Scout + Smartthings, device compatibility


(John ) #1

Hello,

I am purchasing a Smartthings hub and a series of Z-Wave Plus devices (door, motion, fire detectors, etc) and hoping to add Scout’s 24/7 monitoring service to act as a security system. In my ideal world, the system will arm when I leave and alert me and Scout of unexpected door entries or movement in the house.

I cannot seem to find any data on what, exactly is allowed in my meshed network, with Scout as the monitoring system.

After purchasing all the equipment I would hate to learn that Scout doesn’t support the devices based on a protocol or manufacture.

Thank you for any insight you can offer!
John


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

The Scout integration is just software … networking: the SmartThings “Smart Home Monitor (SHM)” dashboard solution SmartApp has a Cloud to Cloud connection over the internet which sends Scout a message when SHM detects an alert condition and again when you acknowledge and dismiss it (Scout will also telephone you to verify certain alerts).

That means any devices that are compatible with SHM will work with Scout.;;. i.e., nearly any SmartThings official “Works With SmartThings” device (ummm… listed on a page on the SmartThings website) and even most devices that you can install a driver (DTH Device Type Handler) from someone here on the Community.

The integration pretty much needs your internet to be working in order to send alert to the SmartThings Cloud (and then the Scout cloud) … SmartThings hub does not have cellular yet.


#3

From the Scout site FAQ:

http://support.scoutalarm.com/article/158-general-scout-monitoring-questions

Scout covers Security/intrusion alarms at this time. Scout does not currently monitor or dispatch for fire/CO (Smoke), Leaks, or Custom alarms. However, we look forward to monitoring other devices in the near future. If you download a PDF certificate for insurance purposes, it will state your home is covered for “Burglary.”

If you have SmartThings it is only going to report to scout about the events that are handled by the “smart home monitor” “security alerts” feature, and that will only be the contact and motion sensors, since, as noted above, Scout will not monitor for fire, CO2, leaks, or custom alarms.

Also, be aware that if you are using devices that have a custom device handler, they cannot run locally, which means if your Internet is down or the SmartThings cloud account is unavailable, smartthings will not be able to notify scout.

So you’re safest if you are selecting motion sensors and contact sensors from the official “works with smart things” list and you are setting up a monitoring rule through smart home monitor under the “security alerts” section.

You can contact Support@smartthings.com to confirm this and get additional details.

It is certainly possible to add smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, and leak detectors to SmartThings but their notifications will not be reported to scout.


#4

Sorry, but none of the above is true.

The smartthings/scout integration is an official integration based on the first category of SHM alerts and specifically limited to “intrusion sensors” which means only contact sensors and motion sensors. Even though there are smoke detectors and leak detectors on the official “works with SmartThings list.” The scout integration is limited to a very small subset of the devices that can work with SmartThings.

You can confirm this with support@SmartThings.com

Since I myself am quadriparetic, I pay very close attention to the details on emergency alert systems, and in particular, smoke detector issues. Scout itself does not do any form of smoke detector monitoring. And the scout/smart things integration specifically, as quoted above, does not cover leak detection either.

You may have been thinking of a different unofficial integration, sheriff something, which is just based on notifications. But Scout is different.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

Well… I wasn’t completely wrong!

What you’re saying is that Scout is currently compatible with only a subset of SHM features. So it does not support the Damage & Danger functions (leak,smoke, etc.) at this time?

But everything supported in Intrusion detection is supported? Probably includes Garage Door Tilt detector (or should… or it can with a custom DTH).

Heck, a custom DTH could have a Smoke Detector report “window open”, but that’s cheating. Fact is that it’s all done with SmartThings device type handlers… nothing special required for Scout specifically.


#6

With the caveat again that if you use a custom device handler, it won’t be able to run local. Usually a bad idea for security systems.

Beyond that, though, I’m pretty sure your agreement with scout will restrict you to specific types of devices. Most security systems that issue an insurance certificate do. But maybe they missed that because they didn’t realize that SmartThings could be fooled in that way.

I’m not sure if you would face any liability for knowingly misleading police and sending them on a burglar detection report when it’s in fact a fire, it would probably depend on the jurisdiction. Some of them are pretty strict about “filing a false report.”


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #7

Sure … but even fully local devices need to be able to reach the Scout Cloud in order for that service to be alerted.

If all your DTHs are local compatible, and if the Scout integration SmartApp (a sub-module of SHM) is also a 100% local SmartApp, then then that SmartApp still needs to be able to use the internet to send the alert to Scout’s cloud servers.

So having fully local DTHs is barely relevant and definitely insufficient in the case of a power and/or internet outage. It just might have some resilience against a SmartThings Cloud outage (again… even this is only true if the Scout SmartApp is locally executing, which, I … doubt).


#8

I wondered about this, too, but during the recent cloud outages in the past week a couple of people said that Scout was notified and they received a call from them. (Actually in those cases the people were trying to figure out how to turn their sirens off since the mobile app doesn’t work if the smartthings cloud is unavailable)

You are absolutely right, of course, that it would have to be a situation where power was on, and Internet was on, and just the SmartThings cloud was unavailable. But since we’ve seen that exact issue at least four times since March, it seems reasonable to consider it when setting up devices.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #9

That’s unfortunately not proof that the Scout SHM sub-SmartApp is running local.

The outages last week may not have disrupted all Cloud-based SmartApps: The general reports I read only indicated that connectivity from the Mobile App was down, as well as attempts to reach the IDE/API servers. SmartApp execution may have continued to run … I don’t know.

There’s a query (web URL) to find out which of your Devices are local, right? Does it also show which SmartApps are local? If so, Scout should appear in the list of SmartApps. It is not buried inside of SHM … it is a true child-SmartApp.


#10

Yes, there’s a link to check which smartapps are eligible to run locally on your account. I don’t know if SHM shows up there or not.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=FAQ


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

Great! That will be handy for the someone who has a Hub V2 to check! Anyone can actually “install” the Scout SmartApp option but abort signing up (the SmartApp remains installed), and then confirm if it is local or not.

(Unfortunately, I don’t have an installed Hub V2 at the moment.).

How do I check what SmartApps are running locally? (If you aren’t sure which US server you’re on, try both.)
Visit this URL for US accounts on Server 1 - https://graph.api.smartthings.com/localInstalledSmartApp/list
Visit this URL for US accounts on Server 2 - https://graph-na02-useast1.api.smartthings.com/localInstalledSmartApp/list
Visit this URL for UK accounts - https://graph-eu01-euwest1.api.smartthings.com/localInstalledSmartApp/list


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #12

Frankly, if I subscribed to Scout, I would attach custom Device Type Handlers to my Leak and Smoke detectors to make them mimic Capability Contact or Motion. Even if they didn’t run locally, Scout would receive the “security” alert and initiate the response.

If it turns out that there really was a fire that I was not directly push- or SMS-notified about because of being out of cell range or some other platform issue, and yet Scout sent police as first-responders, I’d happily deal with the repercussions if my house were saved from fire or flooding.

Of course, this is a personal choice – not a recommendation. Do so at your own risk.


#13

The police have their job to do. The firefighters have theirs. They are not the same job, and the same crews are not sent out.

If you request police come to your house because you were sending a burglar alert when you know there is a fire, you are pulling the police away from the job that they need to be doing, and potentially putting them at risk because they may assume that there was a burglar and the burglar set the fire. So the cops may hang around trying to catch the nonexistent burglar, or even rescue him/her from the fire before the firefighters get there. (They might also shoot your dog.). It’s just a bad situation for many reasons, which is why many municipalities have laws against it.

Your personal decision to not pay an extra $25 a month to get smoke detector monitoring does not justify using resources that other people in town need.

If you want monitoring for fire, pay for monitoring for fire. That way the right team will get sent out as quickly as possible, more of your belongings will be saved, your pets are more likely to be treated as pets, and the police resources can be used where they are most needed. :sunglasses:


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

Harsh, man… Harsh. :crying_cat_face:

I don’t know what leap of logic you just took, but considering that perhaps these dog shooting police have been called by Scout due to an actual intrusion sensor (Contact / Motion / Camera feed).

If that puts my dog’s life at stake, you’ve definitely convinced me not to EVER use any reactive security monitoring service. Geesh. No way, no how.


#15

The dog thing is one of those unfortunate but true facts. If police are called when a dog is loose in the house, even if the owners are home, that dog may be perceived as a potential threat.

There are no nationwide numbers for the number of pet dogs shot by police on their own property, there are no nationwide numbers for dog shootings at all, but while there will be a police investigation, it’s not considered unusual in most cities and if the officer felt threatened, it’s just part of the job.

The Humane Society has been working on training programs for police officers which can significantly reduce the number of shootings, but if you send the police department an intrusion alert, you are inviting people with guns to come into your house and telling them that it is a potentially dangerous situation. If you have a dog running loose in that house, and even more so if the dog might be frightened by fire in that house, you’ve created a situation with a potentially very unfortunate outcome.

You can get a free window sticker from the ASPCA to let firefighters know that there are pets in the home, and most fire departments will read these. Police departments generally do not. ( you’ll get a ton of email from the ASPCA after you get the sticker, but you can unsubscribe then if you want to.)

Just as a general rule, the more accurate information you can give ahead of time on a 911 call, the more help you will receive.

If your home automation system detects a fire, make sure it gets reported as a fire. :sunglasses::dog: