Recommend for security use?


(Lew) #1

Trying to decide if I’m going to buy this hub kit or not wondering if this is good for security use I don’t live in a high crime area so this would only be a safety blanket, had lifeshield but the only thing being connected to a professional network did was cost me money (monthly charge and false alarm charges)

So I’m very interested also it kinda seems intimidating and more for developers and coders I would consider myself a techie but by no means a coder. I would appreciate any advice


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

Incrementally speaking … having SmartThings is better than nothing; and most of us are optimistic it will get better… some features improve faster and more consistently than others.

Over the past few weeks, unfortunately, the flagship “Dashboard Solution SmartApp” … SHM - Smart Home Monitor has had awful glitches (e.g., false alarms), probably related to general problems across the platform. The easiest solution was / is to disable SHM until it is genuinely resolved.

In this case, you’re no worse off, right?

However, the great thing about SmartThings is there are a lot of alternative SmartApps and such you can install; some directly from the App, some with cut/paste from links in this Community Forum. Even after Smart Home Monitor is fixed, you may find yourself loving these alternatives. In this case … it’s a win:win!


#3

SmartThings is extremely versatile and flexible and it allows you to add a number of different kinds of devices. On the other hand, since November I have yet to go 10 days without an impactful error, and my experience is not atypical as you can see from reading forums.

Most security systems are extremely reliable, but get that reliability by limiting both what you can do with them and the specific devices that can be connected. It’s not uncommon for them to only offer a choice of two different kinds of contact sensors and one or two kinds of motion sensors and not much more. Even if they do decide to let you also do some home automation, they generally limit that home automation both in the number of different schedules you can set up and again, the types of equipment you can use.

So it really depends on what your needs are. Many people, myself included, use a separate security system and do not rely on SmartThings for that. But there are other people who do use it for security. Everyone has different requirements for peace of mind.

Have you looked at any of the popular DIY security systems like scout, simplisafe, abode, and piper? I think you would immediately see what I’m talking about in terms of having very few choices, but I also think that at least compared to the last six months, those systems would all be more reliable than SmartThings.

Personally, I have an additional requirement for security systems – – that they be able to operate when both the Internet and the power are off, and that they contact a professional monitoring center via cellular (not Internet). This would knockout Smartthings as a security candidate for me, because it has to have The Internet in order to send a notification. But again, there are other people who are fine with that limitation.

If someone is just intrigued by the idea of SmartThings as a home automation platform I usually recommend that they buy it from someplace with a 30 day guarantee, get two motion sensors, two contact sensors, an arrival sensor if you intend to use one, and a siren if you intend to use one (as long as you don’t have small children who might be frightened by the siren going off unexpectedly).

Then just use it for three weeks and see what you think. :sunglasses:

on the other hand, if you really are looking just for a security system, I would at least take a look at some of the purposebuilt systems as well.

JMO.


(Lew) #4

Looked up piper etc and I see what you mean the choices are very limited. What kind of other smart apps are out there for smart things to integrate with monitoring


#5

Officially, SmartThings integrates with scout or ADT Canopy monitoring. You have to pay a separate fee to those to use the monitoring feature. I believe both require that you use the SHM feature in SmartThings. However, these official integrations are only as reliable as SmartThings itself, which recently has not been very reliable. Hopefully that will improve in the future. ( i’m not sure of the ADT canopy integration is actually available yet, or just preannounced. Support could tell you.)

Unofficially, anything that has IFTTT integration can be integrated indirectly with SmartThings. In these cases, the security aspect is handled by the separate security system, so it should have more reliability

There are also some people who have set up a partial cloud to cloud integration with community-created code between SmartThings and simplisafe. You can search the forums to find that one, it’s quite popular. Again, the security side is handled by simplisafe, you’re basically just giving yourself the ability to Arm or disarm through the integration.


(Brian) #6

I use mine with notifications and without a siren. I’ve had two false alarms due to problems with ST and two real alarms when I had forgotten that we had someone without presence visiting.

I think if you just do notifications, and not a siren you’ll be happy. I like getting notified to check on the house, even if nothing is wrong.


(Bryant) #7

@JDRoberts - Hi, I’m new to this community and I’m glad to be a part - having a professional like you and many others around👍. I have being here a couple of days now…reading couple post, and I’m excited to turn my home into a smart home🙏🏿. I’ve purchase the Amazon echo, Schlage Sense smart lock, and the SmartThings V2 hub. I presently have couple of Cree and Philips Led dimmer bulbs around my house, so I was wondering if I do go with the Z Wave switches (three ways dimmer, and dimmer switches) do I need to get a separate hub or controller from Z wave? I’m a computer tech, not a coder, so I don’t mind trying stuff out. I’m also accessible to recommendations.

Thanks!


(Never Trust @bamarayne) #8

As others have stated. Incrementally better than nothing.

I have mine layered. I have traditional security and ST security.

If ST or another smarter HA system can provide the same level of reliability / security one day, I will allow it to take over.


#9

No, the SmartThings hub is One white plastic box that contains four devices:

A zwave plus controller
a zigbee Coordinator
An ethernet connector
And a Bluetooth radio (not yet enabled)

So it handles both zwave and Zigbee devices. That’s probably its biggest selling point. :sunglasses: To the best of my knowledge, SmartThings doesn’t hold any engineering patents. It’s offering the ability to combine two standard third-party home automation protocols (Z wave and Zigbee) into one set of rules.


#10

By the way, I agree that something is better than nothing for some use cases, but it could be worse than nothing for other use cases, because it could give you a false sense of security and cause you not to actually make up for its defects.

For example, I do use Smartthings for non-critical applications like knowing if the guestroom window was left open when it’s about to rain. If the system fails to report that correctly it’s not really a big deal. It’s annoying, but no actual damage will be done. Because at my house what will happen is that when it starts to rain, someone will go check that room to make sure the window is shut. Getting the early warning is convenient, but not critical.

on the other hand a smoke detector that failed to alert 20% of the time, or one that had a lot of false alerts, could result in somebody getting killed. And in some ways the false alerts are worse than the misses, because they are teaching people to ignore the siren.

Is it better to have a car with brakes that fail frequently? Or no car at all?

If you don’t have a security system, you know that you don’t have a security system, and presumably you will take whatever steps you personally feel necessary in that situation. Including going out and buying a reliable security system.

If you have a security system that is unreliable, it may Indeed be worse than having none at all. The community members in March who had a system that they could not disarm and consequently their security measures like sirens or even calls to the police were going off unnecessarily several times a week didn’t seem to think it was better than having nothing at all – – many of them posted in the forums that they had removed the security features all together until the reliability improved.

All of these represent personal choices based on the exact set up that you have and let you use it for. But I think particularly for security, unreliable is often worse than nothing at all.

FWIW


(Never Trust @bamarayne) #11

Can I just set my account to automatically like every @JDRoberts post?


#12

That’s how I feel about @johnr , @bravenel , @tyler , @sticks18 , @obycode , @joshua_lyon , @adamv , @mitchp , @MichaelS , @pstuart and a bunch of other people I can’t list because SmartThings limits me to 10 tags in a post.

This is a great community. :sunglasses:


(Bryant) #13

Thank you very much for your prompt reply.
Base on your experience, will the Ge switches work with both the Cree and Philips led bulbs? Or do I have to change all of the bulbs? Or is there any other option in switches if I want to keep my bulbs? I’m sorry for troubling you with questions…:blush:

Thanks!


#14

As Long as everything is connected to smart things, zwave and Zigbee devices can work together. But it does depend on the specific setup. See the following thread on using switches and smart bulbs:


(ecksomperudenlign) #15

#16

I have a monitored alarm system from ADT as my primary, but I have to say SmartThings as a secondary monitoring system for added information of the state of my home is really valuable for my piece of mind.

Just having my garage door, door locks, additional motion sensors, lights and Blink Cameras integrated via ST gives me a better idea of what is happening/not happening at my house.

My Blink Camera in my back yard sent me a notification of movement and I knew nobody should be back there. I check the Camera in the ST app and my neighbor was back their talking on his phone, back gate open, etc. Wasn’t sure if something was wrong or not, but when I got home and asked him he denied being in my back yard. Not sure if I should show him the picture or wait and see what he is really up to. So, things like that just give me added information of the state of my home while I am away…which I like.


(Lew) #17

Great points made thanks!


(Bryant) #18

Hey Phobiac, thanks for mentioning the blink camera❤️can you tell me how you got it to work with SmartThings please? @Phobiac


(Brice; SmartRulesApp.com) #19

Totally agree. This is my use-case too. I’ve also got a separately monitored alarm system, but it is tied into SmartThings with an Arduino and the Thing Shield. It really works well that way.


#20

@duyano I’m using RBoys integration. You’ll have to pay for it via his website RBoy SmartThings Apps

The thread for the integration in this community is here:

[RELEASE] Blink Camera/Motion Sensor Device Handler and Integration with SmartThings/SHM with Temperature, Signals and Push Notifications

The current release works really will with motion detection and capturing a photo during the motion event. It’s nice to be able to see that in one device versus checking a security DVR, Nest Cam or other Camera.