Investing in a Security System or continue with Smartthings - Advice & opinions welcome

security
alarm
presence
smarthomemonitor

(Patrick Eustace) #1

I’ve been asking the community questions over the last few weeks as I continue to expand my STs cover in my home. I’ve gotten great responses so far. I’m still stuck in between two minds as to whether I shell out money on a Professionally installed alarm system or to stick with Smartthings.

To me SmartThings covers about 90% of what I want an alarm system to do (And has other attractions which a standard system doesnt allow for - integrations to IFTT or Philips Hue lighting for example)

Where I see SmartTings lacking is the following areas

  1. The prevalence of external sirens/alarm boxes (There seems to be a lack of supported models)
  2. Presence Sensor tags are unreliable (I posted before how my wife’s sensor’s battery showed 0% battery after only a few days). Note, when they battery is working I do find them reliable in terms of enabling/disabling the alarm
  3. A delay on the alarm activating (If you dont have a presence sensors or it malfunctions you’d rather not have the alarm ring when you enter home. Like a standard alarm, can you delay the onset of the ST alert notification and provide some reminder to the person who just entered the home that the alarm must be disabled?)

So far I have a number of motion sensors and multi sensors installed in my home, and they are working as expected for now. I would like to stick with ST as I have already invested in it. I understand others have concerns about any downtime for ST but I could live with that. Sticking with ST would also allow me to install Smart Sensors for Smoke, Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms.

Any pointers for alternatives to Presence Sensors, suggestions on good compatible external alarms and options on disabling/setting the alarm if you do not have a working presence sensor?

Thanks all!


(Andy - United Kingdom) #2

@peustace
In my own case I use both
I have smartthings running a large part of my home (lights, sockets, voice announcements etc…)
But… I would NEVER rely on ST to secure my home on its own.
I secure my house with a normal house alarm.
Yes, I have door sensors & motion sensors to control things and let me know when things move.
I also have two internet lines into my home (1 is business)
I also have about 6hrs of battery backup on my routers, firewalls and smartthings. I even have a generator I can hook up to keep things going if necessary!
I have tried to cover almost every eventuality to maintain my internet connection as obviously smartthings is pretty much useless without 'the cloud’
But. If my isp goes down for whatever reason… I’m buggered… at least smartthings is.
The smartthings system is just not reliable enough to keep any home secure. Updates pushed to your hub can go wrong, Smartthings cloud frequently has problems which stop your system working as it should.

Having said all that… I love SmartThings and what you can do with it.
My wife loves that she gets an announcement when the washing machine or tumble dryer has finished (she’s not so keen on most of the automated lights)
To me, Smartthings is a hobby, it requires too much maintenance and constant attention (e.g. Changing batteries etc) to ‘fit and forget’ which any conventional security system normally is.

Botton line… fit a security alarm to secure your home and consider Smartthings as an ‘add-on’


(Mark) #3

I think this is excellent advice and a pretty succinct summary of what’s wrong with ST specifically for the purposes of security and fire safety.

It’s great for convenience notifications, like your washer is done, but it’s not adequate for potentially serious safety issues. I’m in the US, but the same logic applies in the UK too.


(Mark) #4

Too many false alarms with ST in my experience so I switched it off as you could not rely on it. Fit a proper security alarm at home instead.

For the best of both worlds my home security alarm links to ST via Envisalink and so I can see the alarm status via ST among other things.


(Ron Talley) #5

Same here. Can use all of my DSC Alarm System Sensors such as smoke, glass break, motions, contacts and even the panels in ST via EVL4 and an Alarm Server running off of a Pi3.

Even have delayed entrance and exit.

I WOULD NOT USE ST by itself. Too unreliable.


(Larry) #6

take a look and my modified version of smart alarm… I have integrated it with hue and it can alert using lights and color as well as alarm… I also my own device to be used as a dashboard. But again it does not replace a real alarm system. But it works well enough for me to use in two houses.


(cjcharles) #7

Agree with all advice above, don’t use ST for alarm, there are some great alarm options out there, and several of which plug straight into ST (though can stand alone completely which helps them meet insurance company requirements - can reduce some premiums in some cases). There are also some wireless ones which can be installed yourself for not much money, if that was a benefit of ST and wireless sensors, these would be even better as the batteries would be designed to last 3 years rather than 1.
Have a look at the security and alarm tags on this forum to find a list of projects in the area.


(Trevor Shaw) #8

You are defiantly looking at alarm system but you could have a look at the helix the link to there website is here http://resolutionproducts.com/products/helix-platform/. But the only thing is I am not sure if it supports Philips Hue but it supports a wide range of zwave devices.


(Patrick Eustace) #9

Thanks all for the excellent responses. Based on what I’ve heard from you all it’s pretty obvious that STs shouldnt be used as the primary Security system for a home.
@TKS - thanks for the info on Helix but it appears to be US based - right?
Does anyone know of a certified alarm system which can provide notifications/updates to SmartThings? This would allow me to go go with a certified dealer but also still use my ST for alerts

Thanks


(cjcharles) #10

At liberty of advertising my own alarm system integration, I went down the Visonic Powermax route. It is not difficult to DIY the install as it is all wireless (though can be pro installed), counts as a Class 2 alarm system (from memory that was the right name for it) since it can detect jamming and support phone notifications and all sorts, has a few siren options, remote keypad/RFID tags/…
Plus with the integration I have got all of the sensors as separate devices in SmartThings and get notifications on state change (which then trigger photos to be taken on my CCTV etc etc). [RELEASE] Visonic Powermax Alarm


(Trevor Shaw) #11

Yes it is a US product the helix. I thought they would have brought it out to the UK already been out for a couple of years. Alarm system wise there DSC alarm system or paradox 5050 panel alarm system will work with most GMS and there are many a there alarms and the same company I mentioned earlier Resolution they sell GSM in the UK that are certified that allows you to control your alarm and Z wave devices for info.