I’m a beginner and have a handful of switches and a multipurpose sensor online at this point. I’ve been searching for some sort of “Top 10” list of where to start with SmartThings, but no such luck. Is there a particular thread for newbies where I can dive into the most popular items? I realize I can do pretty much anything, but I guess I want to start more basic at this point.
Welcome to the world of home automation! Here is a place where you can find a lot of interesting reads. It is not fully developed as the Wiki is a community initiative, but has a lot of good info to get you started.
Do you mean the most popular use cases? Smartthings is an extremely versatile system, so different people will use it for different purposes. For example, someone who lives alone might want a “light follows me” type use case where the lights keep coming on and going off as you move from room to room. But as soon as you have two people living in a house, that type of smartapp becomes much harder to coordinate and you’re more likely to have one person sitting there in the dark.
I myself am quadriparetic with limited hand function, so I am very interested in these cases that give me hands-free operation. The Amazon echo was a very valuable addition to my set up for me for that reason. But if you have a new baby, you may not want to use voice control at all in order to make naptime last as long as possible!
If you want to think about some of the things you can do with automation that you can’t easily do without it, that usually falls into the following big categories:
One) put things on a time schedule. For example, I have an entry light that comes on 20 minutes before sunset. I never realized how much we would like that Until we had it.
trigger one set of devices from values measured by another set. This could be something as simple as a closet light coming on when the doors opened. But it might also be triggered by motion, light level, a pressure sensor, humidity, a device crossing a geofence, etc
Group devices in a way you couldn’t do before. For example, I have a “bedtime” routine which turns on one light in the living room, one in the hallway, and one in my bedroom. That way when I’m ready to go to bed, I turn the lights in three rooms on and after I’m in bed I turn them all off again. I do this by voice, but you could do it with one button on a handheld remote or just with your phone.
And there’s the classic “movie night” where you have turning on your home entertainment system also turn down the lights. So sometimes grouping means multiple devices come on together, and sometimes it means some come on and some go off.
get notifications when specific events happen. I get a notification when the linen closet has been left open for more than two minutes, or if the guestroom window is open and rain is expected. Different people will find different notifications useful, but most people find something in this category helpful.
Anyway, those are just some General ideas. If you’re looking for an introduction to how to set up these kinds of actions in SmartThings, see the following scheduling intro:
There are no top 10 list because everyone has different purpose for IoT.
I can give you a few examples.
Night light dimming / Wake up light.
-when my bedroom motion is activated, the night light would turn on at 100% and within 1 hour it dims to 10%. In the morning 1 hour before my alarm up it dim up to 100% until my living room motion trigger.
At the present time there’s not really a practical way to do what’s called “Microlocation,” that is knowing who is in a particular room. You can know who is in a house sized zone using Geopresence. But an individual room is much more complicated, primarily because most of the detection methods can go through walls so it’s really hard to differentiate between the kitchen and the hallway right next to the kitchen.
Everybody wants inexpensive micro location, The technology just isn’t quite there yet. (No matter what Indiego go prerelease marketing campaigns say.)
You can do small area recognition with I beacons if you really want to (we do at my house) but it requires the cooperation of the person being detected because they have to either be carrying the phone or wearing a beacon.
Which means if what you want is detection of a teenager opening a liquor cabinet, that’s not going to happen – – they’ll figure out how to get around it too quick.
What you could get was a notification that the liquor cabinet had been opened when you yourself were not home. Or after midnight. So just comes down to the details of the use case.
By the way, there are complicated multiple device methods that you could use if you really wanted. For example, you could put a pressure mat on the floor in front of the cabinet and get a notification if there was a weight of less than 120 pounds on the mat and the cabinet opened. Stuff like that. But you have to get pretty creative and again it generally requires cooperation on the part of the people involved and it depends very much on the exact details of each use case.
For me, the primary draw for ST was being able to remotely check on and turn off lights when nobody was home. Between my wife and my daughter I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home from work in the afternoon only to realize that the lights in 3 rooms have been on for the past 10 hours. I started with a couple of switches for the most commonly left-on areas and primarily used the ST routines to control them based on a combination of my wife’s and my phones.
As I’ve learned more about the types of devices available, as well as the huge flexibility of the open platform, my setup has grown quite a bit, including voice control with Echo and integrating my Logitech Harmony remote into several different things.
As a beginner, I’m assuming that if you have been able to justify the initial expense then you have identified at least one specific use case to get started with. As you learn more you can grow the system in the direction that makes the most sense to you.
You may need a more complax multi device integration to know who exactly opened the cabinet.
What I did for my kid is setup one of my BLINK cameras to take a photo of the location when the cabenate open/close sensor is opened. It will push notification alert to my phone and my wife’s phone and there will be a photo in the feed.
Smart Lights (Marketplace>SmartApps>SmartThings Recommends>Smart Lights) to turn my lights on when I come home after sunset so that I never walk into a dark apartment.
I do not have an AC unit in my bedroom. I have a motion sensor under my bed that turns a night light on and off (Smart Lights). I use it’s temperature sensor to control a box fan in hallway with Virtual Thermostat (*Marketplace>SmartApps>Climate Control>Virtual Thermostat) when the temperature gets too hot
Sonos only works on LAN, but SmartThings Hubs can trigger them to activate remotely. I manually activate Speaker Mood Music (Marketplace>SmartApps>Music & Sounds>Mood Music) to turn on NPR from my building parking lot so I don’t have to sit in the car to hear the end of the report. (<- yes - I am aware of the geek-level when this is considered an everyday use)