SmartThings Community

Smartthings during emergencies

(Ken Elliott) #1

I live in Thousand Oaks CA, and with the recent fires the internet went down and it was impossible to control my devices with my phone. One of the reasons I bought the hub was local control. If one only has local WiFi, what is a good way to control your stuff?


I hope you were not too badly affected. Such a tragedy.

The SmartThings platform is cloud-based. Very few automations run locally, really just the official smart lights feature. And, as you noticed, no notifications run locally and the app cannot talk to the hub even if they are on the same LAN. That has to go through the cloud as well. People buy smartthings for versatility, not for local control.

There are a number of competitors that do run primarily locally, so it really depends on exactly what you’re looking for. And everybody has their own opinions.

If you want something solid and stable, but with many fewer Options in both devices and rules logic, and you already use iOS devices, apple’s HomeKit is a good choice. Everything runs locally except voice control, and you can use Siri over cellular if needed. I use this in my own home. ( i’m quadriparetic, so reliability is very important to me.) There is an article in the community—created wiki on devices that work with both smartthings and HomeKit. There aren’t many, but there are some.

If you have a strong technical background, some of smartthings’ former power users started a tiny company last year, Hubitat, Which sells a hub that does Much of what smartthings does, with most of the same devices, But runs everything locally. Except for third-party integrations. They are good people with strong skillsets, but again, very tiny company just getting started. Quite a few people with strong technical backgrounds looking for local control have added it to their smartthings systems. However, it has no app at all yet. They assume that everything is going to run based on rules that you set up, although there is an echo integration as well- – but of course that is cloud-based. So I don’t know if it matches what you’re looking for.

See the following thread for more discussion

Other than that, you have quite a few options, but they will almost all cost more than SmartThings, so that’s another consideration. Insteon is decent, And tends to have a high family acceptance factor (FAF), just not quite as modern as some of the others. And they are using their own proprietary communications protocol, so you can’t reuse most of your other devices. Homeseer is very powerful But works primarily with Z wave devices. No zigbee. But you have to be pretty technical to use it, it’s nowhere near as consumer-friendly as HomeKit or Insteon.

Every system has pluses and minuses. So it really depends on what you yourself prefer. And of course on your budget.

There are probably a dozen threads in the forum discussing various local processing alternatives. And again, everybody has their own opinions. Here’s one recent one:


Also, the following thread matches your topic title, if not really the question in your first post, so I’m going to go ahead and put it here for people who might find this thread in the future:

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(MacTechGenius) #4

I have ST control the water valve for my fire sprinklers. I know - most people would agree I shouldn’t rely on ST for something this critical. But I had my sprinkler pipes leak twice causing $$$ in water damage.

Here is my setup, the water valve for my sprinklers are normally closed. If my Nest Protect detects smoke it will communicate with SmartThings via Nest Manager and using WebCore it will open the water valve. And if smoke isn’t detected for 8 minutes that valve will shut off.

I have it all on a UPS backup and will be receiving two Tesla Powerwall’s soon (along with my solar) & I have cellular backup on my network. So the only way my setup fails is if I have a fire when ST or Nest goes down…and the probability of that is very low.

And of course if there is a threat to wildfire or anything like that…I will manually turn on the valve.

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SmartThings has had an outage at least once a month for the last 20 months except for, I think, January 2017. And that’s only the unplanned outages. There are also planned outages, typically one or two a month, to push out hub firmware updates. These updates can either be denied nor delayed.

If you read the thread on planning for outages linked to above, you can see the documentation of all the various history.

so I wouldn’t call the probability “very low.” It may certainly be a risk you’re willing to accept, particularly in a case like yours , but you should be aware of it.

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(Ken Elliott) #6

I had to evacuate, the fire got within 2000 ft of my house. It looks like a failover LTE router is currently my best bet.

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