How to Add a Denon Receiver to SmartThings

Introduction

Effortlessly add a Denon receiver to SmartThings. This is quite possibly the cheapest way to integrate your home entertainment receiver with your home automation system. Sure, Logitech Harmony is the best (and most functional) way to do this. But some people may not have the budget. Some people might be looking for something a little more basic without all the extra bells and whistles that come along with the Harmony product lineup. If this situation applies to you, keep reading for more details. Read More


SmartThings- How to Create a Routine

Introduction

SmartThings is a fully capable home automation platform. There are several ways to achieve automation with SmartThings. This post is all about routines.

Routines can be manually or automatically started. When you set up an automatic routine, you will need a trigger. A trigger is what causes the routine to run. The trigger can be a presence sensor (mobile phone or dedicated arrival sensor), the time of day, a switch, a motion sensor, a contact sensor, or even a button. When the routine is told to run, it will operate the devices you tell it to: turn on or off lights and switches, lock or unlock doors, and open or close garage doors. You can also use routines to change the status of Smart Home Monitor (Armed (Home), Armed (Away), Disarmed) and SmartThings’ mode (Home, Away, Night). Read More


How to Automate Your Home with Tasker

Introduction

Android enthusiasts have been tinkering with Tasker for years- and with good reason. Tasker is a versatile app that is capable of creating a personalized Android experience like no other. It’s described as a way to automate your phone, but when you consider the sheer amount of plugins available, it’s way more than just that. Tasker can use your phone’s apps, files, sensors, and network signals to automatically make your phone behave a certain way- adjust the volume, turn WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS on or off, control the screen brightness, etc. Plugins can extend this functionality, allowing you to use your phone to control other things too, like controlling your home’s lights . It works best with root, but there are a lot of things you can do without root too. None of my devices are rooted, and there’s still plenty I can do with Tasker. Read More


How to Integrate Alarm.com with SmartThings

Introduction

There’s a lot of things that you can easily do with SmartThings , but some things take a little bit of effort to make work. Our home security system is through Alarm.com, which is sort of a competitor to SmartThings. We had an Alarm.com tech come to our home to talk about the feasibility of integrating our SmartThings system with Alarm.com. His solution was to move all of our Z-wave devices to the Alarm.com system, and then charge us for each individual device. Paying a higher price for access to devices that I already operate for free wasn’t really an option. After a little bit of searching, I found a forum post on SmartThings’ website that ended up being the answer. Read More


New SmartThings Dashboard

smartthings

Introduction

The SmartThings app just received an update that many users have been clamoring for- make the dashboard more useful! The old dashboard pretty much consisted of Smart Home Monitor. The only people that were really benefiting from that dashboard were the ones that had Smart Home Monitor set up using security cameras, smoke detectors, door/window contact sensors , or leak detectors. Everyone else was kind of left out. The latest version of the dashboard now includes a Favorites section, to go along with Smart Home Monitor. The new section allows quick access to the devices you select. Read More


How to Determine if a Smart Home is Right for You?

Introduction

I’ve been reading a lot in the tech news lately about the state of the smart home, specifically the seemingly never-ending controversy surrounding the ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT). It’s generally a widespread belief that technology can be used to make our homes more efficient, our cities safer, and our industries more productive. Yet I’ve read dozens of articles about the pitfalls of inviting IoT into your home. Some people are concerned about the lack of interoperability, others are scared that not enough is being done to secure IoT devices. Still, others are saying that hubs are dying a slow death and that voice assistants are the way forward. Some people are advocating a “wait-and-see” strategy, others say just go for it. With all the chatter out there, how do you know what to believe? Read More


How to Add Lutron Casèta to Google Assistant

Introduction

Lutron Casèta’s Smart Bridge v2 works well with Siri out-of-the-box, and has been integrated into Amazon’s Alexa . With Google’s push to get Google Assistant up and running on more Android devices (those smartphones running Marshmallow and Nougat), it looks like Lutron has finally added support for their Casèta line of home automation products! This gives Android users a direct link to the Lutron Smart Bridge without having to go through a 3rd party like a Samsung SmartThings or an Amazon Alexa to voice-control lights. This should help consumers that want to voice-activate their lights alleviate some of the extra cost for an otherwise expensive line of products. Google Assistant doesn’t stop at just lighting, it also works with Serena shades. This makes Lutron Casèta home automation so much more useful. One downside to Google Assistant is that it doesn’t support scenes at the moment, so you’ll still need to use workarounds for that. Read More


Samsung S7 Edge- How to Fix SmartThings Mobile Presence Sensor

Introduction

SmartThings is a great platform, but like all things technology-related, it’s only great when it works. One issue I recently ran into after I factory reset my Samsung S7 Edge is shown in the picture above- I was constantly seeing my phone come in and out of my SmartThings geofence. Since my phone is tied to various automation routines, things around my home started to operate when they weren’t supposed to. In a single day, my phone was causing my routines to trigger 30+  times! Read More


How to Add SmartThings to Google Assistant

Introduction

Google Assistant is compatible with SmartThings without Google Home! This is great news for Android users that have a SmartThings hub. Since SmartThings now supports Lutron, if you also have a Lutron hub , you can now control your lights from your phone using natural speech voice commands. Since SmartThings doesn’t do Lutron scenes, these won’t be available through Google Assistant. Hopefully at some point in the future Lutron will provide native support to either SmartThings or Google Assistant. Read More


Samsung S7 Edge- How to Enable Google Assistant

Introduction

I’ve been reading a lot of tech articles over the past few weeks that claim Google Assistant is now ready for any phone running Android 6.0 and above. I never received the automatic update for Play services version 10.2.99, so I manually downloaded and installed it. To my surprise, when I long-pressed the home key, I was still shown Google Now cards. One thing I never read about was that you needed to enable  Google Assistant after you update to Play services 10.2.99. Read More