I moved from IRIS to Smartthings on February 16th. Since that time, I’ve spent many hours trying to figure out the basics of Smartthings in order to get some kind of home security and automation service back online. This Community forum has been very helpful. I thought I would post a few things I’ve learned in my short and limited experience so far so others coming over from IRIS before the end of this month might get some information to help get started.
Smartthings hub vs. ADT hub: For me, I chose the Smartthings hub. I liked being able to use many of my IRIS devices and also take advantage of using my mobile phones as presence sensors. The ADT hub requires all ADT sensors. With IRIS, I carried a keychain device to turn the alarm on and off automatically and now I use my mobile phone instead of having to carry the keyfob; not possible with the ADT hub. In the time I’ve been online with ST, I have not had a system outage that’s interfered with setting or turning off the alarm. I rarely have power outages where I live and have strong internet service so I really don’t care about the battery backup that the ADT hub has.
Classic app vs. new app: I tried the new app and found that presence sensors using mobile phones do not work so therefore changed over to the classic app, which I’m using now. I expect someday this app will be discontinued and hopefully the presence sensor feature in the new app will be enabled. Smartthings presence sensors (similar to the IRIS keyfobs) can be purchased but all reviews say how bad battery life is in those devices. So for me, the classic app is the way to go right now.
My wife and I both use iphones. To get the presence sensor working properly with these phones, I had her create her own Samsung Smartthings account and then, “invited” her to be a member on my account. When she accepted the invitation, all of the devices I had already put in the hub then populated on her iPhone. On her account, she did not add any devices; she just created the account and accepted my “invitation” to be a member on the home account. Presence works great now with the alarm turning on and off just like it did with an IRIS rule. Some people do say the mobile presence sensor is intermittently reliable.
Modes: Still a bit confusing to me as it relates to the home and away modes (especially in the new app), but with the classic app, the security “alarm” portion of the system is within the Smart Home Monitor. And again, you are able to create an Automation routine that turns the alarm on and off based on peoples presence at the home location and that’s not currently possible using the new Samsung app. When my Smart Home Monitor is in the AWAY mode, my alarm is on, like it would have been in IRIS.
I am using Arlo Q cameras that integrate nicely with Smartthings. With a free Arlo account, I’m getting 5 days unlimited video storage for my 3 cameras. Download the Arlo app to get started integrating with Smartthings.
When there is an “Intrusion Detected”, my wife and I get a push notification and the sound is similar to many other notifications and easy to miss. This apparently is not configurable in Smartthings. To get around this, I used an app called IFTTT, that works well with Smartthings. I created an applet that says; if my siren sounds (which is set to sound if there is a door contact that opens while the Smart Home Monitor is set to away), then IFTTT generates a telephone call to tell me the siren has gone off and to check the security system. I downloaded IFTTT on both of our phones and created the same rule, with the exception of our different mobile phone numbers so we both get called. In this way, I’m more certain to be aware the alarm has gone off rather than just that one single “ding” noise that Smartthings puts out. I also have the siren set to go off if my smoke detector or flood detector activates so the phone call could mean fire/flood or a break-in situation.
There’s a web user interface for Smartthings. Google “Smartthings API” and login after you get your hub and devices set up. This gives you a nice overview of your system. There’s also some advanced programming option called WebCore. None of what I did to set my system up involved that.
One last tip: When you create any automation routine in the classic app, like turning your lights on at sunset and off at sunrise, and locking the door when the door sensor closes, be sure you hit SAVE twice at the end of the process. You’ll get a message saying the routine was created and automated after the first Save, but, hit the SAVE button again after that message and your routine will show up on the dashboard.
Hope this helps someone and saves some time figuring everything out from scratch. Good luck to all the former Lowes IRIS folks setting up Smartthings!