Starting a new Smart Home in the UK in 2018

Hi all,

I’m completely new to the Smart Home idea and was hoping for some guidance on getting started. I live in the UK. My plan is to start by focusing on security and buying the following:

  1. Smartthings Hub v2
  2. Several Fibaro motion sensors which I have seen discussed in other threads
  3. Several presence detectors
  4. Several motion detectors
  5. A couple of live cameras
  6. A siren (preferably outdoor as a deterrant)

I’m trying to keep this cheap and I’m a bit out of my depth starting out since there are so many choices. My questions are:

  1. Is it worth buying the Smartthings Hub v2 starter pack or is it better to pick up other items to go with the hub?
  2. Where do you actually buy version 2 of the hub? When I look on Amazon and a few other places they seem to be version 1.
  3. Do I need to buy the Fibaro Home Center in order to use the Fibaro sensors, or is the Smartthings Hub sufficient?
  4. Am I right in thinking that I could tie Google Home into this somehow, if not now then in a few months time? I’d like to get one of those at some point down the line.
  5. Finally, are there any recommendations on the other detectors/cameras/sirens? I’ve seen a few discussions regarding an outdoor dummy box containing an indoor siren however I’m a bit concerned over the security failing if we have a power cut, however I could be worrying over nothing there…

Sorry this is such a broad set of questions, I’m just a bit lost on where to start. Once I get going I think I should be okay and I’m really interested in the WebCore which I’ve been reading about (and saw a very helpful video by [deleted]). I’ve got some past experience with VBA, SQL and JS so that part looks quite fun to play with!

I’m really grateful for any advice you can give.


I’m in the US so might not be able to help with most of your questions about devices in the UK.

However the UK hub has only one version. Only the US hub has a v1 and v2 (UK hub is equivalent to US hub v2).

Try Currys/PC World.

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have a good grasp of Smartthings i would not use ST for security
The concept is great and in theory in an ideal world it should work without issues however this is not an ideal world, batteries go flat quickly, Smartthings and internet connectivity are not reliable enough. Currently the back end is undergoing changes which affects all things smartthings so to sum up for a smooth easy life in home security do not use smartthings
If you have to use it then see it more as a developing hobby for useage in non critical locations

Currys/PC World.

Fibaro devices connect directly to ST using custom Device Type Handlers.

I have a GH and it can be integrated into ST. It will accept voice commands to turn on and off devices, all devices in a room etc. You have to be a bit smart with the naming convention of your devices for this to work cleanly.

The way I use it is if we are AWAY. I then play announcements, turn on lights, get a notification etc. I say that “You are not authorised and my alarm company and the police have been informed”. Whether that’s enough to make them leave, I hope I do not find out. If there is a power cut then all electrical devices will not work anyway. Some people have installed a UPS to keep the internet active.

I can not give you UK advice, but I can give you some general advice. Having been the victim of a home burglary I will tell you what I have done and some recommendations.
Firstly, if your safety and the safety of your family, (assuming you have one), is important, purchase a professional security system with cellular and battery backup. Also, if you think you may later want to move the equipment to another location then purchase one that lets you install it yourself. There are to many times that you will be somewhere where there is no cell service for your phone and it is nice to know that someone else can call the police or fire if you are unavailable. Secondly, these services are so much more reliable than Smartthings.
Smartthings is not and probably never will be as reliable as a professional system, although it is a great backup for one.
I would start with the basic kit and be sure to purchase enough multipurpose sensors to cover each of your entrance doors. Until they get this new mergerwith Samsung’s system worked out, you know that they will support the Smartthings motion sensors. I would purchase one for each room so that you don’t need to purchase a multipurpose sensor for each window, (if you have a lot of windows like I do).
Then start adding both indoor and outdoor cameras.
I have Google Home and a Chromecast device and I can run all my Smartthings routines with it, control all of my Arlo cameras and live stream them to my TV.


This is really helpful, thank you everyone that has replied so far. From what @hbr said along with a few other forums I’m thinking the Arlo Pro cameras may be a good option. It’s a bit more expensive than what I was thinking however the added benefit of a siren and battery power seems like a good idea. The additional speakers seem quite nice too.

Also thanks @marktheknife for clarifying about the UK hub.

@bobbles also thank you for answering so many of my questions. Really good to know that this all seems to be coming together. I don’t think I’m quite at the stage to invest in a UPS however hopefully the battery powered system will be a benefit and I can use the speakers to warn off intruders like you say.

@fido I see your point and I think this will become a bit of a developing hobby of mine, hopefully without jinxing anything our area should be relatively safe!

I think all that leaves is to decide on a presence detector, and I think I’ll just go with Samsung’s standard one.

Thank you for all your help everyone. I’ll keep my eye on this thread so any further advice would be greatly appreciated!

A perfect example absolutely by chance… in the night my router died. We now have no wifi or net connectivity, if we had cameras, alarms, locks and were reliant on St as security we would have major issues. Unless you have thoroughly prepared for outages dont do home security

I would add that if you’re about to fully set up a house from scratch then maybe try and avoid Arlo. It’s great if you want a quick install or where you cant drill holes, but if you can install some CAT6 wires then you can get regular IP cameras and will give a few benefits:

  1. Almost certainly cheaper even with the wiring costs (easy to DIY if you fancied)
  2. Better cameras which can be upgraded (and PoE powered ones make installation easy) and also allow for much longer recordings
  3. No chance that a DIY camera will start charging you for the service is there is no service… I strongly believe that in the near future Arlo will start charging for virtually all of their internet connected service… As so many internet connected devices have done over the last 12 months.

Finally the saving will allow you to buy a proper alarm system that you can install yourself and will be a million times more reliable and secure. There are plenty that integrate fully into SmartThings and hence you get the best of both worlds. Just another option for you!

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