Security System with imminent SmartThings Hub 2.0?


#1

Hello all,

I moved into a new house and need to install an alarm system. I have been waiting patiently for the launch of Hub 2.0 for many months now (as I am sure most of you have as well…) and can no longer wait. Someone on this community mentioned the new hub will allow integration with security systems without an external PC.

Can someone point me in the right direction as to what would be the safest bet in installing a system that will eventually be compatible with v 2.0? I have spent weeks researching and my research has not indicated any hub that currently allows for easy integration with security systems without the need of additional external PCs or other devices.

My requirements are:
1 -Professional monitoring (one of the $8.99/month or so services would be fine, not sure what the best option is yet)
2- No need for a land line
3- Ability to work with wireless sensors (door/windows, motion, water, etc).
4- Relatively simple to install and setup.
5- Future integration with SmartThings hub v 2.0

Thank you in advance for your help! Hopefully this will also help other in similar situation as mine as I believe integration with security systems is currently a weak spot for smart homes and an area with a lot of potential.


Home Monitoring Devices
#2

We don’t have any official specs for SmartThings Hub 2.0 yet, so any detailed answers are impossible as yet. No one outside the company really knows what kind of cloud to cloud integration will be possible, for example, let alone what might run locally.

I personally have similar requirements as yours for my home security, so I just run a separate system. I do pay a monthly fee, I get professional monitoring from a UL listed center authorized to call my local 911, and it uses cellular communication to that center.

The easiest futureproof selection for limited integration would be to choose a system that meets your other requirements and has an IFTTT channel. It’s unlikely (although not impossible) that SmartThings will drop theirs.

Other than that, there’s just no telling what will be possible until V2 is officially released. Lots of guesses, no certainties.


#3

@JDRoberts, thanks for your reply. Would you mind sharing the solution you are currently using, including the hardware and monitoring service? If this is against forum rules (I hope not as others could benefit from this information ) can you pm me?

Thanks again for helping!

If anyone else has suggestions please post as well!


(Geko) #4

DSC PowerSeries with EnvisaLink 3 is a popular choice. It can be either self-monitored (free) or professionally monitored for $8.50 a month (excluding setup fees) via EyezOn EnvisAlarm service. Integration with SmartThings is also possible, although it’s not “plug-n-play” and requires a bridge between EnvisaLink and ST hub.


#6

@geko thanks for your reply.

Thank you for the links! Pardon my ignorance but can you please
describe how the EnvisaLink 3 would be used in the system and what the
bridge required to link it with the ST hub is? Would I need a board or
something else to allow the DSC to work with wireless sensors?

Sorry but this is kind of complicated for a noobie. Thank you all for your help thus far. This is a great online community!


#7

The bridge is a simple python server that runs on a PC or a raspberry pi to communicate directly with the ST hub via your local network.

see this post for information on the integration of the two.

I have this exact setup and it’s fantastic… The monitoring is actually cheaper than $8.50 after the conversion from Canadian to US dollars. :smile:

-copper


#8

The first post in this topic said they wanted a security system that didn’t require running a server.

Frontpoint, Scout, and Simplisafe are all popular DIY installation choices that would meet the security system requirements listed in the first post, except that none integrate directly with SmartThings. Each has different features, so compare carefully. Simplisafe and Scout are both rapidly evolving systems, so when reading reviews check the dates, both have added features and equipment types over the last 6 months that corrected some initial deficiencies. For example, Scout originally didn’t have a smoke alarm–now it is an official Works with Nest partner to add Nest Protect.

When comparing these or any other systems, I find it helps to use a checklist or spreadsheet as there are lots of details to keep track of.

The biggest concern about Frontpoint always seems to be the cost and the length of the required contract. While most people, including me, don’t want to commit to a 3 year contract, if you’re willing to consider it, Angie’s List regularly has a deal on Frontpoint that lowers the initial equipment cost significantly.

http://my.angieslist.com/thebigdeal/malloffer.aspx?storefrontitemid=XHRaSSsz5QdGBpOY451veA%3D%3D


(Ben Edwards) #9

I’d recommend Scout Alarm from this list.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

Any SmartThings integration with Scout? Seems a shame to run an entirely redundant sensor network…


#11

Quite a few people using IFTTT to bridge them…of course that requires working Internet, but no more than the ST hub.


(Geko) #12

There’re two integration paths: (1) using Alarm Server software running on a Raspberry Pi or another Linux computer, and (2) using a Zigbee bridge consisting of Arduino and SmartThings Shield. Neither is simple enough for a beginner, though.

You can read more about it in this thread:

In general, I prefer an “old school” alarm system like DSC PowerSeries over the multitude of “new age” systems like Scout, Simplisafe, iSmartAlarm, etc. because of better physical security and better expandability.

Scout and other “integrated” alarm systems can by easily disabled by the intruder by simply smashing them with a hammer before they have a chance to send an alarm (i.e. within “entry delay” interval). With DSC and other “old school” systems, smashing keypad that hangs near the door will not disable the controller that’s hidden in the closet.

The reason that “integrated” alarm systems become popular is because they’re cheaper and easier to install, but in my opinion there are less secure.


#13

Understood and agreed.

(Although I believe Simplisafe’s alert comes from the cone device that can be hidden anywhere in the house, not from the alarm panel. And one of the panel systems addresses the smash issue by sending a “standby” from the nearby motion sensor, so that if no message is sent from the panel either way, the monitoring center is notified anyway.)

Like many things, it all comes down to your individual needs. Are you most concerned about burglaries while the house is unoccupied, personal assault, or fire safety? Or all of the above? Are you likely to be an individual target? And of course, how much do you want to spend?


#14

BTW, I personally would want to give these guys a year to make sure their system does what they say it’s going to do before I chose it as my security system, but abode is a really interesting approach with a lot of new features. It’s on my list to evaluate for the summer of 2016.

Abode was founded by a guy from ADT, and has some big backing. The main goal was to come up with a pay-as-you-go security system that included cameras and that allowed a UL listed professional monitoring center to review the video from the home before phoning in an alert.

This sounds obvious, but no one is doing it except super high-end services which basically assign a security guard to each home to continually monitor their video.

What’s different about this is that it’s a regular call center type monitoring operation, and they will only look at the video once the alarm notification comes in.

You do pay for the service, but you can turn it on and off each month, No long-term contract.

The Gateway has both zigbee and a Z wave antenna, but communicates via cellular, not Internet, and does work if the power is off at least for the emergency notifications.

It sounds great, but it’s just starting to ship to early backers now, and it’s the kind of thing where like I said, I personally would want to wait until it’s been out for a while before trying it myself.

But if this idea it turns out to be practical, I do think this will be the future of DIY installation for home security. The idea of having the professional Center visually verify from the cameras is just really sensible. But it’s also something that other services like frontpoint or scout could add pretty easily if it turns out to be valuable.

Anyway, just wanted to mention it. Expect to start seeing a lot of press on Abode in the next few months.


#15

@JDRoberts, @geko and cuboy29 thank you for your response sand links. It amazes me how complex the home security /home automation integration world is right now. Abode looks very interesting but who knows when it will be available and what the monthly fees for cellular backup and monitoring will be.

Scout and other similar solution seem very expensive for what they provide, you may be stuck having to buy all accessories and sensors from them - plus some of the other downsides have already been discussed in this thread.

Right now I am leaning towards installing an old traditional DCS system, adding the module for wireless sensors, adding EnvisaLink 3 and then a bridge (Raspberry Pi?). I can’t believe I just said that! sight… If anyone has a good link, tutorial or video explaining how to set it all up please let me know. I read the links posted in this thread and was not able to follow some of the discussion as it assume general knowledge that I currently lack. I have no doubt that I can eventually figure out how to do it, but it will take time.

Another solution would be to just install the DCS alarm with no ST integration and wait for Hub V 2.0 to launch and then see what the best method to integrate is.

Anyway, please keep posting any other suggestions and comments. With the current state of the home automation/home security world I can only imagine there are a lot of people out there on the same boat.

Thank!


(Geko) #16

Complexity is because SmartThings hub lacks access to low-level protocols like UDP or TCP sockets and does not have a USB port. Therefore you need a bridge. Unfortunately, V2 is not going to be better as far as I know. Although it has a USB port, it’s not user-accessible and whether or not it’s going to support UDP and TCP sockets is not clear. There’s been no official confirmation so far.

You may want to consider Vera Edge which integrates directly with Envisalink 3 without a bridge. You just need to install a free plug-in. Follow this link for more information: http://code.mios.com/trac/mios_dscalarmpanel. Another advantage of Vera is that it’s not dependent on Internet and can be controlled locally from and web browser.


#18

Vera Edge does sound interesting. Two issues I see are the lack of ITTT
support and the online community seems pretty dead. I was looking at
their forum and there were questions about alarm integrations that have
been there for months with no responses. Seems like at this point all
solutions have some big compromises.