Simple question - what exactly does it mean integration

Sorry if this seems a basic question, I’m new to SmartThings and trying to decide on what system to buy.

I have some home automation things from various manufacturers, WeMo, DLink cameras, LightwaveRF, Easybulb (Milight/limitless) already.

What does it mean when it states integrated? Does it just mean that the iOS SmartThings app can control it rather than its own app?

Does it mean integrated that the SmartThings app can effect stuff, e.g. If detect motion then switch I lights etc?


Different integrations offer different levels of (inter) operability…
The usual intent being to expose the native devices of the integrated system into ST and visa versa as well as bi-directional device state synchronization.
Having stated the intent, various integrations offer all or a subset of the above.

“Fully integrated” would mean that you can set up controls through smartthings that would be able to utilize any of the features of that device.

Say it was a dimmable, color changing light bulb.

If it was fully integrated you would be able to:

A) open the SmartThings app and toggle the bulb on and off, dim it, change the colors

B) set up a different device connected to Smartthings to cause the bulb to do something. A Motion sensor might cause the bulb to turn on. Or opening the closet door might do it. Or even if a flood detector detected a water leak, the bulb might change to red and start blinking. All kinds of possibilities.

C) Open the SmartThings app and do a one time set up so that the bulb would do different things on a schedule. For example, you might set it up to come on every day 15 minutes before sunset. Or you might set it up to gradually wake you up in the mornings by increasing the brightness level every Monday at 6 AM. Again, many different kinds of possibilities.

So with full integration, The bulb becomes one device in a network of devices that you can control multiple ways through SmartThings.

“Partial integration” or “limited integration” would mean that SmartThings could issue commands to turn the bulb on and off, but might not be able to access all the other features.

One of the confusing things is that a lot of times people say “integrated” when they really mean “partially integrated,” not “fully integrated.”

A good example is door locks. The official compatibility list for smartThings lists a number of different lock brands that can be partially integrated with smartthings so that you can lock or unlock the door from the smart things app. However, if you look on the far right of that list there will be a little tiny I for information and if you click on that, you’ll see a message like “custom codes are not supported.” Which means you can’t, for example, set different time schedules for different user codes for that lock. The manufacturer created the device with that capability, but smartthings does not fully integrate with the lock to be able to access that capability through the smartthings network.

Sometimes community members or independent developers have been able to add additional little programs that can improve the integration with a specific device. But not always.

Note that anything that says it is in “smart labs” status does not Yet have full integration, and is in a beta phase where the features that are available may come and go as the integration is being developed.


So the short answer is that if a device has “full integration” with SmartThings you should be able to control its features many different ways. On-demand through the smartthings app, by setting up routines and schedules, or by associating it with events from other devices on the smartthings network.

Anything other than “full integration” means some features may be missing, or some means of control may not be available. You just have to ask in the forums on each specific device to see how people have it working.

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Thanks for explanation.

So is SmartThings quite an “open” platform then. Other systems you seem to have to use only their equipment, is that right? Where as SmartThings can, if supported, use other equipment from other manufacturers, e.g. WeMo stuff etc.

Do any other systems do this? It seems a great idea if so, and maybe I should have waited, rather than buy stuff that isn’t sorted in SmartThings.

I haven’t purchased SmartThings yet, but it seems really good idea.

Smartthings has stated many times that their philosophical goal is to be a fully open platform and integrate with as many home automation devices as possible.

However, there are practical, financial, and business reasons why not all integrations makes sense. Especially when the controller is only sold for a price of $99.

Smartthings has a partial integration with WeMo. Some people find it works very well. Others find it’s either laggy or unreliable.

There are a number of competitors in the low-cost home automation space right now. Some of them work only with their own devices. Others have varying degrees of openness. And some are designed for highly technical people, not general consumers. They all have different pros and cons, and there’s no real leader yet. So different people will find that different systems meet their own particular requirements.

I’m all for simple! Not too bothered on it being complicated, or having to program a raspberry Pi or something to achieve something that I can buy.

What I do want is synergy between devices, e.g. one I really want is to “between darkness hours, if an outside door is open to switch on lights for security, send me a notification/alarn”

I tried LightwaveRF which is good, but limited. WeMo is good but only within itself. If SmartThings does lots then I think it’s way to go for me, although I’d love homekit compatibility, but I can’t see it as Samsung and Apple are rivals as such!

So am I missing something here? SmartThings seems a great system, that not only has decent sensors “things” that it sells itself, but also other equipment from other manufacturers, to integrate? Why would you buy another Home Automation solution?

The thing I most want to know is, even though its a large company behind it - Samsung, what reliance does it have on cloud/servers by them. If it becomes a loss, they’ll not upkeep it etc.

I’ve heard/read briefly that the new Hub v2, has a backup for not only power, but doesn’t rely on cloud servers - is this correct? Once you have the hub, can you use it without Samsung servers on a remote iFI and even 4G mobile networks?

Also if the Samsung servers were down, and you have a schedule for lights to come off/on throughout the day/night, will it still run this independently on your own network?


Two completely separate questions, so I’m going to separate my answers.

First, regarding local processing with the V2 hub: at the present time, almost all processing will still run in the cloud. The only smartapp code which might run locally is a single smartthings – provided “solution” smartapp called smart lights. And then only if you are using only official device types.

So some of your lighting could run locally, but for many of us the very things we like about smartthings, the fact that The community has provided so many different smart apps and device types is what means it will still be dependent on the cloud.

Also, the “run locally” design is really only intended as an emergency backup. During times when the Internet is not available, you will not be able to add any new schedules or new devices or change the rules that you already have set up. You can only run schedules you had set up well the Internet was available. Also, there will be no connection to your tablet or phone if the Internet is not available.

Many many discussions of this in the forms, so just look for the V2 topics.

Eventually, more things will be authorized to run locally, but it’s very different from a system like Staples connect which can run almost everything locally.

That one’s not a “simple question” and there isn’t a simple answer. :wink:

Or maybe there is a simple answer and it’s just that there are several different competitors in the low-end home automation market niche, and each has its own pluses and minuses. Different ones will be right for different people, and no one is perfect yet. They are all evolving pretty quickly.

There are many detailed discussions of system selection in the forms, so I think the best thing is just to take this particular topic to one of those.