SmartThings Home Security Just Got Better


The SmartThings home security kit brings home security and peace of mind to anyone with a mobile device. Home security is a very misunderstood marketplace. Consumers feel they have to bring in an expensive contractor (like me) to get decent security options. This was true a number of years ago, as the monitoring services required the security system components and tie-in to be installed by trained technicians. The Internet of Things has done away with that.

SmartThings Home Security and Automation in One System

Up until recently, if you wanted home security and home automation you needed multiple systems that weren’t able to be connected. I did a write up last year on the SmartThings hub. In that article I mentioned that the makers of SmartThings made it open source and X10 and ZigBee compatible. This means that it’s quite easy for anyone to create and program a sensor.

Because of the ZigBee and X10 support, the SmartThings hub is able to communicate with a much wider variety of sensors from multiple vendors. What this means is that if you see a ZigBee or X10 enabled sensor, you can easily incorporate it into your SmartThings home security and automation center.

The SmartThings Home Security and Automation System is IFTTT Friendly

IFTTT is a really cool site. It lets you connect Internet-enabled devices and set triggers and actions. What this means is that you can setup your SmartThings system to use the IFTTT website to notify you when someone comes home. You can also configure it to turn on your Hoeneywell or NEST thermostat-controlled heater or air conditioner. You can also set triggers and actions to turn on lights and the TV when you get home.

Quick, Simple, and Easy Installation Process

The installation and setup process for the SmartThings home security and automation system is basically two steps once you have your sensors installed, most of which just stick to windows, doors, and frames. The first step consists of powering up the hub and connecting it via Ethernet cable to your home network hub/router. Step two is installing and launching the app.

The app will walk you through installing and connecting to the sensors individually. It’s a bit of a hassle to have to do them all individually, but the process, while time-consuming, is easy and straightforward. During the setup process, the app will give you prompts, such as “I’m looking for a motion sensor.” It will then give you hints on where and how to place it. There are even helpful video clips if needed.

Some Gripes about the SmartThings Home Security System

As mentioned above, one of the main gripes is having to connect and configure all sensors individually. It would have been nice to be able to tell the app to find five window/door sensors and then go activate them all.

Another gripe is that you have to do all the pairing and activating within ten feet of the SmartThings hub. You can’t hang your sensors on the protected windows and doors first. There also seemed to be an intermittent problem with sensor connectivity when sensors are installed more than 50 feet from the hub. Infineon, Nexia, and Revolv hubs and sensors are all much less sensitive to distance from the hub. However, they are much more expensive than the SmartThings products.

Using Motion Detectors to Extend Hub Range

50 feet is pretty limiting when it comes to the installation of home security products. Chances are very good that there’s a window or door that you want monitored that is more than 50 feet away from where you’ve located the hub. Knowing that 50 feet doesn’t give much leeway, they built the motion detectors so that they are also range extenders for the system. This means that as long as you can place the motion detector within that 50 foot radius from the hub, you can place the other devices more than 50 feet away from the hub.