Here, I run through an overview of the Samsung Smartthings App. I'll run through the main sections, and give an overview of how to use it to control devices, review your dashboard, and automations
We've had the Smartthings Hub installed for a few weeks now, and there's been some time now to add a few integrations with the other Smart Home devices we've got. We've been able to add our Philips Hue lights, our Sonos Speakers, our Ring Video doorbell, and we even found a way to add our Roku device. This being connected to a TV in our office / den room.
When reviewing the app, the main place you initially arrive is in the dashboard. This is a kind of 'home screen' for Smartthings. You can customise this by adding 'tiles' for all the devices and applets you want to control on a regular basis. You can drag tiles around to get the layout just how you want it.
The next section of note is the devices section. Here you can view all your devices. It's also the place to come to discover and add new devices. The default view just shows you a big list, however you can also add 'rooms'. This helps you group devices together by the locations that you've got them setup in your house.
From the devices view you can also create scenes. Scenes are 'presets' for triggering one or more actions from a single button or tile on the dashboard. This makes life easy when you want to tell multiple Smart Home devices to do something in one command.
The final section of the app is the automation section. This is where you'll want to go to setup actions that you'd like to trigger automatically when certain conditions are met. This might be when you leave or arrive at home, or it might be based on an event occuring in one of your monitored Smart Home devices.
So, for example, I've setup an automation to turn on the lights for 10 minutes in my kitchen, and start playing music, when someone presses the button on my Ring Video Doorbell.
Why would I want this? Well if someone comes to my door when I'm out, the window that will be nearest to them will be the kitchen window. If the lights are triggered to come on, and they can maybe hear some music playing; it adds to the impression that someone's home - even if i'm out!
This kind of automation was technically possible before, using IFTTT, however in our experience with that, it took up to an hour for the lights to be triggered. There was also no way to trigger music playback through Sonos. Now, with Smartthings, the lights come on almost instatly, and we have a way to get the music playing.
This automation is a single entry, as the condition can be set to trigger multiple actions. A handy time saver when setting this stuff up.
The app is fairly easy to use, but comparing it to the old 'Smartthings Classic' app, it's clear there are still one or two features still missing in this new version. App updates keep coming through, so I expect full feature parity will be acheived soon.
One final thing I'll note here, is the ability to expand on the default Smartthings functionality. It's possible to head over to a developer portal on the Smartthings website, and add your own code. This lets you add your own applets, or control devices that -officially- aren't supported by Smartthings.
This is even easy to do for us non-programmers. Plenty of others have already written various applets and device control code. You can simply add it to your own hub via the developer portal. Is reasonably easy to do, and allows you to control devices that otherwise might fall outside of Smartthings control. So, that Roku I mentioned? We used a custon block of code to add it.
I'll expand on the extensibility of Smartthings in a seperate post and video. I'll also go into more detail on integration with our other Smart Home devices. For now though, hopefully this gives a good overview of how the app works.