hub but if I have to use ADT-specific sensors, and they’re “owned” by the ADT-side of the system and then can forward on triggers to the SmartThings side … how is that an different really than say Abode owning the sensors and passing sensor state info to SmartThings? With Adobe, I can also use less expensive (more generic) Z-wave sensors to reduce the equipment cost and monthly costs are less for monitoring if I go that route.

Is the ADT system fully integrated such that the ADT->SmartThings triggers don’t require any IFTTT/middle-ware code to fiddle with? In looking for a clean, easy to maintain system that definitely has merit…

Thanks again

correct. I’m surprised the sale isn’t better for Memorial Day. Its been as low as $250 before I think.

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I am going to attempt to respond to each point in your last post. Hopefuly i don’t ramble to much.

I get the concerns around the price. When I was trying to figure out what system to get price was a big gateing factor for me as well. Ultimately I got the ADT Security Panel on sale for $299 and I also waited for sales to buy the sensors needed. I ended up getting all of my door/window sensors for 19.99. The ADT sensor prices are pretty reasonable tough. Prior to getting the ADT Smart thing panel I was looking at just getting sensor and using SHM with Smartthings. From when i was looking at Amazon pretty much all of the chearper sensors were about the same price as the ADT sensor, allot of sensors cost more though. So it is unlikely just to buy zwave or zigbee sensors and beat the price of the ADT sensors much at all. I looked at Simpli Safe and their door sensors appeard to be a bit cheaper at $15, I also looked at Abode and i think they were $25. I believe they all align.

If you use one of the other security systems they will use the cloud for integration with Smartthings for everything. The ADT Panel and it’s componets acctually function local. That doesnt mean that all of the stuff you want to automate will be independent of the Cloud though. Simply example is the ADT Tools component will run in samsungs cloud. Then the difference is do you have to go between clouds or just from your ADT panel to samsungs cloud. It would be nice if someone with Simpli Save or Abode could talk to how their sensors are presented to Smartthings. The adt sensors appear just like any other sensor and run locally so to smartthings there is no difference between them and any thing else.

The ADT Branded sensors really aren’t out of line with costs for not ADT sensors. The big differnce is that the some ADT Sensors use a different wireless frequency and use enhanced encryption. This is why you have to have a ADT Security hub for the Door/window sensors and the motion sensors. The claim is that this improves there reliability and range. Last thing you want to do is deal with allot of false alarms becuase a zigbee sensor drops off the network. There are also well documented security vulnerabilities that are potential with Zigbee and Zwaved

ADT has two official apps in the store. The first one is for doing notification when the alarm is armed and something happens. The second is for some smart actions with your AC when smoke or carbon mononxide alert is triggered.

To expand beyond that there is the ADT Tools smart app that allows you to manage many different actions. It has several things it integrates. to name a few
Custom notification with alarm mode changes
Perform certain actions when alarm is triggered.
Change mode with virtual momentary buttons.

Because the Chage mode part integrates with Virtual Momentary buttons this allow other automations to do actions based on those button pushes.

There is a ton of potential automation that comes from ADT Tools. The best part is that if you do find a gap in what it can do let me know and there is a decent chance I can get the function added in short order.

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deleting this post to respond directly below

Mavrrick,

I’m in the same position as the OP. Thanks for all of the nformation you have provided here. I am leaning towards going the ADT Panel per your suggestion. I have some Smart Things door sensors, but not enough to worry about them becoming unusable with the ADT.

I have arlo and arlo pro cameras. Is it possible for ADT/Smart Things to trigger my Arlo cameras to start recording when the system detects an alarm? That would be a HUGE benefit.

Thanks again. Looking forward to using your app!

Can you clarify if you mean you want them turned off and then activate them so they can record with motion, or you just want to record a clip for so long up to 5 min when an alarm event happens? If you want to trigger a 5 min clip it may take a bit. I haven’t done anything with the arlo api’s and it would need some research.

I created a fork of arlo pilot that works with the ADT systems. It was actually the very first thing I did as part of my ADT tools integrations. Basically it just enables arlopilots SHM integration to work with the ADT Alarm states.

This project expanded a bit for me in that now you can even use non ADT sensors if you dont mind the system being self monitored. It is still better to use the dual branded sensors but it will lessen. The pain is less if you dont immediately.

I will look into what is involved with triggering the arlo to record from smartthings. This may take a bit.

Thanks for the quick response! I currently have 3/4 of my Arlo Cameras set up so they are just on and I can log into the Arlo app and press play to see what is going on in the house. I do this because we have a dog in the house when we are not home. I didn’t want the cameras constantly getting motion activated and recording whatever the dog is doing. The camera I have outside is set to motion activate and record so I can see who/what comes to the front door.

I would like the 3 cameras I have inside the house to begin recording when an alarm event happens. A 5 minute clip would be great.

I just ordered the ADT hub and sensors due to your recommendations and hard work on the tools app. Looking forward to getting it set up! Thanks again.

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I have yet to find a way submit a command to the arlo cameras to record video. I suspect there is a way through the Arlo Connect integration, but haven’t found it. Even if i do find it i think the best case scenario would be a 2 min recording not five as I previously mentioned. That is just a guess though as they seem to limit it 120 through the Arlo app for set duration recordings. I have found a IFTTT recipe that will do it though based on a contact change state to open.

What I can do and i have already tested, is add the ability to update a virtual contact sensor to open and then closed. That would be enough to trigger the Arlo cameras to record with the IFTTT recipe.

The way you would need to set this up would involve 1. Setup the virtual Contact sensor( i am pondering tryign to have the app do it.) 2. Setup IFTTT with a applet for each camera. IFTTT Arlo Applet for triggered recordings based on contact switch Once that is done it would just be a matter of how to get ADT Tools to update that contact sensor. I am pondering adding it to the Alert child apps that are already out there or creating a child app for it to occur. I will let you know once i get close to finializing the code.

One limitation of this would be that IFTT only allows up to 60 seconds(really 57) for a recording triggered this way. I am looking at possibly creating a loop that would schedule another trip of the contact sensor if the alarm is still going off. Does that sound like something that would work well.

I just thought of one possible option that may be much easier to set up. Can the ADT/Smart things be set up to automatically change the profile on the Arlo system if an alarm is triggered? If it could do that, you could make an Arlo profile that is Armed with motion detection on for all cameras. This profile could then be configured to “record video until activity is stopped” giving you the five minutes of video recording. You could also enable the Arlo Alarm to go off with motion being detected so you have another alarm going off.

Your solution would definitely work as well. I was just thinking the scenario above may be much less work!

Thanks again!

Actually that took me down a road to take a look at Arlopilot again because I knew it had Mode syncronization processes in it.

In Arlopilot there is a way to trigger arlo modes based on a few devices. With that functionality you should be able to simply create a virtual switch that the ADT Alert child apps turns on and then that would change your mode in Arlo to armed or a custom armed state. No changes needed for anything in the ADT Tools. You can even use the ADT Simulated button if you want and that would eanble the feature from the new Smartthings App.

The only problem I see is that this put it all motion to based recording though so if you would just want to trigger a set recording on all of your cameras the ADT tools with IFTTT would still probably be your best optoin.

The fact all of the other child apps do similar fuctions to devices so it isn’t hard to add the ability to trigger a contact switch or button. I already have it mostly written so I will release it soon so you can choose from either option.

The only thing i am not really keen on is the depenedency on another cloud service. Basically it would involved Smartthings telling IFTT which tells Arlo to record. just one more layer of complexity to fail. Arlopilot keeps it all between smarthings and Arlo, but then again it is all motion based which some may not like

I have the child app written that will trigger the ARLO IFTTT integration, and just doing some testing before publishing it to github. I will let you know when I do that.

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I got the new child app working to create multiple recordings using the IFTTT integration. So that is good. Just a bit more testing before I publish it.

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A fellow community member came through in a big way. @evanbeek not only figured out how to trigger the recording and shared what parms he passed to do so, but also provided the code for his app. After reviewing his app and deploying it myself it should not take anytime at all to integrate the function into ADT tools. Similar to before I will let you know when it is completed.

Have you gotten the hub yet and set anything up.

We have hijacked this thread to much already so let’s continue this at ADT release Thread