New to ST basic road map


I am new to ST and currently trying to digest the avalanche of information. To start I simply would like to use the Multi purpose sensors on my doors and a few windows for safety, in the event some jerk wants to kick a door in, I would like to be alerted. I also understand that Drop Cam can be integrated into the system, so in the event one of the sensors are tripped, the camera would be engaged. In essence I want a poor man’s security system. My question is, assuming this is all possible, is it really practical? I mean an ADT or Comcast, sends an alter to the police, do they not?

So I will get a text on my phone, then what? I call the police my self? Does anyone have real life experience with how this would work in the event some were to break in. What if I get a false alarm?

My apologies for all newbie questions. My biggest one are my concerns valid? And how to connect a dropcam into the mix.

I would be purchasing the V2 and new multisensors. Please advise if another forum is better suited to ask these questions.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

Welcome to the SmartThings user / customer / developer Community!

You’re going to find plenty of helpful people posting answers to your questions and/or links to really good answers. Check out the various “FAQ” Categories, as they contain some of the best formatted “pre-cooked” answers to many questions.

I’m just posting an observation:
All the stuff you ask should be “obvious” to any potential SmartThings Customer before they buy, or, at worse, in easy to find documentation, blogs, and instructional videos written by marketing. This Community Forum is a little tilted towards answering “special” use cases and third-party custom “development”.

It’s a shame that SmartThings doesn’t have a lot of your questions answered in an easy-to-reference User Guide (and Videos…).

You’re also welcome to ask questions to – they are very helpful, not just for problems / issues / bugs.

(Paul Melian) #3

I’ve had ST for a while and I started out with just a few basic things like you mentioned just to get going and you gradually get a grasp of it and build off of what you have.

You’re right in your assumption - you would get an alert from ST and it would be up to you to call the police; however, this is close enough to how an alarm system works. If you have ADT and the alarm goes off, they call you first and you have to tell them to call the police. (The difference being that if you’re unavailable, they will call the police automatically)

If you’re comfortable being, in essence, your own monitoring system, then you might as well save the $30 a month and go the ST route, you’ll break even your first year.

(DanG) #4

I use SmartThings for security for over a year an a half. First thing you need to understand is the SmartThings has some reliability issues but it has greatly improved over the past 8 months. With that said, I would say that it isn’t as reliable as a dedicated security system. SmartThings sometimes sends false alerts, such as false motion or reporting a door opening when it didn’t. Unless you have the ability to bring up remote video so you can see what is going on then don’t use SmartThings for security. Not being able to determine are real break in vs a false alarm will get really old after the first time it happens.

SmartThing as well as professional security systems both need a connection to the outside world. My hub connected to a battery backup connected to the cellular network. That way even if the thieves cut the power, phone and cable lines the hub stays active. For extra security I have the hub report if there is a power outage. BTW, security camera need to be on backup power and capable of connecting through the same internet connection.

If I get an alert on my phone that something is wrong my first step is to bring up the cameras. If I see that there is a break in in progress I call the police. If my cameras are down or have been tampered with, I call the police.

I DO NOT SOUND ANY ALARMS. I don’t want to scare them away, I want the police to catch them. If they are going through the house stealing things like TVs then it is going to take them a few minutes which is plenty enough time for police response.

The other benefit to using SmartThing is you will be alerted quickly enough to take action. With many professional security companies the alarms take upwards to a minute before the equipment even calls the security company to report a break in. Then it takes even more time for them to call the police. Keep in mind that in almost all cases when police are sent to check out an alarm they instinctively assume it will be a false alarm, because it usually it is. If you personally called the police and can confirm your house is being broken into and you tell them you can see it happening on camera that will change how the police respond because they know its for real.

In closing SmartThings has great potential but it isn’t quite there yet but if you follow some of this advise you will be further on your way to a more secure home.


Thank you (thank you also for others that have replied), I was also thinking along these lines of wanting video in order to verify. With the V2, I thought I had read some information that video would have some added functionality? Again this is where I need to start doing more reading, but would be curious as to whether a door/window sensor could trigger the video to automatically start feeding. Also was thinking some kind of audio mic feed could quick on in th event of a trigger.

Could anyone describe or point me to the section which describes what V2 could provide relative to dropcam capabilities.

Also could the Aeon labs multi sensor be placed outside say in a climate such as MN during the winter. Ideally I would also like motion in my driveway (where my cars are parked) to trigger the camera.


I wanted to follow up here after doing more reading. As others have alluded to in this thread, if you receive an alert that a door sensor has triggered, I would like some “secondary means” to verify someone has potentially broken into the house. I had read this could be done by incorporating something like Nest/Dropcam, however have come across a few threads over the last couple of days indicating Smarthings has pulled Dropcam as an acceptable device that can be integrated into the platform. (Potential legal issues?)

Can anyone link to or explain what types of cameras have been used? Ideally if a sensor or more importantly an alarm triggered I would like that to kick on the camera via a live feed or at minimum trigger camera to send pictures every few seconds. Is that possible?

(Paul Melian) #7

The first post in this thread rattle off a few cameras that work with the new hub:


@an39511 Can you elaborate how you use video. Specifically have you integrated a camera into ST or are you using a camera system independently. I would echo your statement of wanting a secondary means to validate a door has actually been triggered. Any details you could share about a setup or recommended article link on the forums would be appreciated.

A recent posted linked to the following in which the second post lists some cameras.

Dropcam does not seemed to be supported anymore.

(DanG) #9

Toomuch - My camera setup is independent of SmartThings. Main reason is because I had the setup long before SmartThings came along. I have no desire to integrate the cameras because I see no benefit in doing so. If there ever was an intrusion the cameras would already have activated and (if all is working well) SmartThings notifies me so putting them together just seems redundant. I would never use camera as a triggering device because of too many false alarms, especially on my exterior cameras. So my advise is to keep them separate and use the two systems to enhance overall security.

As far as security cameras a concerned; good quality, high resolution (1080P minimum) is a must. I treat security cameras as a witness. If I can’t clearly identify the intruder then whats the point? Showing a blurry low resolution video in court is not going to be useful. HikVison are pretty cheep in price but offer great clarity. You can find them on eBay, Hikvision also sells under different brand names and are readily available at any Costco. A good battery backup on the cameras is also a good thing to do.


@an39511 Thank you DanG. Can you elaborate more on your setup, does your camera have motion detection of some sort? Do you recevie alerts directly to your cellphone?

I am currently not a Smarthub owner so I am trying to better understand if intergrating the camera into the hub would have any downfalls

(DanG) #11

I use HikVision DS-2CD2032-I cameras connected to a central DVR. Yes they have motion detection and can send alerts but I don’t use that feature. Like I said before, cameras are prone to false alerts especially when they are outdoors. I use SmartThings to detect opening door sensors along with interior motion sensors. The two systems are completely independent but combined they enhance overall security.


So walk me through this. ST triggers an alert say your front door has been opended. What do you do next? Bring up the cameras?

(DanG) #13

Yes that is exactly what I do. If I see someone on camera that doesn’t belong, I call the police. If the cameras have been tampered with or disabled, I call the police. By my own action I can easily report problems to the police several minutes before any alarm company could. And because I am the owner telling the police I have a confirmed intrusion they will be on location much quicker. I use no audible alarms. I don’t want them scared off, I want them caught.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #14

Have you ever actually experienced this?

I agree regarding the procedure and I know that police now are definitely preferring eye-witness and/or camera footage to just alarms (heck, they may deny responding to an alarm without visual confirmation).

But, thankfully, actual intrusions are pretty rare, and intrusions that are caught on camera even more rare… so, statistically it is difficult to confirm that video systems work to “catch” attempted burglars. Most security systems are therefore designed to deter the intruder and alert the residents for safety reasons.

If the intruder is potentially violent, I would much rather have them scared off … and caught. : :fearful:


@tgauchat The good news is from what I have read it seems ST gives you the benefit of both: deterrence and camera. I currently have “fake” alarm signs staked in the ground next to all my doors. Additionally,I have audio alarms on my doors. Some would say I have already done all that can be done.

However, I would like to take it a step further and automate, by getting notifications via text message on my Iphone if an alarm has been tripped. I have yet to really dive in to see whether its possible, but ideally, in the event of a sensor being tripped I would like to be able to receive within seconds via text or notfication ding on my phone. Next I would like to seamlessly be able to tap the app on my phone and bring up live shots of my cameras on or at a minmum get consecutive still photos

As stated earlier in this thread I would want some other secondary means to validate that someone may be breaking in, if I were to get an tripped sensor alert, due to the very real possibility the sensor alone producing a false alarm.

The camera integration seems to be that solution. It would be great if I could find someone with a similar setup to educate myself more on the nuisances of such a setup

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #16

This is completely possible with SmartThings today. The camera integration is flaky, so, in the worst case, after receiving the push or text message on your phone, you would switch to your camera viewing app.

Ideally, your web enabled cameras can be triggered to take snapshots or activate recording, if they are not on continuous record.

SmartThings v2 is designed to integrate alarms and cameras tightly into the same product and app (cameras will record continuously but only store a rolling buffer of … dunno… 30 seconds? … but once triggered by SmartApp (triggered by a sensor), it will stop overwriting the buffer and record continuously for a longer period of time). So you can go back and view “30 seconds” (whatever the exact amount is) before the event and through the event until it is back to normal mode.


@tgauchat thank you. The description you provided is the kind of “drill down” I am looking for. So does V2 act as the interface/app for both the sensor and the camera (assuming the camera is compatible with ST V2?

I want a “central hub” where I bring up an app which allows control of the sensors and the camera’s verse a standalone app which require them to be brought up independent of one another. (that solution is cumbersome and slow to me)

Assuming the answer is yes, where can I start reading about how to do this? Earlier in the thread someone linked to compatible cameras with V2. I guess the starting point is obtaining camera,

Where can I obtain more details on what you laid out right here ^

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #18

Google? SmartThings blog?..

Seriously… It’s a good question, but SmartThings is very disorganized when it comes to details of upcoming or even recently released features (or long existing features for that matter…).

The information I posted was from memory of media articles, Press Releases, and/or SmartThings blog and Community posts. You’ll find it.


I am finding this out. I have spent some time googling obviously not well enough, but one thing is apparent, there is a boat load of info on these forums, but I am struggling to find the threads. When I search for example using the search button it doesnt bring up threads based on date. If V2 is the platform that offers the ability to intergrate camera and sensors etc, I know threads from 2014 are going to be irrevalant.

Perhaps I simply need to reach out to somone like Ben. I am willing to educate myself, but I cant even find the info in these threads


Support has added some new overview articles to the website that will probably be helpful as a starting point:

The first one discusses individual devices of various types:

And the next one is specific to the new smart home monitor and gives the details on how video clips will be handled:

As far as individual help, has always been very helpful to me, including when I very first started. If you email them, I think you will get more help in a more organized fashion then if you just ask some of the employees who happened to post in the forums from time to time. Once a support person is assigned through the email channel to help you, you will be able to write back-and-forth on that case number, which gives you better continuity.