What is Smartthings?

Smartthings is a home automation system that enables your to secure, monitor and control your home from anywhere. It has an easy to use app for both android and IOS.

Why I chose Smartthings.

If you have read part one to this blog you may remember that I had already set up Philips hue, to try to solve a problem, but I didn’t have the control that I wanted. I looked at many home automation systems such as insteon lightwave rf, z wave and zigbee. The reason I sided with smartthings over the other choices was that it didn’t just use its own signal to its own branded sensors but it was also compatible with other sensors from zigbee and z-wave. This would give me more flexibility to add different types of sensors. Smartthings was also directly compatible with the Philips hue system that I was already using.

What did I purchase first?

The first smartthings devices I brought was the starter kit it retails for around £199 and in the box you get everything that you need to get started. It contains the hub that connects all the devices together and 4 sensors. You can purchase the hub and sensors separately if choose.

Smartthings App
Smartthings has an App on IOS, Android and Windows stores Which enables you to monitor and control your smart phone devices as well as set up automations based on your preferances

The main page of the app has the monitor. Here you can arm the security side of the app that changes how your devices respond for example you have a motion sensor that turns on the light when you’re at home but once you have left the house and smart things is set to arm, instead of turning on the light it will notify you of an intrusion once motion has been detected.

The part of the app that I find myself using more often is the things part of the app. Here I can turn lights and devices on or off and see the status of the individual devices.




The picture to left shows the light in the Kids bedroom. I can turn to on or off and even change the brightness which is handy when they go to bed and want a little light until they fall asleep I can then turn off their light once I know there asleep from anywhere in the house.

The main benefit that I think I have Home Automation is when the system does things for itself Using Automations that I have set up. For example when the front door opens it turns the light on that’s by the door that way we don’t have to stumble around in the dark until one of us turns on the light. Another example is how I have the bathroom lights set up. During the early morning and the evening when a motion detector senses that someone is in the bathroom it turns the lights on at 100% and turns the lights off again once motion stops and during the night when everyone is asleep if someone wakes ups and goes to the bathroom, instead of the light turning on at 100% it turns it on at 10% which is enough light to see what you’re doing but not enough light to hurt your eyes. I have found that this automation works really well so I’m going to do the same automation rule with the lights in the hallway and the stairs so that as you walk to the bathroom the lights in the hallway does the same thing. It is really useful if you have younger children in the house as they can’t reach the wall lights and also have a tendency to leave lights on.

The possibilities are endless!

The possibilities for home automation are endless. With a little thought you could achieve anything for example you could have the lights in your house gently wake you up in the morning and once your awake the lights could fade as the blinds or curtains open themselves or another example could be that when a water sensor detects and leak from a burst pipe it could automatically turn of your water main and then notify you that the water has been turned off and suggests for you to call a plumber. This could save you lots of money from water damages.

If you would like more information you can visit smart things website at here

And if you would like to purchase any of the products that I have mentioned please click the links below that will take you directly to the product on amazon.


Home Automation Part 1 Philips HUE -Product Review

What Is Philips Hue?

Philips HUE is a smart lighting system that gives you added control for lighting.  There are many different products for offer but for now I’m going to talk about the 3 main products that I currently have.

Why I decided to get Hue.

The reason that I decided to give Hue a go was because of a problem that arose in my house, in where the light pull switch that is in the bathroom had the tendency to fail so when you pull the cord to turn the light on nothing would happen.  The reason this was a big problem was because my eldest son Alfie was becoming more confident in going to the toilet by himself, and as many children do he had a habit of leaving it till the last minute before going.  What would then happen is he would pull on the cord harder and eventually the cord would snap.  I kept on repairing the string but it would get shorter and shorter.  I then decided to get a Philips Hue Personal Lighting Wireless Dimming Kit [Energy Class A+].  I was then able to put the hue remote lower down on the wall for my son to reach.


Picture of the remote/ wall plate.  As you can see it has four buttons on, brightness up and down and then off.  The switch is a wall plate and the remote attaches itself to the wall plate via magnets.  You can customise the switch to control up to 10 bulbs.

My Next Addition.

My next purchase I made  was to get the Hub that would control additional bulbs and switches.  The Hub connects to your home network via your router and enables you customise and control your Hue bulbs via a smartphone app.  There are two main revisions of the hub.  I purchased ver 2 (shown below),  and the main diferance between ver 1 and ver 2 is, that ver 2 has Siri support.


Philips Hue Hub Ver 2

Does the Hue system do all I wanted it to? 

The answer at the time I installed it was no.  What I also wanted was a motion sensor to be able to turn the lights on in the bathroom when my son ran to the toilet and then turn off the lights once he had left.  I then decided to purchase another system to work side by side with Philips Hue called Smartthings.  I do like Philips Hue and I’m planning on getting more bulbs for the rest of my house.  I have had few if any problems with the system and I like the added control that it gives me.  Philips have since released a motion sensor that you can add to the system.

Stay tuned for a smartthings review in the future.

You can click the links below that will take you to where you can buy each of the products from amazon.

Philips Hue Personal Lighting Wireless Dimming Kit [Energy Class A+]

Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting Home Automation Bridge 2.0, Apple Home Kit Enabled, Works with Alexa

Philips Hue White Personal Wireless Lighting LED B22 Light Bulb, 1 x 9.5 W Bayonet Cap [Apple Homekit Enabled]

Philips Hue Intelligent Motion Sensor Smart Wireless Lighting Accessory

Samsung SmartThings Starter Kit (Works with Amazon Alexa)