So what’s everyone going to DO with their SmartThings?

So what’s everyone going to DO with their SmartThings once we get them? I’m sure there is a huge amount of applications that we have all thought of separately, and can inspire each other with here. This includes all of you guys at SmartThings and Physical Graph that already have access to the goods. I remember reading somewhere recently that Alex has over 150 “things” connected to the Physical Graph in his house. What have you done so far?
Now, this is just the SmartThings that are being shipped, not “I want to connect it to this other crazy gizmo that I saw on Amazon”. Here’s a few of uses that are going operational at Castle Awesome (yea, that’s my house) once I get my grubby paws on them:

The SmartSense motion detector is going in the shed to let me know if a warm body other than my own is in there, especially while I’m at work.
With a daughter coming up on getting her driver’s license, I'm leaving a presence tag in each vehicle as a double-check. I believe that will allow me to give her a little more latitude with parental oversight. Trust but verify, right? For example, if I’m away and she wants to go somewhere, I can tell her to have the car home by a certain time and SmartThings will tell me exactly when the car comes and goes.
A SmartPower outlet will be to power the space heater (or a/c unit) in the rec room so the temp is just right when my wife (a pilates instructor) has clients coming over or if I'm going to hit the treadmill after work.
The logical place for the open/closed sensor would be the front and back doors, but there’s gotta me more uses for that right? Keep the kids out of the liquor cabinet, maybe? What else?
How about the Multi? Anything other than the garage door?

I have a total of 14 “things” and two hubs coming and plan on getting creative, but what are YOU guys planning on doing?

Well - I have a couple things in place already - I will be doing the Garage Door control - I have a project started here in the project section for making it work with an Arduino Board - just waiting on the replacement shield to get it rolling.



I have a multi in my mailbox. It works almost every time - my mail showed up 50 minutes ago actually. :slight_smile: It will only not work on the MOST extreme of cold days. (like 15 below and the batteries are just TOO cold.) (and there have been a few days it didn’t register - but it was cold AND my mailbox is COVERED in large amount of snow… not 100% sure why it didn’t register… who knows!)

I have another on the garage door - it’ll warn me if it’s open too long and I get the temp in there (which is where I also keep my beer in the winter - so that’s nice to know how cold my beer is.)

Another on my egress in my basement - that will trip the security alarm in the home - and eventually turn on some lights.


I have the motion sensor - right now its in my living room and I’ve only used it to creep out my wife as from the logs I can say “did you get up at 8:09 this morning?” to her reply of “Ummm - that’s pretty specific…” - I plan to use that as security and to trigger a light by my kitchen to turn on at night (we leave it on all night right now - when a simple motion sensor would be able to make it more “as needed.”


I plan to use some zwave lights to add more to security - fake when we are home - etc.


I’d like to use the presence tags for a couple options:

  1. turn on lights and unlock the front door when my wife gets home.

  2. trigger lowering of the thermostat/heat when my wife and I leave in the morning - then create a geo-fence to turn it back up when she leaves work.


I like the idea I saw on SmartThings facebook page - to smarten up a humidifier (I hope to do that with a dehumidifier in my basement as well in the summer) - but if my daughters rooms are too dry - to kick on the humidifiers for them in the winter would be great!


The presence tags will certainly add that time stamp to your daughters car - I can tell you exactly over the past few days when I have been at the house and away. It’s also small enough that you could just hide it in the car and never be found by her! (but - it’s always best to be honest with her about these things!) :slight_smile:

I have a few projects. First is the usual door locks, lighting,  garage door, etc.  Beyond that, I plan to setup a smart outlet and a multi sensor to better control my kegerator thermostat, and something similar for my cigars to notify me if humidity, or temperature get out of range. I also think it be a cool idea to put a humidity sensor in the bathrooms to automatically turn on the exhaust fans when the shower is running.

With a daughter coming up on getting her driver’s license, I’m leaving a presence tag in each vehicle as a double-check.
Suddenly a bunch of teenagers no longer think SmartThings is cool!

Just a heads up @dan we decided to merge the open/close sensor with the multi-sensor so its just one device now. One of the cool things is the sensing of physical movement. Not a motion sensor, but physically moving the device. Put it on a safe to know if its being tampered with. I decided to use the multi in a model RC plane I picked up. It can tell me the XYZ axis of it. Super neat. I use multi’s in all of my rooms for temperature, one is going on the washing machine/dryer to notify me when my laundry is done, open/close for doors. One of the coolest ones is simply lighting. Controlling the lights is always so cool. I also have a presence tag in my car and tell me when I’m home or not. I’ve given one to my brother so I know if he hasn’t gotten home before me in the afternoon, I can feed my cats from my phone :stuck_out_tongue: The presence tag can also beep. As soon as I got that it went straight to my key ring. I swear I can’t go a day without loosing my keys. Using location services also works as a presence tag. I have it registered at work and at home to do various things when I arrive.

My only issue with the presence tag right now is the clasp isn’t strong enough in the current molding. (I know it’s going to be fixed here and I will get a new plastic case for it.) but it’s made me hesitant to give one to my wife to use yet - especially with a little kid who likes to take her keys - etc. :slight_smile:

I did get the GE z-wave switch working with an electrician last night… fortunate to have a friend with an electrician friend whose commute takes him really close to my home. Anyway - the 3-way GE kits WILL NOT WORK if you do not have a neutral wire. Andrew - you said the dimmer will work without it (which is great to know! The single switch should work just fine without the neutral as well…) - but you cannot use the 3-way kit without it. I had to “un-3-way” that set of switches - so I lost one switch - but hey, it’s worth it! I have one more set of switches to check out tonight when I get home to see if there is a neutral in there - and he will stop in and put them in for me if they do… but otherwise you are hosed if they aren’t in there.

Where do I even start replying…?

I have >100 Things live in my home.  With a few exceptions (which I hope will be filled in by the Build community) my iPhone now acts as a remote control for all my things.  All lights, outlets, thermostats, door locks, garage doors, pet feeders, etc. can be controlled from anywhere.  I’ve also got a large and expanding array of sensors.  Sensors are all over the place and include stuff such as all entryways (doors open/shut, garage doors open/shut based on angle from our multi), temperature in most indoor and outdoor rooms and areas, luminescence (how much light), motion, humidity, moisture (liquid present), and some other new stuff that we’re working on.  Household members and cars all have presence tags and my iPhone also is working as a presence tag such that there are private events generated based on comings and goings.  Also experimenting with some new sensors we’re working on (look for announcement in a few weeks) as well as a range of custom Things created by makers.

So, in effect, the Physical Graph of my home is online.  I’ve got a digital representation of what’s happening in all rooms and spaces and I can monitor and control it from my iPhone from anywhere.

But that’s just the beginning.  Since it is all online, SmartApps can now be used to change how all the things in my home behave based on what’s happening, our moods, etc.  We are still in the early stages, but our things are gradually becoming smarter with software that was built using our IDE.  That’s where the endless examples come in.  I will share just a few random ones at the moment and then get off my arse and start posting in here more regularly.

In random order as examples come to mind:

When I arrive at home my garage door opens appropriately depending on what car I am driving.  It then closes behind me automatically once I’ve parked and enter the house.  The lights come on and everything else wakes up or sets itself according to my preferences automatically.

When I leave the doors (including garage) let me know if I forgot to close or lock them and then lock and close themselves as needed.  If no one else is at home, the thermostat automatically turns itself down to save energy, the lights go off, and it enters a secure mode.

My toddler’s room isn’t insulated well and so gets cold at night when his door is shut.  When that happens a virtual thermostat kicks on that measures the temperature in his individual room and controls a space heater automatically to keep it within 1 degree of the desired temperature.

When we wake up in the morning, the secure mode automatically turns off (it knows that motion started in our bedrooms and emanated outwards thus it’s not an intruder) and the lights come on in the kitchen.  The coffee pot starts brewing so that it’s flowing by the time I get downstairs so that I can combat the feeling of the all-nighters we’ve been pulling in building the platform.

My cat gets fed automatically on a schedule.

When my wife and I are watching a movie in the basement or doing something else when the kids are supposed to be in bed, the lights flash wherever we are as a warning if the kids are up and around.

Lots and lots of smaller and larger examples, but its really only limited now by the new SmartApps and Things that will get added to the platform by the open community.  It has already changed my life completely, but it’s unbelievably awesome to think about the possibilities that are going to come from the community working together!




Great examples/ideas Alex - Thanks for sharing! (Can’t wait to see some of the new things - etc…)

I am about to cross over into having a kid that will be leaving her bed soon at night (She is really close to crawling out over her crib - but she just isn’t old enough to be in a toddler bed yet…) - I will have to take a look at a way to make those visual light warnings for when she escapes and we are either in our bed or in the basement - etc… really nice idea.

@Eric there will be more sophisticated examples, but right now you can just hack it with a multi on her door or motion in common area and then have “The Flasher” app running while you are in “Kids Bedtime” mode or whatever.  Easy peasy.

@Alex - yup - that was kind of my plan. I have a good hallway that covers both girls doors (and could fit that need for a long time actually.) Currently using the Flasher App to flick my lights when the mail gets here. Need to mess with it when I get home though - as of right now it actually changes the state of the lights. They were ON when I opened my mailbox - and after I trigger that condition - they flash and finish in the OFF position. Will get pretty annoying if every time the mail comes I have to go turn the lights back on. :slight_smile: (I assume I just need to change the number of flashes to 2 - rather than 3? I’ll fuss with it later.)

@Eric funnily enough, the developer of that app is making a modification to it this week that will return it to whatever state it was in before it started flashing, whether on or off.

@Alex - excellent - I’ll just wait a few days and check it out again! (Will there be any notification when apps I have installed have an update to them?)

My latest aha moment was with my litter robot. The sensor that tells the bubble portion to cycle a couple minutes after the cat uses it is broken, so I have to press a button to manually cycle it, thereby cleaning the litter box. (Yeah, first world problems at their finest.) However, I realized a couple weeks back, when my power turned back on from a brief power outage at my condo, that the robot cycles itself. Now when I’m away from my house for a night or two, I can force it to clean by turning my wall outlet off, then on.  For the other 90% of the time, when I’m home, I plan on using a SmartApp to cycle it whenever the front door opens (provided motion hasn’t been detected in the bathroom for the past X minutes). It’s these little things that keep making more and more excited about the possibilities of SmartThings.

We have vacation properties so will use it to monitor for water leaks, adjust thermostats, locks, know if doors are left open etc.

I am hoping there will be a camera which will work with this-anyone know of one? If I can find one which will work it will save me from having to pay services such as I need to monitor vacation condo as I think condo management is entering our property when they are not suppose to.

Secondly I will use it for monitoring elderly parents activity. This will be non-obtrusive way. They live 1200 miles away, I will know if they have to appointment etc but putting sensor in car, I will monitor for movement so I know they are up and around.

Many other uses for this and I cannot wait to see the extraordinary ways this will change lives. I wish I was a developer but that is outside of my skill set.

I have a teen who soon will be driving, debating putting device in her car. Somehow I survived without my parents knowing exactly when I came and left and want to give her some freedom and monitor if a problem develops.

@Ken - I believe there will be some news on other devices coming in the next few weeks - I’m really hopeful for a camera solution. It would be a GREAT addition to security etc.

+1 @tyler_hall. I am also looking forward to some camera implementation. In time! 
My recent idea and one that I started writing a SmartApp for, was to detect movement in a rocking chair and turn all lights off (perfect for baby snoozin’). If I get it hooked up how I want it, I might just post a Vine for it.

I ordered a double kit myself because A: Wanted more things initially and B: Eventually might do some things in my office, so wanted a second “free service” hub.  Since then I’ve purchased some other stuff… when I get my hub and things, this is what my initial setup will be:

Side door of my house: Open/Close sensor along with a Kwitset Zwave latch lock

Kitchen: GE/Jasco on/off swtich, not a dimmer (Florescent light there)

Dinning Room: GE/Jasco 3-way dimmer switch

Garage Door (x2): Open/Close sensor along with a jury rigged relay connected to an Intermatic outlet to use as a way to open and close the door.

Garage Light: Intermatic screw-in Lamp Module

SmartSense motion: Den area

Multisensor (x2): Not 100% sure where/what I’ll do with these yet.

SmartThings outlet (x2): One of these will be in my daughter’s bedroom for her lava lamp that she lights to turn on at night.  The other will be in our living room for a table lamp.

Presence (x2): Unsure on these… I may do these in my and my wife’s car to auto open the garage doors when we come home.  Or I might put them on my kids backpacks so I know when they are home from school.  Still undecided.

Already Purchased:

Lifx x4: Not entirely sure where I’ll put these yet.  I might put all four in my study/computer room, or I might give one to each of my kids for their bed side lamps so they can play with the colors, then I’d probably put the other two in my den for accent lights.

Plantlink: Not entirely sure on this either… but I’ll probably end up putting this by plants… maybe. :slight_smile:

Future plans?!?

If I don’t do the Lifx in my study, then I’d like to get a dimmer switch for that room.  Also like to get a outlet for my bathroom where my wife uses her curling iron.  She often “panics” that she left it on and if I can remotely switch it off that would be nice for peace of mind.  In the same manner I’d love to get my oven/stove setup as well.  Maybe add more outlets/switches in general.

Man, did this get the juices flowing. Of course, I’ve also been pinging the crew on Facebook and Twitter about the same ideas.

One thing that I realized was that we need a doorbell on each door. That was until Andrew Brooks let me know that the Multi’s would sense the vibration of a knock, and that’ll do just fine. It’ll even work on the back door to let me know that the dog wants back in. Now that we also know the open/close are included in the Multi’s those will be able to monitor room temperature as well as letting me know if someone is there.

Sadly, the mailbox thing won’t work for us, as we live at the end of a dirt road and the mailbox is about half a mile away.

Since my last post, we built a greenhouse, so a multi is going in there to monitor temperature.

I like the idea of it either sensing or being programmed as to when we get up, to turn on lights and start the coffee, but I think the coffee may take some hacking since it’s one of those push button Keurig contraptions.

Here’s a question: Since I have motion sensors on my exterrior lights, if I install a wall switch, will that tell me when the lights turn on (ie if something has triggered them)?

The only thing I’m getting any heartburn about is that we were forced into remodling the entire house thanks to Hurricane Irene and now I want to replace all the switches and outlets less than two years later. However, I think in combination with a few of the GE switches and outlets, we will be well on our way to bringing the Physical Graph of our house online.

RE: Motion Sensors: A Z-wave switch will NOT alert you to when the lights turn on or off.   I’ve thought about this too as I have motion detectors connected to lights in my backyard.  The problem is that the switch needs to be always on and a switch can’t sense load.  I believe that there are load sensors that z-wave or zigbee compatible and these should be able to tell you if the lights are drawing power or if just the motion sensor (which presumably uses dramatically less power) is running.

That said, I have no idea how expensive they are or how well they will or won’t integrate with SmartThings.   Further, they while a load sensor should be able to tell you if the light is on or not, it can’t turn it on or off (unless it’s a switch/load sensor combined of course).

I haven’t heard too many people talking about the aeotec switches…

I really don’t like the boring look of the GE zwave switches and from what I can see on the aeotec site these look a bit more modern and might be kind of cool looking:

Haven’t heard much from this company but it might be worth waiting for before replacing all the switches in your house.

I actually emailed them back in January and asked them if they were looking at being compatible with SmartThings.  They emailed me back and basically said: “What’s SmartThings?”  I replied with some back info and links and then got this from them:

“Thanks for your info.  We look forward to our future cooperation.
Please find below brochure for your reference.  Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.  Thanks!  Garage Door opener is still on finalizing and is expected to be available in Q2, 2013.”

They have some interesting looking products but not extensive information about specs (which freq. of Z-Wave are they using?) or pricing.  Supposedly their products have been around since 2006 but I haven’t seem much mention of them here in the US at least.  I have see a few of their things on eBay occasionally.