Following on from Part I, this post details my app setup, without giving too much security information.
I decided that I wanted my kit to work like this:
- The magnetic switch is placed on a door or window in one of my ground floor rooms – this will be my security test and I want to see how I can use the app to alert me (and others) to any possible intrusion and how to easily arm and disarm this alerting.
- For the power outlet I had a specific requirement in mind, something that *may* be of interest to other families. One of the kids has a habit of forgetting to turn of his TV and games console. Typically, he has fallen asleep watching a film and another family member has to get up and turn it off for him. In this case, I need the motion sensor to detect his presence and switch on the outlet. When he leaves his room during the day, after a certain time period I need the outlet to turn off, thereby turning off his kit and saving me some energy. I also need the outlet to turn off at a certain time, regardless (he really should be asleep by this point!).
The app itself is organised into five sections, shown by the five icons at the bottom of the screen; Dashboard, Home, Routines, Notifications and Marketplace.
Naturally, one is inclined to start leftmost with the Dashboard, however it’s more logically to start with the Home section, as this is where we name stuff to try and make it easy for us later.
In Home we can see four pages; Rooms, Things, SmartApps and Family. Since there are only two rooms I’m interested in for my setup I need to create these. Tapping on the three dots in the top right corner reveals and new menu, and here we can tap on “Add a Room”.
Now we can give the room a name, e.g. Adam’s Room, add a photo of the room if you wish (have you seen Adam’s room? lol), and crucially add the Devices (Things) to that room. Here I’m adding the Motion Sensor and the Power Outlet.
I do that same for, let’s say, the Dining Room, where I add my Magnetic Sensor.
Now if I tap any of the Rooms I’ve set up I’m sent to a new page showing Right Now, for the current status of the Devices, and Recently showing any recent messages.
At this point I’m interested to see that the Magnetic Sensor also has a temperature sensor in it, so my Recently is showing 62 deg F.
Tapping back to the Home section and then tapping Things lists all my Devices and their status. I can tap each Device and see further information, like the temperature (if it has this), battery levels, etc. Again there is a Recently page, and also a SmartApps page.
This is the point at which I realise there are multiple ways to get to what seem like the same pages (SmartApps), but these only relate to the Rooms and Devices in context. This can get confusing.
Back to Home again and tapping the SmartApps page is initially blank, but if we add SmartApps later, they’d appear here.
The Family page shows the Presence Sensor and my iPhone. Here is where we hit a temporary limitation – I cannot yet add the families’ smartphones to the hub so it would know who was in or not. This would be very handy for automatically arming and disarming the security, but at this point I can only track two people, me with my iPhone and one other with the presence sensor.
I did think about putting the presence sensor on the cat’s collar as it was small enough, but not sure what benefit that gave me at this point and, since this is a trial, I do not want to lose the sensor along with the cats’ collar which sometimes happens.
This brings up an interesting question relating to the Motion Sensor – is it pet-friendly?
This Dashboard is where the Smart Home Monitor is and this is where, for my setup, I needed to configure my security stuff. Tapping on the monitor then takes me to another page with three sections, Home, Right Now and Recently. In the first page, Home, it shows my security status along with the mode the security is in, ARM (AWAY), ARM (STAY), and DISARM.
I take these last three modes to mean:
- ARM (AWAY) – there is no-one in the house so alert if any conditions we set up are met.
- ARM (STAY) – there is someone in the house, perhaps in bed, but still alert (maybe more silently) if any conditions we set up are met.
- DISARM – there is someone in the house, do not alert.
Any detection/alerts we can see in the Recently page, and we can use this SmartThings App to notify us of an event.
Here we setup what happens and when. There were some default routines initially that I used to get familiar with the configuration, but I ended up deleting them all and creating my own (three dots in upper right, then Add Routine).
It took a little tuning before I got these working the way I wanted, but essentially they do this :
Adam Is In – If it’s between 08:00 and 00:25, and motion is detected, turn on the power outlet.
Adam Is Out – If it’s between 08:00 and 00:25, and motion has stopped for an hour, turn off the power outlet.
Turn Adams Stuff Off – Turn off the power outlet at 00:30 (regardless).
Turn Adams Stuff On – Turn on the power outlet at 08:00 (regardless).
It seems the effect of these four rules is that between 00:30 and 08:00, the power outlet will not turn on, even if motion is detected, which is good, because Adam tends to move a lot in his sleep.
The last routine is just for fun really, Welcome Home – when my iPhone is detected in the house, send a “Welcome Home” notification to my iPhone. I normally get this about 50m from the house.
This page is useful for checking that things has happened when they were supposed to, and can be used to fine tune your routines if they don’t do quite what you expected them to.
The Activity Feed also provides some realtime data from the sensors, such as power consumption from the power outlet, and temperature from the motion sensor.
This final page is where we can find SmartApps for putting things together to perform specific tasks. These are kind of like recipes, where the ingredients are things, routines, modes, and suchlike.
I’ve not done a lot here, but it’s worth just dipping into these SmartApps to see the sort of things you can do.
As mentioned earlier, SmartApps chosen here will appear in the SmartApp section of the Home page.
That covers the basic functionality of the SmartThings app, and I’ll be expanding on this in Part III when I look at other devices I can integrate with my SmartThings Hub.