Imagine you’re coming home after a long day. Your front door automatically unlocks as you pull into the driveway. Once inside, the lights turn on as you walk into a room, and turn off when you walk out. The basement has been getting a bit damp lately, but no worries; a dehumidifier has switched on and will keep running until the moisture level is brought back into balance.
Sounds like a home of the future, but this is very much of the present day. These are just a few of the things made possible with SmartThings, an app/central hub that lets you control, monitor, and secure your home from wherever you are.
A Command Center for Your Home
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.
With so many different ways to use the app, it helps that there’s a thriving online community where you can get tips and learn new tricks. Active community pages allow users to interact and share ideas. The company’s blog provides a treasure trove of useful information, offering instructions on everything from wiring a light switch to setting up a smart chicken coop.
A “Stories” category dives into inspiring narratives of how the app helps real people, such as the story of one family that used it to help an elderly parent with dementia remain in his home, or parents who used its features to make their homes more kid-friendly.
Products like SmartThings make managing a household easier by bringing together all of its essential functions into one place. With the ability to monitor and automate your home at your fingertips, you might just free up the time you need to enjoy it.