SmartThings works by integrating all of your home’s smart devices into one place. Its two base components are a smartphone app and a hub that connects directly to your router. The hub communicates with any IP-accessible device—including outlets, speakers, humidifiers, door locks, security systems, thermostats, and a range of other smart devices—transmitting data and control functions back to your smartphone.
You’ll need to buy the $99 hub from SmartThings (it can also be found on Amazon), but the smart devices it integrates with can come from a range of manufacturers. The company keeps a growing list of compatible devices on its website, in addition to offering its own products.
If the hub is the heart of the system, the app is its brain, allowing you to monitor and control all integrated devices from a central dashboard. The sheer number of things you can do here is, frankly, mind-boggling. With the appropriate smart devices, you can:
- Get alerted if your dog leaves your yard.
- Take immediate action if an intruder breaks into your house.
- Automatically open your garage door as you pull into the driveway.
- Set up a morning playlist to play on different speakers as you walk around your home.
- Monitor who’s home—and who’s not.
- Change the hue of your lights when you get a new Twitter follower (seriously).
A simple user interface makes it easy to organize devices by category and customize settings to suit your routine. You can even set up custom actions to trigger after certain events. So if you’re routinely out late, you might set up the lights on the front porch to turn on automatically when you come home past 8 p.m.