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Dashboard Tour

After completing setup, you'll land at the Dashboard page. The screenshot below shows the dashboard after I installed five devices and created some alerts and actions. During the setup procedure, I customized the wallpaper at the top. The menu icon at the top left of the screen provides access to "Shop", "My Account" and "Support" and lets you change modes to "Home", "Away", or "Night". These modes are used when creating actions or alerts to instruct SmartThings when to execute them.

The message bubble at the right top of the screen shows you in-app notifications and alerts. Below the image there are shortcuts to the motion sensor and each of the lights and switches. "Things" is a top level menu for all installed devices. The SmartThings Internal shows the installed app for IFTTT (If This Then That). Finally at the bottom of the dashboard, there's a large "+" icon. You'll use this icon frequently, as it is used to add devices, create notifications, add actions, access the SmartThings Labs and access categorized SmartApps.

SmartThings Dashboard

SmartThings Dashboard

The composite image below shows the Things menu (left) and the Settings menu for one of the installed light bulbs (right). You can tap on any of the devices you can control (lights, switches, etc.) and they will change state. Each device icon has a settings icon in the upper right corner. If you tap it you'll see options for the device. In the case of the light bulb, it shows the current state (on/off) and brightness level. Tapping on the light bulb icon in this screen will also toggle it on/off. Below the light is a dimmer slider.

All devices have icons for Refresh, SmartApps, preferences (device name, dimming options, etc.) and an activity log. The one thing I don't like about the Things menu is the lack of names. As you can see, I installed three light bulbs, but can't really tell which light is which because the device name doesn't appear on the top menu. You have to go into the setup menu for the device to see the device name at the top of the screen. To help differentiate the lights, I've used different icons for each bulb, but I still have to remember which icon corresponds to which bulb, or go into the setup menu.

SmartThings "Things" device menu (left) and device setup menu (right)

SmartThings "Things" device menu (left) and device setup menu (right)

Adding Things (devices)

After you have completed setting up the Hub, you'll want to add devices, so click on the "+" on the bottom of the dashboard screen. The "Things" SmartSetup screen will appear as shown in the left image below. You can either just click "Connect New Devices" to have the Hub scan for anything, or you can select a category (center image) to show all of the supported devices in a category.

The right image shows the detail for the selected SmartSense Open/Closed Sensor. Your options are Connect Now, Top Alerts and Actions, Instruction Manual, Instruction manual, Installation video (if available), a link to Buy Now and finally any support articles related to the selected sensor.

After the Hub discovers the new device, you are given an option to rename it and select from a list of "Top Alerts and Actions" to install immediately. SmartThings suggests discovering the exact device from the appropriate category list if you are having trouble discovering a device using the generic Connect New Device option.

SmartThings Add Things categories (left), supported devices (center) and options for a specific device (right)

SmartThings Add Things categories (left), supported devices (center) and options for a specific device (right)

Adding Alerts and Notifications

To add Alerts and Notifications, tap the "+" icon at the bottom of the dashboard and navigate one icon to the right of the "Things" and tap on Alerts. Alerts will notify you if a certain condition is met. Alerts can be either an in-app notification, text message or both. While some products like WeMo rely on third party support from IFTTT in order to do external notification, text messaging of alerts is built into the SmartThings app. However, if you want email notification, you'll need to use IFTTT.

In the screenshot below, I set up an alert for my front hallway. From the Alerts menu, tap Motion (left image), Select Notify me if there is motion while I'm away from home, select the installed motion sensor that you want to use (center image), then fill out the preferences page (right image). Note: Not all steps listed are included the composite screenshot below.

SmartThings Add Alert - Alert Categories (left), Select Sensor (center), and preferences (right)

SmartThings Add Alert - Alert Categories (left), Select Sensor (center), and preferences (right)

There's a lot going on in the right screen. You can choose push notification and/or text notification, you can set limits on when alerts are given, choose days of the week for alerts, and finally, choose which mode(s) to alert. SmartThings comes pre-configured with Home, Away and Night modes, but you can add your own modes. You can select any or all modes for alerting.

In the example above, I set the alert mode for "Away". While testing, I set up multiple alerts for combinations of in-app notification, text notification and both and tested to ensure that proper notification was received for the specified mode, and that no notifications were received when other modes were selected. All notification and alert tests worked as expected, and there was very little lag time between the motion detection and the receipt of the notification (1-2 seconds). Motion alerts configured appeared in the SmartApps section for the Motion Sensor device setup.

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