I find myself in an unusual situation. I generally a thorough researcher (nearly compulsively so) and would spend a great deal of time researching any new tech purchase - particularly so for HA tech. But, we had a recent change in property manager for our apartment building and went from being extremely secure in the management to worried. We initially heard negative things from a good (and highly trustworthy) friend of ours about 5 years ago about the person who has taken over as property manager and, unfortunately, recent negative info is growing quickly and steadily. But most worrisome is that we learned today, (against lease terms), the new manager is entering apartments without warning when tenants are away and there is widespread concern (though directly unsubstantiated, thus far) about that person having potential substance abuse. So, the idea that things could go missing from our apartment while we’re out is worrying to say the least. While we’re talking with other tenants about potential ideas for seeking a different property manager, we are also looking for more immediate options for keeping our apartment (and family) safe. Suffice it to say, there is much more negative & highly questionable behavior that we are concerned about that I don’t feel able to mention at this point.
I hate to even give that much background but it’s the only way that I know to convey the situation we’re in. While normally, I’d take all the time I needed to research the best HA options for our setup and system, I don’t honestly feel like I have the luxury of that about of time right now as we’d like to get a few things added to our setup for our own peace of mind. In addition, we’re leaving a week from today on a 4k mile road trip for me to have a surgery (and I cannot fly due to health issues). So, we’ll be gone for 2-3 weeks and I’d love to have something in place while we’re away.
I’ll try to keep the info as succinct as possible:
We’re longtime SmartThings users (Gen2 Hub). We have Philips Hue lights, two ST multipurpose sensors, one ST motion sensor, two Aeotec multisensor 6. (We’re under-using the sensors, really.) We also have an Ecobee 3 with a couple of remote sensors, an August Lock Pro 3rd Gen (with added keypad), Harmony hub remotes, and multiple Google Homes. We also have 8 of the Lowes brand smart plugs that look like the ST smart plugs but that have both Z-Wave and Zigbee (only mentioning as these make a fairly reliable Z-Wave mesh in addition to Zigbee). We have one or two other things (like a smart vac) but I don’t think that they have any bearing on this.
We’d (obviously) like to add some security. I’m thinking some sort of cameras, security system - or a combination of both? I’m not really wanting full professional monitoring but I do need a notification of if/when someone were to come in. I’d love integration with the August Lock and perhaps Google Assistant. We’d consider some sort of low monthly fee, especially, if we could add and drop that fee month to month if needed (like to be able to potentially add it while traveling and drop it when we’re home). As far as cameras, we’d like to have audio ability. We have an indoor apartment entrance and no traditional doorbell so while adding a smart doorbell/camera would be nice at some point, it won’t happen before we leave since we’ll have to work out something for the wiring and we don’t have time for that before the surgery trip. However, I wouldn’t mind thinking ahead to that potential in what we purchase for the possibility of integrating that in the future. My spouse and I also have health issues/disabilities and we’ve wanted to add cameras to be able to check on each other for awhile but had wanted to wait until there was more potential integration with ST or other HA.
I’m curious about the Nest system, with cameras, perhaps Ring, though less sure about that since Amazon’s bought them out, Arlo, maybe Simplidafe, and there was another security system that was talked about a lot with SmartThings a couple of years ago but I cannot remember the name. It was similar to the Nest (though less sleek) and included an alarm, etc and optional monitoring. I think it had a fox/dog/wolf in the logo? I could be completely wrong but I didn’t see it in the current ST list (or other security for that matter, so I may not have found the right section though I kind of looks like ST may have done an exclusivie deal with ADT now??).
I don’t really know how important ST integration is for the security and cameras, though obviously, it would be nice. I also don’t know exactly what it would do - and if there is community integrations for things like Nest that might now have official support. Regardless, I don’t know of a more informed community anywhere on this subject than the ST forums so I wanted to start here. I won’t add any more info at this point, to try to keep this from getting longer but if I’ve left any pertinent data out, please let me know and I’ll add it. Thanks SO much in advance. This community has always helped me learn and figure out so much - and I’m truly grateful!