Home Automation Part 3: SmartThings Know and Control Your Home Kit

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The system also offers the capability to set up modes for the controllable environment.  Modes are essentially profiles with specific settings.  For example, a “home” profile in which the living room light would be on, the temperature set at 70°, and the entrance door locked or an “away” mode that would turn off all lights and air conditioners, and begin motion monitoring.  Any mode can be activated automatically by an action, such as a smart phone connecting to the home network or a door opening, or by selecting the mode manually through the app.

The SmartThings network can also coordinate with If This Then That recipes.  The partnership between the two companies creates a large number of new automation possibilities, including connecting devices to the SmartThings network that aren’t natively compatible or incorporating social media profiles into the cycle.  Want SmartThings to post to twitter whenever you come home from work?  The Internet might think you’re weird, but the option still exists.

USING THE SMARTTHINGS KNOW AND CONTROL YOUR HOME KIT

While many tasks may be set up to occur automatically, the user can maintain manual control over the entire system and view house activity on the fly.  Whether keeping tabs on any motion in the house or turning off a living room light remotely, the options are readily accessible.

While the app may initially be somewhat overwhelming and difficult to navigate, it functions well as a control panel, offering endless options for monitoring and setting up tasks.

Reporting tasks were not forgotten.  Time-stamped activity, such as a door’s opening is recorded for later review.  The door sensor also reports the room’s temperature periodically back to the app.

BOTTOM LINE

The SmartThings starter pack is a great introduction to home automation, but without some pricey extras, the system strays away from practicality and towards novelty, gimmicky tricks.  The app offers an impressive amount of control, but could use some fine-tuning to make it more intuitive and less overwhelming.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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