SmartThings as Home Security - Hybrid Mode?

Putting things to cloud could be the right way to move forward with Internet of Things(IoT). But how many folks over here think that part of the automation should have “some” local control using the hub?

I wanted to try out Smartthings primarily for security and then home automation. When there is a power failure or if my internet is down, I am totally clueless of whats happening at my home!

I understand smartapps runs locally (and I know this topic has been discussed numerous times), say if ST decides to upgrade the software/firmware to support certain actions locally, would it be possible using the present hardware(Hub)? meaning… does it have the necessary physical components to do that?

There should be a ‘hybrid’ mode which should intelligently execute certain actions(like say triggering an alarm when in an event of break in) when hub detects power failure or if internet is down. Things like that could really make smartthings smart! :slight_smile:


Better to integrate as best you can with an system as the secondary controller for security.

SmartThings ABSOLUTELY must come up with a way to run “critical” functionality when disconnected from the SmartClound and/or entire Internet. I.e., SmartThings needs an “offline” mode.

Of course, for alarm-system purposes, connectivity to the outside world in order to send an alert is rather critical, so that’s where a “3G” (or other sub-broadband radio or telephone) protocol would be handy.

Still, it may be sufficient for the “offline hub” to just be able to trigger basic events, such as a Siren thing, or maybe turn on a bunch of lights, etc…

Offline functionality can also reduce latency. Regardless… lights on / off, smart door locks, etc., – all are reasonable “local” offline requirements.


Also, I do not receive a notification (through a push) when the hub loses connectivity with the router/internet. I have tried this test manually by powering off and/or pulling the internet cable.

If you are using SmartThings for security one thing you may wish to consider is the connecting through a wireless carrier instead of using your home broadband. If you are in a WiMax area you can get a FreedomPop Hub Burst and connect your hub to it. They offer 1GB per month for free and the hub connected to 30 things only generates around 200MB of traffic per month. Connect the router and the SmartThings hub to a small battery and it will run for several days if grid power is lost. WiMax is supposed to be replaced over the next year or so but for now it offers a very cheap a reliable connection to the internet for the cost of the router (about $50 used) Once WiMax is replaced with LTE all you need to do is swap out the modem with a newer one. The nice thing about wireless is most towers are backed up by generators, and if one tower goes down there are others that aren’t. This is a much more reliable than your home broadband.

Thanks for all your replies! What is the best solution available to have modem and smartthings run thru a battery? Any recommended inverters?

Sadly… The place where I live does not have WiMAX coverage! Probably I have to use 3G or 4g data cards. However am not sure if pay per use data modems are available though!

Power outage is easily solved with UPS. Using WiMax or Wireless modem as a backup would require a router that can intelligently fail over to your backup connection. Still, it does not protect you from SmartThings server outage. If you want 0.9999 reliability, SmartThings is probably not a solution for you. But it’s a decent 0.99 solution.

My SmartThings hub is connected to a FreedomPop Burst Router / modem. When I am away from home I still see what is going on, including a push message that there is a power failure at my home. All you need to do is put the hub and the FreedomPop router on a cheap UPS battery backup and you are good to go.

The problem with broadband is even if you have a UPS on all your equipment when the power goes out chances are your internet connection goes down because the outside cable equipment needs to be powered. Apparently they are only required to have battery backup on the phone service but not for television or internet.

If you don’t live in a WiMax area perhaps you can get a dirt cheap DSL connection. Get the lowest throughput as the SmartThings hub communicates with very little data.

Thanks folks for your suggestions. I have ATT now which I believe uses ADSL. I guess during power failure, ATT has a battery backup in their network hub/stations. I would be planning to get a battery backup for ST hub and modem at home.

And further talks with ST support verified that “The hub as it exists today isn’t powerful enough for any sort of comprehensive local event processing. It’s likely we’ll bring (some) local events and scheduled to a future version of our hub but that’s not right around the corner or anything.

I like the fact that ST support is open and they also openly discuss their future plans to us.

Hoping the next version of hub is even more smarter! :wink:

I have been considering this, since they have a $40 home modem with ethernet Two questions:

  1. Is there any disadvantage in regards to response time or anything like that by having the hub on a hotspot?
  2. Anyway to set up this modem as a fallback for an Airport Extreme?


The response time is just as quick as being connected to the hardline.
I don’t know anything about Airport Extreme but the Burst Router functions the same as any normal router, It has one WAN (WiMax) and two Ethernet LAN connections along with Wireless WiFi.

How about data usage if I have a dropcam setup? With the dropcam not on the hotspot though… DO the images get transferred to the hub? And this consume the hotspot data?

I don’t have dropcam so I can’t comment on that part but I do run a half dozen security cams but they connect through my regular network. If SmartThings sends a notification that requires me to see what is going on I just fire up “IP Cam View” to take a look.

I got a response from ST support, looks like it’s feasible…

If your mobile hotspot is much slower than your home router, then you may notice some minor delays, but nothing detrimental I’m sure.

On average, the hub will probably transmit 1 to 5 MB of data.

I ordered the Freedompop home router for $40

“The Dropcam integration is actually cloud to cloud – so your pictures will be sent from Dropcam to our cloud and will never go through the hub. You’ll see them on your phone through the SmartThings app.”

I think that the use of battery in any smart device should be limited in the same way that UPS are used during a power cut. Integrating also a M2M (EDGE/UMTS) module would help in this scenario, allowing SMS and other data transfer in case of power cut.

For home security I also see the need of more intelligence in the hub and some software to and trigger customize events. Simple examples where combined events can trigger an alarm while the single shouldn’t: cat not at home + garden camera movement, sound/noise sensor not triggering alarms when washing machine is running…all sort of things…
This obviously in the view of having an off-line mode able to detect and send alarms should be configurable as visual scripts (and/or logical input/output) on the hub.