Iris convert--need some information


#1

Howdy… I’ve been a satisfied Iris user for going on 2 years. I signed up for a version 2 hub right away but never actually upgraded because I have everything working how I like so I didn’t want to break it LOL! I’m now being gently encouraged by the app (via a pop-up and big red banner) to upgrade or die by 6/30. After reading up on the “upgrade” I’m thinking they killed a couple things that I rely on plus there have been gaps that have annoyed me (no IFTTT or Apple Watch support) so I’m looking at my other options… Smartthings appears to do most of what I’m looking for and will work with a lot of my current hardware so I’m thinking about jumping ship. Before I take the plunge, I want to make sure I understand what I’m getting into…

Current setup:

  • 4 old school door/window sensors that all chime on my keypad when opened
  • big keypad with speaker
  • 1 GE hard wired outlet that turns on/off as I come & go
  • 1 smart plug that also turns on/off as I come & go
  • 1 key fob that tells Iris when I come and go
  • 1 GE hard wired light switch
  • 1 GE outdoor light module
  • 1 utilitech water sensor (still in package)
  • 1 utilitech glass break sensor (still in package)

From what I’ve been able to gather so far, I think my GE stuff should be good to go. I think the smart plug will also be ok but I’m not sure. I’m pretty positive my door/window sensors would be useless as well as the keypad and fob.

To replicate what Iris does now I’m thinking I need the Smartthings hub, fob and compatible door/window sensors. What I’m not sure about is if the utilitech sensors should just go back to the store, if I need a different smart plug and if I need something to provide the audible chime when the doors open. I don’t want or need anything loud like a siren, I just like knowing when my kid opens the door to go out and play w/o asking first etc when I’m in a different room… Also I have several text alerts set up (one of the things I think Iris v2 will kill), one for a shed door that isn’t locked and shouldn’t open very often and another for when my smart plug turns off/on so I know it shuts off when I leave (I’m paranoid LOL). Can I still get the text alerts with Smartthings? Also will I still be able to have the plug and outlet automatically turn on/off as I come and go? Thanks in advance and sorry for such a long post!


(Steve White) #2

By old school, are you referring to the boxy/rectangular sensors that you used on V1? If so, then no those will not work, along with your keyfob as well. But there is hope. Until V1 shuts down, Lowe’s is accepting returns on V1 equipment. If you have the receipt you’ll get your money back, if not you’ll get a store credit. Over the past few days I have successfully returned Iris stuff purchased as far back as 2013, and without boxes.


#3

Thanks for the suggestion! I bought a starter kit in like July 2014 that had the hub, keypad, 2 door sensors and motion sensor then I bought the fob and other 2 door sensors a couple days later… I’ve gotten enough use from them that I’m ok with them being “sunk costs” :slight_smile:

I’m mainly trying to figure out if I’m going to lose any functionality and what I’d need to re-buy in order to make an informed decision… The utilitech sensors I’ll probably try to return though if they are not compatible since those are still in the plastic and have been purchased in the last 60 days…


#4

Most of your Zwave devices can be used with Smartthings. Your first generation zigbee devices cannot. So you need to look on the back of each one and see which protocol it is certified for.

For example, GoControl Zwave contact sensors would work fine with SmartThings. NYCE Zigbee devices (1st gen) would not.

The Utilitech water sensor would work with ST. Last I heard (about a year ago) the glass break sensor did not, but that might’ve changed.

There is a second-generation zigbee keypad from Iris that will work with smartthings. The first generation one will not.

As far as the come and go geopresence presence detection and triggering events off of that, it’s an officially supported feature, it is supposed to work, but in practice it works well for some people and not so well for others. There are a lot of forum topics discussing “presence” that you can read.


(Steve White) #5

You can keep all of your Utilitech sensors as they will work fine. There is a DTH which works on the Glassbreak sensor. I have modified it a bit for my use to make it more visually appealing, but the DTH acts as a contact sensor. It works, I’ve been able to test it and have it set SHM off.

It’s just those pesky Iris-branded legacy sensors you cannot use.


#6

Also if you can give us the brand and model number on the smart plug, we can let you know about compatibility for that.

On the text messaging there are many features in smart things which allow for text messaging, but not all, so it’s likely that there’s a way to do that but it may not be one of the out-of-the-box features.

We should note that most of the messaging allows you to do a push notification and one text message but not send text to multiple accounts.

People used to do that by having the text message go to IFTTT, but now IFTTT has cut back on the amount of SMS messages they allow you to send, so that’s gotten more complicated if you want to notify more than one person for an event.

So again, it just comes down to the exact details of each use case.

There are also some different options available depending on whether you are using an android Smart phone or iOS or Windows, so that can also make a difference.

As with many other features, smartthings is very versatile and very powerful but it doesn’t have a single set way of solving most cases. Consequently, it can be difficult to say yes or no that something is possible without getting into the details of exactly what you would like to see.


#7

What are the geopresence options? I do not tend to care for phone app based presence detection which is why I liked the Iris fob. Occasionally it would go off in the weeds (that’s why I also had the text alerts to make sure stuff was shutting off when I wanted it to) but it was normally fairly reliable. Are you saying the Smartthings fob is kinda flaky or app based presense detection isn’t the greatest? Also I see there is a Smartthings branded fob for sure but are there other (aka cheaper) alternatives that work just as well?

Thanks for the help!


#8

There are several phone based options, including using life 360, which is popular because then you don’t have to give the person admin access to your smart things account.

There’s also the physical smartthings branded device which works very similarly to the iris device with the same kinds of technical challenges. That’s the one that was discussed in the thread I previously linked to. This device works great for many people, but runs into Wi-Fi interference at other people’s houses. It’s hard to predict until you’ve tried it.

Because of the versatility of the smart things platform, people also do all kinds of variations. I myself use I beacons because I’m in a wheelchair and I wanted my Geo presence to trigger in a very specific location, at the base of the wheelchair ramp at my front door. I didn’t want to trigger while I was still sitting on the bus. So at my house the detection area is limited to about 8 feet.

Some people who are very technical have written code where their own Wi-Fi router can recognize when their phone is connected to it. It’s similar to general Geopresence but they have tuned it just the way they want it.

So there are a lot of variations. I’m really happy with the IBeacon method because it’s solid. And as I mentioned, I can really fine-tune the detection radius. But it’s not a cheap solution and most people probably don’t need that degree of granularity.

P.s. I am quadriparetic, and depend on voice recognition software. Consequently, I typically have to edit my posts about four times before they say what I meant to say. So don’t be surprised if the post first comes up with some very strange phrasing in the middle of it, or even a paragraph repeated two or three times. I’ll get it polished, it just takes a minute or two. :wink:


#9

Good news, turns out there is a community-created device type handler for the Utilitech glass break detector:


#10

Ok one thing I have not seen an answer on yet that is important is the ability to have a “chime” when a door/window sensor opens. With Iris this sound comes from my big keypad that I have centrally located within my house so I can hear it from anywhere I care to hear it from. Do the Smartthings sensors themselves have a chime option or does the hub have an option to make a sound when a sensor opens? I don’t want to go the text message or phone app notification route because I have dogs that go in and out ALOT and just hearing a tone for a second each time is no big deal but if I got a text or pop-up every time, that would get old really fast… Yet that is the door my daughter would go out if she was going to go play without asking first so if it opens any time other than when I’m right there, I want to know about it so completely disabling any kind of alerting for that door wouldn’t work either…


#11

The $49 Aeon doorbell has two pieces, a pushbutton and a chime mechanism that can play many different sounds including custom MP3s. When you’re using SmartThings, the pushbutton is optional: you can trigger the sounds off of any event that smartthings can recognize.

So many people in this community use that. You can set it up so that a different sound plays for a different sensor or at a different time of day. It comes with some built-in sounds, including the chime.

Set up is tricky, so it gets a lot of low reviews on Amazon from people who couldn’t figure out how to make it work. But if you use the custom created device type for smartthings and get help from the community here, most people find they can be very successful with it. :sunglasses:

Another option is one of the many speakers with sound capability that can be controlled through SmartThings. Sonos is an obvious example, but there are also many others. This is another popular option.

So, yes, you can definitely have a chime sound triggered by many other events. :sunglasses:


#12

Ok, just to clarify then, I will need some other device that is capable of playing sound in order to have the door “chime” feature, the hub itself and the sensors are not capable of this at all right? Any suggestions on the cheapest option? I’m not looking for anything fancy like custom tones or being able to distinguish which sensor has been opened, I just want a simple tone whenever a door opens…

Thanks for your help BTW!


#13

Oh and I did decide I’d try and take the plunge so I ordered the hub and the presence fob off Amazon. Since the Lowe’s 2nd gen door sensors are almost 1/2 the price and my local store had some in stock I opted for those instead. When I went to the store I saw the new Iris fob so I checked here real quick to see if I could use that as a presence detector and a way to control stuff and since it looked like ppl had it working as well as anything else I grabbed that too… Not sure yet if I want to try both fobs and see which one works better or just return the other one to Amazon once it gets here since presence + buttons is better than just presence LOL…


#14

Yes, those second-generation Iris devices are very popular with smart things owners… Excellent value. :sunglasses:

As far as the chime, neither the hub nor the sensors make sounds.

The iris keypad that is compatible with smart things does have some beeps and sound alert features, so if you’re going to get that anyway, that might be all you need. But you’d need to check with people who have one to make sure that smartthings can trigger the sounds.

@mitchp might know.


#15

I don’t actually use the keypad so I wasn’t going to replace that (I originally bought Iris as a security system but since I never actually “arm” the system anymore and instead rely on sensor alerts, it seemed silly to get a new keypad). Since the Iris hub can talk (it says when it is set to home or away mode) I was thinking the ST hub might be able to as well but maybe that wasn’t a fair assumption… I’d hate to buy the doorbell just for the speaker, can you point me to a discussion on different options for devices that can be configured to generate non-siren sound?


#16

The smartthings hub doesn’t have any audio capabilities for the device itself.

Discussion here. :sunglasses: It starts out discussing more expensive options and then gets down into the really cheap ones.

Also, if you can find a really cheap alarm clock which plugs in and continues beeping as soon as power is restored if the power was cut while it was previously beeping, you can just plug it into a smartthings-compatible pocket socket.

There are also cheap ($15 or less) power outage alarms which start beeping when power is cut. People usually use them to monitor freezers and stuff. Anyway, you can use one of those just as well – – plug it into a pocket socket and turn the power off when you want it to beep and turn them back on when you want it not to. It’s just a matter of finding a sound that you like.

Although in order to really save money compared to the $49 aeon doorbell, you probably need to get an alarm clock at a local dollar store. Otherwise you’re paying $20 for the pocket socket and another 15 or 20 for the power failure alarm so you’re not really saving much.


(Steve White) #17

On your earlier comment about Iris Smart Plugs, the V1 model will not work with SmartThings. You can identify those as they are rectangular in shape and have a large round button that illuminates green when on.

I have a very cool however very expensive option for an annunciation. You can buy a Sonos WiFi speaker and have ST play sounds and speech to it. SmartThings has some excellent Text To Speech capabilities. For example, you can have SmartThings tell you which window or door has been opened.

A cheaper alternative to Sonos is to use VLCThing which requires that you run VLC on an always-on PC or Mac. This is exactly the approach I’ve taken and I have my system very nicely emulating what V1 Iris could do and then some.

Some really cool examples I’ve implemented, you’ll note the increase in severity by how ST announces itself.

Announcing when someone arrived:
“This is SmartThings, has arrived home.”

When my photographic film refrigerator temperature goes out of limits:
“This is a SmartThings alert, the temperature in the film storage refrigerator has exceeded safe limits.”

When the refrigerator door is not closed all the way:
“This is a SmartThings warning, the refrigerator door has been open for more than 4 minutes. Please check that the refrigerator door is securely closed.”


#18

The keypad beep was just recently added to the device handler… you can find the code in the forum…


(Jennifer) #19

I was browsing the topics and came across this one. I’m in the same boat. Tons of IRIS v1 door/window sensors, keypads, and fobs. I’m seeing that I may also be out of luck swapping these over when my hub arrives. I am curious though. I don’t want to continue beating a dead horse that’s probably been beat a few good times but I came across another blog where the guy was able to get the Iris V1 smart switch, door/sensors, and I think the fob too working but using XBee on a Pi. It looks like it was a challenge first but he got it done. If someone can get those working outside of the proprietary zigbee, then would that be something ST might look at in the future or is it pretty much old news since they have the centralite models out now? Just trying to figure out if I should wait and hope to use them later or just break down and replace them with confirmed compatible sensors.

Just in case you were curious. It’s a 4 part thread he did as he worked on it.


#20

That particular article has been much discussed in the forums since it first came out. Unfortunately, The method doesn’t work with SmartThings.

The Zigbee standard allows for many different profiles, including manufacturer specific proprietary encoding. The different profiles are really different – – some don’t even use the same addressing schemes.

The profile that SmartThings uses is Zigbee Home Automation 1.2

Devices that use that same profile can probably be made to work with SmartThings, although it may require custom code. This is why the iris generation two devices (in the purple boxes) can usually be made to work with Smartthings. They are using the same profile.

The first generation Iris devices (in the plastic clamshell) used a different zigbee profile. It may be possible to get some of them to pair to SmartThings, but they won’t stay paired.

It would be great if they could be used, and many community members have looked into it over the last year and a half, but it’s just not to be. :disappointed_relieved:

You can use the Z wave devices with both controllers. You can use the zigbee devices that use the ZHA profile. But unfortunately not the other zigbee devices.