SmartThings Retail Store Live Demo, Looking for ideas, best practices

Baillio’s Appliance, Electronics & Mattress Store a local business in town is in the final steps of setting up a very cool (and the only one that I am aware) live demonstration area of SmartThings in a mock up kitchen, bedroom and living room. I was asked to help them setup the best ways to demo the power of home automation using SmartThings environment. What would look appealing to see in a demo? Trying to come up with multiple ways to give a compelling WOW factor and show what possibilities there are for people to consider.

Here is an example of what I have done to start off. Everything is on and running in all rooms, as a person enters the kitchen area and trips the motion detector, the speakers announce “Welcome to our Smart Home, Get ready for an exciting experience. Hey Google, turn on Smart Home Demonstration” Google perks up, acknowledges the request and sets up the environment to begin a demo by turning off lights in the other areas, turning off the Bose radio, turning off TV’s, trips a silent home alarm to start the security cameras recording in SHM so we have mini clips of them in a “break-in”, etc.

0:30 Tablet showing Video clips from security intrusion
1:44 Hidden TV in a Picture frame
2:25 Google Home initiates area for demonstration, dimming lights, turn off speakers
- Hide large flat screen TV in Bedroom via lift
-Hide kitchen TV
3:04 HIdden TV drops down from Cabinets, by hearing ST announcement
4:00 Turn on Bose Speaker

Here is a list of the things I have available that came off the floor inventory to use but I can get more things if needed (remember its an appliance electronics store :slight_smile:

SmartThings Home Monitoring & Automation Kit (Hub, outlet, motion, door sensor)
Samsung Family Hub refrigerator
Samsung Electric Range with Smart Home Adapter
Samsung Washer with Smart Home Adapter
Samsung Dryer with Smart Home Adapter
Samsung 4k SUHD TV’s (waiting for Smart Home adapter)
Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
Samsung 10" Tablet
Amazon Echo Dot (for connecting to high end speakers)
Google Home
Samsung WiFi Speakers
Sonos WiFi Speakers
Bose WiFi Speakers
Sony Sound Bar (chromecast)
TV lift system reveals a hidden TV from behind the drawers
TV lift system reveals a hidden TV in kitchen cabinets
eero WiFi system
H801 WiFi RGBWW Controller RGBW (Kitchen cabinet lighting)
Sonoff WiFi Outlet extension cord
Fibaro RGBW Controller
Leviton Dimmer Switch
WeMo In Wall Switch
WeMo Outlet Plug
Nest Thermostat

Things that still could be added:
Ring Video bell
Smart Lock
Nest Camera
Hue Color Lights

BTW: Another area of this same store will feature Control4 and GE appliances so my “competition” will be formidable :grin:


Sounds like a great project!

I have a couple of “meta” thoughts, just based on having been on teams that did some in-store demo displays for big retailers and my interest in this area…

Specific to Home automation, Target’s Open Home location ended up with some interesting information:

  1. people 50 and up mostly wanted a real demo, where anyone who walked in got the same experience as the space demonstrated various options.

Two) millennials and most Gen Xers wanted a sandbox where they could walk around and select a device and get a customized response. So that a family with a baby might be shown a different set of features than a single with no kids.

In particular, millennials hated things that started automatically talking to them. While the over 50s thought that was helpful.

On the other hand, the millennials didn’t want the store to gather information specific to them, such as saying that they had a baby. They didn’t want it on record associated with their name in any way. They wanted to walk up to the display and select “family with baby”

I know at one point target was considering having a separate display area called “guided tour” which would be the automatically coming on same experience for everyone section. And then having the other areas be walk around where you picked the features you wanted to see at each separate display.

Separately, and just something that retailers have to keep in mind, some customers can’t see and some customers can’t hear. Experiences which assume that everyone can do both often generate negative feedback. And if a discount is offered to anyone who completes the experience, then it may well be illegal if alternative accessible options are not provided.

BTW, my guess is that the hidden TVs are going to be a big hit, and that’s a feature I’d definitely put in a “sandbox” set up so that a customer who sees it can then go get a friend who was shopping elsewhere in the store and bring them over and show them that specific feature without having to go through the whole tour again. :sunglasses:

Also…think about a Store on a busy Saturday afternoon with 30 people walking in and out of the space. Is your Google announcement going to play every time? And how will that affect the experience of people who are halfway through the tour?

This is one of the most challenging aspects of any retail display. How do you get the attention of one customer without interrupting the browsing experience of another? :performing_arts:


That is interesting! Right now the "Welcome to " announcement (set not to repeat for at least 15 minutes) serves as a way to have the sales people know to stop by and see if customers have questions. If not (which of course happens) the Sales guys says “No problem I will be around if you need me. Hey Google, turn On Retail Mode” which turns the lights back up to full, the music back on, the TV’s are come out of hiding and turn on, etc. Basically they get a one shot demo by watching, hearing the area get reset back.

Great insight on so many things to consider. Thanks!

1 Like

So, is this to be a demo of Smartthings, or Google Home?

The answer is Yes and Yes. :slight_smile: It is all about Smart Home and SmartThings has the most encompassing solution.

Google Home & Amazon Echo just makes the SmartThings have a much easier user interface.

Everything can be done manually. There is a tablet running the SmartThings mobile app as well on the counter next to Google Home, Echo Dot but it is just outside the picture view. When they put all the finishing touches on the area I will post another picture. The area is way too large to capture in a single picture.

Yes, I believe you got my point? Or not.
I am not a troll – simply forever, Dazed and Confused.
Until Samsung changes leadership, Smartthings will remain too limited and/or too complicated for most of us – with me at the top of the list. Will their visiting customers realize this before it is too late?
For example, I jumped to your post to get enlightenment wrt practical Smartthings implementations. Google Home was not on my list… But I wish you all the best in this endeavor.

You may have already seen these, but the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki under the project report section have several lists you might be interested in.

The “get started” list has things like “top 10 things to do with SmartThings” and “what device should I buy next?” Lots of practical implementations there, as well as just some fun stuff. It can be interesting reading even for people who’ve had SmartThings for quite a while. :sunglasses:

Sorry I totally missed your point!

I just responded based on what I thought you were seriously asking. :relaxed:

Don’t forget about some of the custom apps, if you want to go that in depth.

I recommend askAlexa and EchoSistant


You beat me by a minute.

Though I was thinking a tablet or 3 running Smarttiles.


Typically manufacturers demo advanced and custom features, and retailers demo the most basic vanilla stuff. The reason is they (the retailers) don’t want to get stuck with customer support and/or unhappy customers, and rarely know how to actually make the advanced features work.

Given that smartthings doesn’t support the custom smartapps, in order to make the client (the retailer) happy, I’d stay as far away from anything custom as possible.

JMO… :sunglasses:


That is a great point indeed :+1:

1 Like

You and I thinking the same, I have the tablet is running SmartTiles on the counter , and the Samsung refrigerator running the SmartTiles interface as well. :slight_smile:

Certainly under consideration[quote=“JDRoberts, post:11, topic:76740”]
Given that smartthings doesn’t support the custom smartapps, in order to make the client (the retailer) happy, I’d stay as far away from anything custom as possible.
I do have to be careful on which custom things I do for sure. I several custom devices now with H801, Sonoff.

The good news is this local retailer is pretty special and unique in that they have custom install capability. They have been doing Control4 installs for years here in town on all their high end audio/video systems.

I think the DIY people grabbing their stuff for cheap online that need help with system integration will be coming here for help. Part of the plan of this retailer is to offer Smart Home DIY classes for people to sign up for that are looking for face to face help in a warm community environment. I think the classes are going to be held right there in the Smart Home demo area. I was going to use Logitech Harmony integration but I think at that level of interest they are going to start having customers go over to the Control4 Smart Home environment.


Plex Alexa skill combined with PlexPlus ST app is quite impressive.

Plex recently released a webhook feature so this Plex to ST control works instantly now.

My setup is like this in my living room:

  • Samsung TV
  • Nvidia Shield TV (Android TV)
  • ST connected lights
  • PlexPlus ST app
  • Amazon Echo with Plex Skill

One example:

  • Lights are ON in the living room and TV is OFF
  • I say “Alexa play movie star trek beyond using plex”
  • TV turns ON and movie starts and Lights turn OFF

Very reliable and you can even setup PlexPlus ST app to do different things for different content. For example, my setup will only turn the lights OFF if a “movie” is played and not for things like TV shows or YouTube videos. Plex Alexa skill includes full playback control as well.


You have definitely got to place some Hue Lights in there somewhere. People love color and its such an easy implementation.


I agree!
I have a HUE hub with three color bulbs to use plus I currently have RGB LED strips on the upper cabinets that can also do color but I am not sure how to best show it.

Give me some thoughts on how color might be used in the home?

I know lots of people use them for behind the TV or behind or under an entertainment center. Computer Game Rooms. You can also use Hue Blooms behind sectionals aiming up at the corner of the wall. There are all kinds of things to use them for.


Undercabinet light strip that changes color when the laundry is done or the mail arrives … The laundry notification would tie in well to a washing machine. :sunglasses:

1 Like

Hi I’ve come to this post as someone linked to my app Plex Plus, now while this is probably the second most attention grabbing while I have friends round (automatic lighting being the first) I’m not sure you should include it in your demo…

The reason for this… you are trying to sell something to a consumer… a consumer needs to be able to set this up and for that I would stay well away from anything that involves going in to the IDE and stick to the stuff you can install from the web or app… unless you are planning to install for them…

Of course if you do chose to include IDE apps then I would be please to see Plex Plus in there :slight_smile:

I’d also suggest sticking to one voice control, currently I would suggest echo until google is more developed…

I would also suggest SmartTiles / ActionTiles as this can be installed without touching IDE and is a great user friendly interface…


The “hidden TVS” may be a hit with older folks who believed the tv needed to be hidden in furniture. But it’s my guess that younger folks, who do Facebook and Snapchat and games and tv viewing and photos and virtually everything else on a screen, lack the ‘values’ that say screens must be hidden from view.

But it’s also my experience that older folks are, mostly, resistant to the smart home. Even when they’ve gotten a real-life demo, and themselves exclaimed “that’s fantastic”.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that many people are intimidated, or simply misunderstand the concept. For example, I got an Echo Dot for a friend. He put it away. When I asked why, he said “well I don’t have everything yet” and by that he meant the smart lights, smart locks, sensors, etc. He was coming from the belief that you have to do a wholesale ecosystem… He didn’t grasp that Echo on its own can be incredibly useful, and can interact with the phone that is already in his pocket! It took me going to that couple’s home, setting up the Dot for them, making the Bluetooth link to their stereo, and loading Todoist on their phones and linking the accounts for them to start using it.

As simple as this process seems to us, to others it borders on quantum physics. lol. So demonstrating “what it can do” is a whole different proposition than getting ‘regular’ people to actually start implementing it. A whole new generation of truly smart systems/devices will have to come along, systems that essentially configure themselves and build rules based on simple spoken language.

1 Like