Questions before buying a hub


I tried Home Assistant (Hassio) and it was pure pain (I tried to add a floor plan and just wanted to throw Raspberry Pi out of the window.)

Philips Hue - Works
Nest smoke detector - ?
Dyson Pure Cool Tower - ?
Google cast supported devices (e.g. Philips TV, B&O BEOPLAY M5) - ?

What I need:
Washing machine:
The plan is to connect Xiaomi Aqara Motion Sensor to the washing machine.

  • When no motion is detected for X minutes, send a notification about the end of the wash program.


  • Xiaomi Aqara door sensor: When the letterbox opens, send a notification about it.

Would be nice:
Two people and two cats live in the house. I have several Philips Hue lights, switches, motion sensors, and one bridge.

  • Is it possible to use the camera and face recognition?
    • When person A is in the kitchen, use setting B.
    • When person C is in the kitchen, use setting D.
  • One of Philips Motion Sensor’s problems is that it also detects movement of the cats. Is it possible to use a camera that recognizes human and animal?

Welcome to the world of SmartThings … The #1 DIY consumer platform, with the biggest volunteer community and 3rd party add-ons! (Home Assistant, etc., aren’t bad, but they don’t have the marketing power of Samsung behind them…).

Honestly, I recommend seriously tempering your short-term expectations.

Object recognition in video is just starting to be implemented in a few consumer camera models, and it still is rather limited. The ones I’ve heard of will distinguish human from animal, but certainly not identify specific people. But technology progresses quickly.

SmartThings still has very limited camera integration, however. So you’re combining a new and low reliability feature (from camera brand “X”) with a platform for which no one has yet tried to integrate that camera, and expecting it to work in real-time to control lights - ummm… Lights have to turn on within 2000ms (at worst) or they’re pretty useless.

This really isn’t in the realm of what SmartThings can do now. Yes - I bet someone can build a “proof-of-concept” and are testing various hacks, etc., … and the PoC may be 50% reliable with a 5000ms response, or who knows. So the potential is there.

But it sure doesn’t exist now.

If you’re interested in SmartThings, focus on basic functionality first, and then explore the 3rd party add-ons that bring quite a lot of power; some within your wishlist, and most not yet.

  • ActionTiles as a view/control dashboard panel builder
  • WebCoRE for complex automation rules
  • RBoy Apps for specialized device types and use cases (e.g., AirBnB lock management).
  • etc., etc. - explore the Forum and do a LOT of reading, please.
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For starters - welcome to home automation. You will find SmartThings less painful than your prior experience I think.

On your washing machine, the motion you want to detect is vibration, not motion in a room which is what most motion sensors detect. I don’t know of a vibration sensor that is ST compatible but I’m guessing there may be one out there if you google for it.
[EDIT] - this thread has some ideas:

On the cats, pick up an pet-sensitive motion detector. Facial recognition is beyond the scope of ST’s abilities and overkill for what you want to do. I use EcoLink PIR motion detectors and they are pretty rock solid and do a good job of ignoring small pets. They do pick up my dogs but they are as big as people. Should work fine for your cats.


Dang… Terry and I were typing responses at the same time. His advice is good… heed it my friend. ActionTiles is a great product for controlling your smart home from a tablet dashboard, but I wouldn’t jump in that far up front. Start small and slow. Get a hub, buy a few EcoLink motion sensors, pair them with the hub and link in your Phillips hue hub. Write a few simple smart lighting apps and tinker until you are happy with it. Then jump in with a dashboard like ActionTiles or HousePanel. HousePanel is an open source DIY alternative to ActionTiles. And spend some time browsing this forum. There are tons of great ideas for how to get the most out of your smart home. If a topic looks too complex or esoteric, move on to the next idea.

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Welcome fellow traveler. I agree with you on the Home Assistant front. I sure didn’t find it anything approaching user-friendly, although having said that, I’m not finished trying to make it work for me either. I’m interested in your person A/setting B, person C/setting D scenario. Probably not easily doable with the current state of facial recognition (outside of a few Three Letter Agencies) I wonder if you’ve considered some sort of near-field device… maybe that’s not ideal as you’d have to wear an RFID pendant or something, I dunno. I tried a SmartThings multi-sensor on my washing machine and dryer with disappointing results, but intend to try the smartplug route next. Find out how much power the washer draws and have ST alert me when the power draw drops below a certain level for more than a set time. In any case, please let us know how you make out.

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There are very good public libraries and API toolkits for doing accurate facial recognition these days in the unclassified world thanks to Facebook, Google, Apple, and others but using them within a smart home ecosystem is a heavy technical lift - especially for a newcomer to smart home automation. Just Google “facial recognition api” and you will find them. It would be fun to try the Python one and tie it to the Arlo python image script that several folks use here with their Arlo cams.