New Smartthings user, love it, few questions for ya on use as a security system

Why is everybody looking at me? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


If you search the forum for “reliability” you will find many many threads from many many community members indicating that while smartthings is very flexible and very powerful, at present it is just not reliable enough for most people to use it for a regular security system. Many of us instead have a purpose – built security system that we use for security. Popular ones include the new Abode, and Simplisafe, but there are many others.

Although you can now get scout monitoring for burglary intrusions (not for fire) with smartthings, it doesn’t improve the reliability of the base SmartThings system.

I’m too tired today to go into all the details, but if you just search on either “security” or “reliability” you’ll find lots of discussions.

My own minimum requirements for a security system include that it have cellular connection to the professional monitoring center. SmartThings does not. All of its notifications go out via Internet, so if your Internet is down, you don’t even get sensor a notification on your phone. Also, there’s no way to disarm or arm the security system if the Internet is down. You’ll find lots of threads in the forums from people who had a false alarm, have a siren going off, and had no way to turn the siren off.

OK, I’ll leave you to do the rest of that research on your own. :sunglasses:

As to your friend’s specific questions:

  1. SmartThings allows you to manage multiple locations, but I don’t think it allows you to have Scout integration with multiple locations. You should ask support about that.

  1. it does support video surveillance, although one of the features is broken right now. You have a choice of several cameras, including an official integration with Arlo which is quite popular. But not all IP cameras.

But again, while Arlo is officially supported, I believe the clips feature is broken right now.

  1. One of the biggest strengths of smartthings is that you can use many different devices with it. The $49 Aeotec doorbell is popular for chimes and voice notifications. Can play up to 99 different sound files, and you can upload your own. It can be triggered by any smartthings event. See the following article in the community – created wiki:

( this is a perfect example of something that smartthings does really well, and give you a lot of flexibility, it just won’t necessarily do it well every day. :disappointed_relieved:)

  1. again, one of smartthings’ strengths is that it works with many different devices. There are indeed a couple of different key fobs you can use, and you can use them for anything that the smartthings system can do. So if you’ve added a Z wave garage door controller, they can definitely open the garage door. Or arm or disarm the system. and any of them could be used as a silent panic button. (But once again, they may sometimes fail to do what you have programmed them to do.)
  1. The silent panic button is a little complicated if you want one that will alert the professional monitoring service. You can use any of the fobs or buttons from 4) above, but because at present the scout monitoring service can only work with contact sensors or motion sensors, you will have to fooled inpt into thinking that a contact sensor has opened when you are using a different type of device. That can be done in SmartThings, but the conversion can only run in the cloud, not locally. Which means if the smartthings cloud or your Internet is down, the silent panic button would not work to notify scout. So you could set one up, but it wouldn’t run in all situations.

Everyone has their own requirements for peace of mind, so there are definitely community members using SmartThings as a security system. You just need to understand its limitations.

No cellular notifications

If either the Internet or the SmartThings cloud are unavailable, many functions will not work. This includes sending any notifications. It also includes anything you would normally do from the mobile app on your phone, including arm or disarm the system.

From time to time, often a couple of times a month, they make changes to the cloud platform which will affect you. There is no way to refuse or delay these changes. And They do often break things which were previously working fine.

When they send out a scheduled firmware update to the hub, we typically get notice a couple of days in advance, but not always. While the update is taking place the system will be off-line. This outage can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, and again cannot be refused or postponed. In many cases after a firmware update you will need to individually physically reset some of the devices, which can be inconvenient if you have multiple locations.

The professional 24/7 monitoring is valid only for contact and motion sensors. No fire monitoring, and no leak detection monitoring under the central office system.

When smartthings works well it is absolutely my favorite home automation system. But at present I only use it for convenience cases, like a notification that the guestroom window is open when it’s going to rain. I use a completely separate purpose built security system for anything that might affect actual health or safety.