“SmartThings labs” isn’t a single thing. It’s a stage in the process of building an official integration. So saying that something is in the “SmartThings labs” really just means the integration is in beta.
Different steps may be required for different specific products that are in the lab stage. For example, some Zigbee Products required a firmware upgrade to the zigbee Coordinator in the SmartThings hub early last year, but at this point that’s been pretty much deployed to everyone I think.
Other products might require other upgrades or installations of specific software.
So just depends on each specific product as far as what needs to be done. And that changes as integrations move out of labs into the officially integrated stage, like Logitech Harmony did.
Some products/integration which are still in the lab stage don’t require you to do anything special, just want you to know that it’s in beta and there may be some flakiness.
SmartThings Labs gives customers early access to a curated group of popular third-party devices and services that can work together with SmartThings. These new product solutions are created by our in-house team, as well as by our growing community of software developers. Together, they make it easier than ever to control all of the connected devices in your home with the SmartThings iOS and Android apps.
If you’re interested in gaining access to SmartThings Labs, follow the easy instructions in our getting started guide.
As our engineering team works to fine-tune these integrated products and solutions with our platform, they may move from Labs into more prominent sections of our app to make way for new integrations and features in the SmartThings Labs. While we work to polish the edges of the different products and solutions in our Labs, customers may experience a few performance issues (after all, it is called Labs).
But other products/integration will require installing specific firmware or smart apps. Again just varies by individual product.
So “SmartThings labs” means “official integrations being built by the SmartThings engineering team which are still in beta.”