My Iris to Smartthings migration experience

I am at the point now where I can talk about migration to Smartthings from Iris on a one for one basis as I have reached and now exceeded where I was with Iris.

My Iris system state as of 1/31/2019 when Lowe’s announced the death of Iris.

Iris 2nd generation smart hub.
Iris 2nd generation safe and secure kit. Keypad, 2 contact sensors, and 1 motion sensor.
15 @ Iris 1st generation contact sensors. 2 configured as tilt sensors on hinges for garage doors.
5 @ Iris 1st generation outdoor cameras (OC821). NOT happy with them as outdoor cams…
Iris 3rd generation Zwave smart plug. This is connected to a lamp in the kitchen to simulate light on / off at night to simulate presence…
2 @ Utilitech indoor sirens.

Items that were planned pre existing but not implemented. While Iris integration would have been appreciated, I could have lived with just Ring function only. HOWEVER super happy with how ST integrates them, mostly…
Ring Video Doorbell 2.
Ring spotlight cameras x2, wired.
Ring floodlight camera.

What I chose to replace Iris with and why.
I was already planning on integrating the above mentioned Ring devices, and had bought the Ring doorbell…

I opted for the ADT Smartthings home monitoring starter kit. That got me the ADT SmartThings Security Hub, 2 @ ADT SmartThings Door and Window detectors, and 1 ADT SmartThings motion sensor.
To this I added the 15 Door and Window detectors. And just like Iris, I configured 2 of them as tilt sensors on hinges on the garage doors. This configuration is simply awesome! I love having reliable monitoring of the overhead doors.
And of course I added the Utilitech sirens to the system.

Now to this I have added the ring spotlight cameras, AND floodlight camera. I actually get BETTER coverage, and MUCH higher quality video, particularly at night, compared to the old Iris cameras. (not totally done with those though!). Now SmartThings integration for Ring isn’t 100%, so I still have to have Ring cloud service for my video since that isn’t coming into the app, but I get lights, and motion sensors out of the ring cameras. Now I am NOT going to use outdoor sensors to trip alarms, If I did I’d have constant alarms… But I do get lights on, and other lights on (more later) inside the house with the motion sensor.

Now on after that was done, I was able to add to that, 4 Sylvania Zigbee 10 year smart bulbs. Not my long term solution honestly, I am long term going with smart switches that way I am not having to unpair / re pair every time I blow out a light bulb… 2 of them are in the front porch fixture, and 2 are in the front hallway fixture.

Some things I noticed during the migration.

#1. Because of the limitations of the ADT Home Security monitoring being limited to only ADT branded hardware, that left me with a bit of work to do to get compatibility with my third party stuff, and extra functions like turning lights on, or flashing them during an alarm. That required I install Smart Home Monitor before I set up, and THEN install ADT Tools 2, then configuring to get the functions I wanted. This process could possibly, and most likely be daunting, and even a deal breaker for many users wanting a simple plug and play envirnonment. I was happy enough to DIY tech stuff so in I dove…

#2. Compared to Iris, pairing devices was almost instantaneous. I was absolutely stunned by how quick it was…

#3. I have yet to have a single sensor drop offline. My bathroom window sensor under Iris was always falling offline and going back online.

#4. The integrated touch screen keypad on the hub. It has advantages, and disadvantages. I love how it is only one device, with no real worries about batteries or anything like that, but… I ran into an issue where my hub was absolutely hung and IO via the touchpad was absolutely non responsive. I am used to tech, so yeah this happens, Reboot… Otherwise, flawless, easy to deal with, and one less thing stuck to wall, or not. You see with Iris, I could stash the hub out of sight so the keypad was the only thing on the wall. And the Smartthings hub needs to be near a power outlet, which means power cord running down a wall. It’s too small to use an in wall box to mount a power oulet behind it like you would with a flat screen TV, the only answer I came up with was small diameter cable raceway that was paintable to camoflauge my power wire. So far so good.

#5. I have said this before and I will say it again, there is a learning curve. While most / all of the function of Iris is here in Smartthings, it IS different. And SmartThings, from what I can see is so much more powerful than Iris was, the comparison is sort of like a PC running Windows and a PC running Linux. The Linux box is a whole lot more DIY, and you had better know what you are doing lest you mess it up, but you can so so much more than you could even dream of in Windows… (not the best analogy, just go with it…).

So what is happneing with my old Iris stuff?

The hub, keypad, and 1st gen contact sensors are getting put away in a box. I am trying to work with the Arcus Smart Home team to see how I can help get that going. If I can, I will get that stuff working again, and put it to use elsewhere… I have options.

The 2nd generation contact and motion sensors are being put to use for non alarm functions, but rather alerting. I know a matter of semantics, but I simply want a message saying that the sensors have been activated. They help me track access to my workshop and home office / studio from inside the house…

I do need to figure out how to integrate the OC821 cameras into my system. I have NEVER been comfortable about them being outdoor cameras, but I have a few spots indoors that could use cameras tripped to record should an alarm be triggered, such as my garage workshop, home office / studio, kitchen, and master bedroom. (keep that one covered while we are home ya know…)

So far, system performance wise, I can honestly say I am far more impressed with SmartThings. Now my investment in ST was at some fairly cut rate sale prices well off of MSRP, so my level of risk is farily low, but… given the fact that both my wife and I own Samsung premium phones (Galaxy Note 9s), and have had their premium phones since the Galaxy S4, SmartThings seems to be well embedded in their, and excuse the pun, Galaxy… this experience is helping push me in a positive direction toward other Samsung products I hadn’t considered, like when it is time to replace my fitbit, I am seriously considering the Galaxy Gear assuming it has the features I want. We are at the tail end of the remodel we are working now, going to be in the market for flat screen TVs, and sound equipment, so I can guarantee my product experience here will move them up (or down if the experience goes sour) the list of considered vendors…

All in all, at this point, I am happy with SmartThings, time will tell.


love reading these transition stories! I was curious how Iris users would find it switching to SmartThings. I had a feeling some would find the transition too much, but if they were able to get over the learning curve, may be happier in the end.

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The learning curve is a whopper, not insurmountable. Not better, not worse, just… different.

I am actually achieving a comfort level now where I am branching out to do things Iris would have never been able to achieve, like integrating the Hampton Bay ceiling fan light and speed controllers…

I am feeling more and more confident in it as I move forward and experience what SmartThings has to offer…

There are things I am very much hoping to integrate that aren’t there yet, but with the active developer community I see here, I have hope for, such as Alexa Guard integration as I have been pretty squeamish about the idea of replacing my dual power, dual sensor smoke detectors with single sensor battery only powered units…

And let’s face it. It looks a lot less goofy to be laying in bed, telling Alexa to turn off the bedroom light, than using a clapper…


This may interest you

If Alexa Guard integration doesn’t get here soon enough, yeah I am going to go that way. Alexa guard does more than just listen for smoke / CO detectors though, it also functions as a glass break sensor. And I have Echo devices everywhere. Yeah Amazon knows not only what to sell me, but where in the house to keep it.

I should mention that my home is fully electric except for the fireplace which is wood burning. I can see needing a CO Detector by the fireplace or at least in the living Room. I also want one for my garage workshop.


I am glad that your conversation went well. I am having trouble removing my GE Z wave switches from my Iris system so that smartthings will see them. Did you have any experience with that?

Do a general exclude through the ST app and then tap on one of the buttons on the switch. I know where that is in the Classic app, but not sure where it is in the new app.

Do you need to disconnect the switch manually first or will it disconnect automatically?

General Z-Wave exclusions are done while the device is still connected electrically and to the (old/existing) hub. After that, you can do an include between the device and new hub.

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Thanks, I’ll keep working on it

Nope, the general exclusion process removes any hub association from the device. Once done you’ll be able to join to ST.

Thanks, I guess I am way behind the curve, how does one go about performing a general exclusion on a GE Zwave light switch?

From the hub page in the new app, go to the menu In the upper right, choose zwave utilities and then choose z-wave exclusion. Then tap your switch.

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I thought you could only do an exclusion of a device while it’s still connected to a hub .

For instance, I replaced my z-wave door lock yesterday. I did the exclusion while the old lock was still connected to the hub by pressing the programming button on the lock. That’s how the hub knew I was excluding that lock (and not something else).

I’m sure you’re correct, but what am I missing?

Thanks for the help

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It doesn’t need to be connected to any hub for it to be excluded. This is very helpful for when you get used devices from someone else and you can’t be sure the previous owner excluded them properly, or you buy a house with smart switches with no hub. I’ve even done a general exclude on new devices just to make sure they’ll join.


Yup. Sometimes they’re bench tested before sale and have to be excluded. Not common but does happen.

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Right now I only have the 2 utilitech sirens as Z wave devices so I really can’t give you any advice however it seems like the other folks on this thread are going a very good job of helping glad to see that!

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I’m going to keep tabs on this thread most notably because as I move forward with my build I am planning on using for the ceiling fans the Hampton Bay zig bee controllers but for the lights That don’t have a fan or fans that don’t have a light I am planning on using Z wave controllers. The idea in the long run is to have an echo. within range of each Room so that I can tell I like so do this or do that from each Room.

Yes I know lots of folks are not comfortable with Amazon having a listening device in their home but these same people have Android phones, I phones and windows computers.

You’re only kidding yourself if you think that big data isn’t listening to you pretty much constantly.

For me the advantages outweigh the risks. Particularly with features like Alexa guard…

We definitely need some sort of verifiable restrictions on what these companies can do with our data absolutely but in the mean time or can of stuck.

This is something that has been a struggle as well. During the transition I had 2 items that I haven’t been successful excluding and then adding the GE Z Wave paddle switch and another GE plug in switch. Followed instructions provided and still wasn’t successful.

We finally just bought another GE switch which once installed connected easily. Since this switch was purchased at Lowe’s within the last year, I am unsure if it can be taken back.