Smart Home Monitor vs. Smart Alarm

Hi there,

Next week I will become a new ST user as I will be picking up a hub, a few sensors and a siren. My goal is to initially setup ST as a means for security for my house and eventually automate other things. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the forums and initially I thought the Smart Home Monitor App was the way to go with the new Hub and App. But seems according to users posting on the forums it’s not that stable yet.

My concern is my mother-in-law, who’s quite old and not that tech savy, is living with us and I’d rather her not have to worry about troubleshooting the alarm when she’s home. She’s use to typical ADT type alarm - with a set away/stay home keypad - so I plan to setup an ipad on a wall in my house where she can arm / disarm. Looking at the Smart Alarm smartapp it looks kind of similar to that where a user can just set a status to home to disarm the alarm. I also like the fact it has an audible delay countdown. I’m not sure how the Smart Home Monitor works, if it’s similar to this or based on presence.

I just wanted to get some user’s thoughts and experiences as when I do set things up, I’d rather do it once with one smartapp as opposed to testing which one is better. If you have a moment and can share your experience, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Very excited about ST and the possibilities.


Smart Alarm all the way, every day…

And here’s the one and only reason that I needed to make the call: Delay.

Currently (unless it’s been update very recently that I’m not aware of) there is no delay in SHM. SmartAlarm allows for a delay before setting off the Siren.

I have it setup so that when my wife comes up garage door opens and the “I’m Back routine” runs, which disarms SHM. But SmartThings sees the door open BEFORE SHM disarms and the siren goes off.

Likewise if my kids punch in the code on our Z-wave lock, it runs the “I’m Back” routine, but more times than not Smartthings will see the door open before SHM is disarmed and the alarm goes off.

With SmartAlarm you can specify a delay between when a door is opened and when the siren goes off. This gives the system (or you) time to disarm the alarm.

Now, having said all this: I would not recommend SmartThings as home monitoring/alarm system right now. There are still some very real questions about reliability and stability of SmartThings. If you need/want a true home alarm system, SmartThings is NOT the system for you, at least not yet.

I get SmartThings for the home automation side and never intended really to use it for security, but I’ve definitely added that. But it’s just an add on for me. It is NOT professional quality home security. Again, if you need/want professional level home security, SmartThings is NOT the system for you right now.


@chrisb Thank you for your reply! I’ve been seeing the various issues on the forums on reliability and I guess will be patient with ST. I see what you mean. I know it’ll never replace say a professional home security, but it’s more of my piece of mind… knowing when say my kids come home or if there’s an unwanted visitor. I have some camera’s already setup, so if receive a notification of unwanted visitor my thinking is i can check my cameras and see what’s going on… and possibly manually trigger the siren if it truely is an unwanted visitor.

There’s other things I eventually want to do with lights etc which I guess are just things to for me to play around with at my house. Thanks again for your response!

It sounds very much like you intend to use SmartThings like how I’m using it, and for that I think it does a decent job. But yeah, it is semi-temperamental. As long as you accept that going in, you’ll be fine.

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As long as you don’t enable an automatic siren, then it won’t be a big problem.

Smartthings isn’t ready to do what you want to do with it. And mentioning you want something trouble free for your mother in law, it REALLY isn’t ready for what you want to do with it. I’d look into something that is first and foremost a security system.

Smart Alarm also allows you to set multiple numbers for SMS notification.

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I modified Smart Alarm to sync its status (arm away, arm stay, disarmed) with Smart Home Monitor so that I can still use the pretty interface and the advanced features (ie, delay). Sensors could be set in both places if you wanted a potential backup (although there are still scenarios that it wont work).

My current method for arming/disarming the alarm is automatic (based on presence changes) and using my phone, but I was thinking of also setting up a dedicated tablet running a dashboard for general control of the house. If I get really adventurous I might build an arduino-type solution with a status LED and/or small LCD display along with a physical keypad to replace a standard alarm control panel.

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Does Smart Alarm work with the IRIS Keypad I searched the Community and can’t find the answer?

I am going to try to use the 360 social app for presence it got to be better than the way it works now.

I hate to have to use both Smart Alarm and Smart Home Monitor. But I think I will try to not use presence but have the delay to enter house and then keypad to arm and disarm. Or use social app 360 as presence. Not sure if Smart alarm will allow self activation.

Well 360 is a bust so I am back to either setting it from phone to away or stay and try the keypad. I installed smart home monitor but as soon as I opened the front door that has a delay the SHM sent an alarm so it didn’t work in conjunction with Smart Alarm. Not sure how you got that to work could you explain?

This is basically what I do right now…but I’ll admit I don’t arm it very often.

Well I am not using SHM now as it caused instant alarm it didn’t read Smart Alarm 30 second delay, so I opened door and got instant alarm.

I’m presently in the SHM vs. Smart Alarm conundrum. How do you “disable” the SHM; just remove all the sensors from its setup? Or can the two exist peacefully?

Yes remove all sensors from security and any other functions using sensors then remove at the end.

Nathan how did you make the status sync? I have the IRIS keypad and if I set the alarm from the keypad the status shows correctly in Smart Alarm and on the keypad, but If I set the alarm from routines the status doesn’t show on keypad. So how did you modify smart Alarm to sync?

Check out the two methods I added at the end of the file and search for their usage. onAlarmSystemStatus is called whenever the Smart Home Monitor setting is changed and updates Smart Alarm (SHM -> SA). setAlarmMode is called whenever Smart Alarm changes its status and updates Smart Home Alarm (SA -> SHM). I can explain in more detail if you need, just let me know.

Yes please let me know more as I am a bit confused regarding status updates. As I remarked I am using the IRIS keypad and SA with a 30 second delay on doors. What happens is that if I change status from SHM or Routines and not the keypad SA is not updated. If I look at it it says alarmed even if it was disabled and if I alarm from SHM the 30 second delay is negated and the alarm goes off as soon as the door is open. But if I open the door and use the keypad the 30 seconds delay is used. What I see is that SHM overrides the delay of SA. That is why I mentioned it. I think SA is what I need but I am worried about adding the siren do to this overriding by SHM. Any help would be appreciated.

The easiest thing to do would be install my version of Smart Alarm and see if that solves your problems. If there is a newer version of Smart Alarm let me know and I’ll update my copy. The other option is to copy my changes into your installed copy - it’s not difficult but you need to be comfortable copying some code.

Where in the IDE is SA, if I find it I could save the original and edit it.