Should I purchase SmartThing for just its alarm function


(3D) #1

OK, SO I’ve not ordered the system yet, and frankly this forum is making my head hurt. I started looking for a DIY self monitoring system just before Christmas and have well over 20 hours of research into it so far. I’ve Studied, Ismartalarm, Iris, Canary, and a few others along with SmartThings.

But here is my issue, the more I read in these forums the more concerned I become about if its the right direction for me to go. I’ve tried to find similar jokes as me who use the system as a simple turn on alarm when I leave and turn off alarm when I get home, but haven’t found those threads yet.

I admit, I’d love to do some of the things I’ve learned you can do from these forums, YOU GUYS ARE SMART!, and I could see moving toward more automation some day, but for now I am just trying to get a very simple question answered:
Will SmartThings work reliably enough to depend on as a home alarm system to notify my of intrusion and sound an alarm.
If so, I buy in and get that started, then I look to delve into the challenging area of all the automation.

Please, Please, Please oh wise ones, what say yee


(Ram) #2

I think it will. If you don’t rely on automation and lot of rules, then it has been stable. Just need to ensure you arm and disarm manually instead of relying on automation.

Haven’t had problems with the pure door-window sensors monitoring portion of it so far.


#3

Everyone has different requirements for peace of mind.

It also depends on how consistent you need the coverage to be. Smartthings, for example, pushes out firmware updates that can take your hub off-line from anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. You are not given a choice to postpone those. Which means your system can go off-line at any time, sometimes without prior notice, often in the middle of the night. And sometimes these require manually resetting your devices after the system comes back online, something which isn’t always convenient. And all of that is just when the system is working as it’s supposed to.

On top of that there are issues that come from when the system is failing. Which in my experience has been at least once every 10 days since the big platform changes last October. That means either an event fails to fire as it is set up to do, or fires when it’s not supposed to.

Smartthings is a very inexpensive system. So it may still be worth it for some people Who are OK with the instability. I personally pay a monthly fee for a different security system. But that’s just me.

If you’re looking at inexpensive security systems, you might also look at the purpose built systems like Scout, Simplisafe, and the new Abode. Piper also has quite a good reputation.

There are a lot of choices out there, it just depends on your specific needs and preferences.


#4

Some day - for a security system - yes I would think so. I use ST strictly for HA, and leave security to a dedicated Ademco solution. I’ve been with ST for quite a while, and it is getting better (although sometimes I do scratch my head on that), but for me personally I want to keep HA and security as separate systems. ST as an HA system has been working very well for me BTW.

Some day I’ll fully integrate my security and ST systems, but I don’t foresee myself ever relying upon a single system for everything. That feeling could stem from my experiences in IT, or recently with HA, or I’m just paranoid. I choose “D” - all of the above.


(3D) #5

Great response, and thanks.

I’m more and A,B,C kind of guy, so I thought getting started with security was “A” a good place to start.
coming from the security industry, I know what the monthly charge is for, and frankly, I can make the call to the POPO, just as easily as a center.
SO my big need was stable enough to handle a siren and push notification while we were out.

HA, is cool,”B” but not my starting point, but, most other choice will block the minimum HA I would consider at this point, so, I come right back to SmartThings and just being able to have it arm and disarm when I leave and arrive.
Shoot, I guess I don’t have a “C”


(Eric) #6

I don’t think you can be blase about the current issues of using ST as an alarm system with a loud siren. There are too many incidents of the system going into alarm with loud siren, and the operator cannot turn it off by normal disarm, because disarm is not acted on.

IMO ST is fine for push notification. Alarms have to verified by a separate channel, like cameras.


(DLee) #7

I think ST would be fine if you use door/window sensors. But I would not recommend using home automation motion sensors for alarm use. Home automation calibrated motion sensors are too sensitive and too quick to go active. Even without pets you might be at risk for the occasional false alarm near rooms with windows.

I tried to calibrate my Fibaro motion sensor device type to not be triggered by cats but never found a 100% reliable calibration that avoided cat detection and also maintained enough responsiveness to use for automation. If you were going to try to use a motion sensor with ST for alarm but not automation, Fibaro is probably the one I would recommend because you can turn down the sensitivity and response time quite a bit more than other motion sensors I played with. There might be other options out there I’m not aware of. The ST branded motion sensors are super sensitive and fast. Not good for alarms.


(js69uk) #8

I’ve purchased SmartThings a week or so ago with the intent on using it mainly as an alarm. I had the iSmartAlarm and grew tired of the poor product range availability such as sirens etc which are non existent for us in the UK, reliability of their server and a couple of other issues. “Luckily” a sensor failed and because I purchased from Apple they couldn’t just replace the sensor so wanted the whole kit back which meant taking down all my sensors. A PITA but as they offered a refund it gave me the opportunity to look at alternatives.

I settled on SmartThings as I like the idea of dabbling with a bit of home automation as well.
My criteria for the alarm was: door sensors, motion sensors, loud internal sirens, notifications direct to my phone, a camera so I can check the inside of the house if the alarm sounded to check if it was a real or false alarm so I don’t rush home for nothing.

I purchase the starter kit which had everything I needed and was very much plug an play. Over the first week I’ve made the decision to drop the motion sensor from the alarm side of things as its triggered three times in a week falsely. I do however use the sensor, very reliably, for other uses such as triggering lamps.

As an alarm it now does everything I need. No false triggers since removing the motion sensor from the alarm setup and I’ve managed to use the presence sensor in both the starter kit and a couple of phones to arm and disarm the alarm automatically…again this is working flawlessly and beats entering a code or pressing a button, you almost forget it’s there.

Would definitely recommend it as an alarm. But more so I would recommend it as much more than an alarm as it is so expandable. I’ve now added Fibaro relays to most of my ceiling lights which just wasn’t possible with an iSmartAlarm as it was solely for use as an alarm. This forum is a great read and you’ll find nearly anything is possible one way or another.


(Graeme) #9

Hi js69uk. Just a bit of feedback please. I started looking at home security using the iSmart, then discovered ST and Google home. Im now looking at using all three. My preference is to have a dedicated security system seperate from home automation.

Can you give me some feedback on what was good and what was bad with the iSmart system

Cheers
Graeme


(Never Trust @bamarayne) #10

It lacks a native cellular backup, something that even IRIS offers. Both Abode and Scout, Security Focused HA Hubs, have as well.

This is required IMO.

Also ST has a so so track record with reliability. It has gotten better from what I can tell, but this is antidote.