What are top uses for ST and it's automation?

Although I’ve had the ST starter kit (UK) for a little while I’m only now getting around to using it. I’ve bought an extra 2 motion, and a relay (still not fitted as having problems wiring…). But my question is what do people use ST and it’s automation for please. My initial thoughts for buying were for security. A list would be nice and basic how it’s done/what needed. Below is what I want/would like, although currently some won’t for me as incompatible devices eg DLink camera (my models)

  • Light control
    for convenience and security. At night, sensor/motion detected, lights on inside. At night come downstairs, lights auto on.

  • Security
    as above and notifications if motion/sensor detected (also have a standard house alarm with a dialler), camera snapshot and upload.

I didn’t previously have a security system so ST is an improvement, but IMO it’s way too unreliable to use as a replacement to an existing security system or integrate with door locks.

I originally purchased the ST hub because I recently had a sump pump put in and it was running for 5-10 seconds every 4-5 minutes, but it could easily go 8 hours without running before my basement actually flooded. I wanted to be able to receive text notifications if for some reason the pump stopped working and I also wanted the pump to wait until the water was about 4x higher before it turned on in order to extend the life of the pump and reduce energy usage.

This is how I solve the problem using ST:

  • The pump is plugged into a smart switch that reports energy usage.

  • A SmartApp turns the switch on for 1 minute every 15 minutes and SmartLighting turns the switch on every 6 hours because it runs locally and will ensure the switch turns on if my internet goes down.

  • If my water sensor gets triggered or the pump hasn’t used energy for more than 30 minutes, it notifies me and turns on the switch.

  • If all else fails, my battery backup pump will kick in.

That’s the reason I got started with ST, but it ended up becoming a hobby and now I’m using it for:

  • In response to events, I use the Aeon Doorbell to play mp3s that say things like, “the front door has been opened”, “the water sensor is wet”, “motion has been detected in the living room”, etc.

  • When I open the door leading down to my basement, the 3 lights in the basement turn on. When I open the door again, they all turn off. Uses contact sensor and smart bulbs

  • When the door to the bathroom with a shower is shut, the fan turns on and it turns off 10 minutes after the door is opened. Uses smart switch and contact sensor.

  • Lights turn on when I enter a room and turn off when I exit. Uses motion sensors and Smart Bulbs or Switches.

  • Typical security monitoring and alerts. Motion sensors, siren, contact sensors, aeon doorbell, etc.

  • It notifies me when the washer and/or dryer is finished and sends me reminders every 5 minutes until I take it out. Uses contact sensor for the room with the washer and dryer, contact sensor for the washer door, and Aeon Doorbell to play message and reminders.


Different people will use it for different things. That’s one of the advantages of SmartThings: it’s not a system which says “here are the four scenarios you can use this for.” It can be used with many different devices in many different set ups.

Personally, I wouldn’t use SmartThings for any security applications: it just hasn’t been reliable enough for me. But there are certainly a lot of other people who do find it acceptable for some level of security. And I do use it for some noncritical notification situations, like letting me know if the window in the guestroom has been left Open when it’s going to rain. I have an entirely different system that I use for security which is very reliable, but it does have a monthly fee which a lot of people don’t want to pay.

Lighting control is very popular, but then home automation is also popular with people who are blind who may not need lighting control at all.

If you’re just interested in inspiration, browse the projects category in this forum or the stories section of the official blog. You’ll find lots of really creative ideas there. :sunglasses:


Community forum:

And here’s my own project report on my most important use cases:

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There are a lot of different uses for ST, and an almost unlimited way of doing them. Follow the links below to find very interesting uses that utilize only one very powerful app. Feel free to ask questions in those threads as most everyone here is here to learn and to help.