Hoping to be the one-stop-shop for open IoT control, it joins up various new and existing connected devices in a user-friendly and powerful system
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It supports home-network based devices, plugging into your router to control them through fixed or Wi-Fi networks, as well as two of the most broadly used wireless home-automation standards, ZigBee and Z-Wave. It means that the Hub can talk to almost every product currently available on the market that doesn’t use an isolated proprietary system. Not all products support the Hub, however, even if they can talk to it. But SmartThings has something many other devices vying for a similar spot in people’s homes doesn’t have – a viable, productive home hacker and developer community. The result is that even if a product doesn’t officially support Samsung’s open system, such as Google’s Nest smart thermostat for instance, someone will probably have developed a workaround. Those workarounds are often relatively complex to put into practice, but tutorials are available and there are enough support tools to guide most people with a moderate understanding of computers and basic code to make it work. The Hub is only half the story. You interact with and control your Hub and connected devices through the SmartThings app. It’s available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but you will need one of those devices to make it work.
The Android app is relatively intuitive. You add supported devices or “Things” to the app using an automatic discovery system. The Hub scans for stuff it can connect to and allows you to select which ones you want to set up. A couple of taps and that’s all that’s required for most devices. You can then group devices into rooms, such as the lounge or kitchen, and assign tasks and events to them. An event can be triggered by almost anything, from other devices to your presence or the time of day. There’s a step-by-step guide that walks you through the process and some pre-formed ideas of what might be useful. More advanced configurations can create an alarm system, using sensors, cameras and other bits. For instance, you can “arm” your house so that the lights come on, the camera starts recording and it sends you alerts to your smartphone if the locked door is opened. – This product may have legs with a couple more iterations for the emerging IoT home space,but the programming aspect may still act as a deterrent for all but the most tech savvy.