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Answered: Discussion Open

Smart Home Monitor with delay & professional monitoring

Eric Roberts 2 weeks ago in Security • updated by Terry (ActionTiles) (Co-Founder) 2 weeks ago 5

I've been reading posts here and on the Smartthings site and I'm having trouble confirming that I can accomplish this type of setup.  I want to be able to use ActionTiles to arm and disarm SHM with a pin pad and a delayed entry and exit.  I'd also like to sign up with either Scout or the new service Noonlight for professional monitoring.  


I know that these things can all be done separately with ActionTiles pin pad option and the Smart App SHM Delay V2.  I just don't know if they can all be combined together to replicate our current ADT monitored panel.


I'm not looking for step by step, I'm just trying to confirm that it's currently possible and if people are happy with this type of setup. 

Answer

Answer
Answered: Discussion Open
  1. I personally agree that Presence Sensors (of nearly any sort) are often less-than-reliable, and would not based alarm system Armed/Disarmed status on them.
  2. ActionTiles's PIN Protected SHM Tile, in concert with the SHM Delay SmartApp from the SmartThings Community, should reliably replicate the entry/exit grace delay behavior. I presume comments on that SmartThings Community Topic will give a good indication as to reliability.
  3. ActionTiles is not currently compatible with SHM in the new SmartThings App. While you can use this App for other features, you can have the SmartThings Classic App still installed and usable for configuring and managing Classic SHM.
  4. You can also use an alternative Alarm SmartApp such as Smart Alarm (in the Classic App "Marketplace"), or perhaps one that has been written as a webCoRE piston, etc.. You can use a PIN Protected Virtual Switch Tile to control such SmartApps.
  5. One thing that traditional alarm panels usually offer is a pre-arming "zone-alert" that indicates a window or door is not currently closed or there is motion detected somewhere in the house. Some let you selectively do a one-time "bypass" of these sensors so you can just get on with your day. You can display your various sensors on your ActionTiles Panel to help; but there is no "bypass" option provided by SmartThings... except on their ADT Security Hub product. Hopefully they extend this functionality to future versions or variation on SHM. I think this was a feature of Smart Alarm.
  6. Your current monitored ADT Panel may or may not have had cellular backup functionality. Both SmartThings and ActionTiles require the internet to function properly. I would recommend that you have some physical way of disabling any sirens you install, just in case. And make sure you understand the False Alarm policies of your monitoring company and local safety services providers. You may need an Alarm Permit for your jurisdiction.


In short; SmartThings + ActionTiles + a reputable monitor is a good solution. Hopefully over time, though, we'll all get better at matching and exceeding the features of traditional dedicated systems, like ADT.


There are actually many benefits (other than just cost savings...) to using SmartThings, etc., that help make up for the current drawbacks. There is a lot of current flexibility. You can even add on SimpliSafe or Ring and unofficially hook them up together, to enhance reliability and give you more options than just Scout, Noonlight, or other integrations.

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I just don't know if they can all be combined together to replicate our current ADT monitored panel.


Please describe the exact behavior of your "current ADT monitored panel" so we can tell you exactly how close it would be replicated based on currently available configurations.

Thanks Terry, pretty basic and mostly what I described above.  The system has a pin pad by the back door I can arm the system to "stay" or "away" with a pin.  When arming the system to away we have 60 seconds to exit the house. Same thing with disarming the system when returning, 60 seconds to disarm the system with a pin. I'm not concerned with a panic button or the use of zones.  


The current system is monitoring 3 first floor door contact sensors and 1 motion sensor.  I'm currently testing SHM with 2 door sensors and 1 motion sensor.  I plan to add another door sensor and 3 more motion sensors. Based on the response here, the next step would be to add an ActionTiles Panel and test the pin pad functionality. If that works, I would wall mount a tablet in the same place as the current ADT pin pad. After a month or two of using the system self-monitored I would add professional monitoring.


I'm not comfortable using presence sensors or other automation to automatically disarm the system and I don't trust either of us to remember to disarm the system every time from our phone. I've been wanting to add ActionTiles to my setup for a while and I think this is the best justification for the expense of mounting a tablet.

Answer
Answered: Discussion Open
  1. I personally agree that Presence Sensors (of nearly any sort) are often less-than-reliable, and would not based alarm system Armed/Disarmed status on them.
  2. ActionTiles's PIN Protected SHM Tile, in concert with the SHM Delay SmartApp from the SmartThings Community, should reliably replicate the entry/exit grace delay behavior. I presume comments on that SmartThings Community Topic will give a good indication as to reliability.
  3. ActionTiles is not currently compatible with SHM in the new SmartThings App. While you can use this App for other features, you can have the SmartThings Classic App still installed and usable for configuring and managing Classic SHM.
  4. You can also use an alternative Alarm SmartApp such as Smart Alarm (in the Classic App "Marketplace"), or perhaps one that has been written as a webCoRE piston, etc.. You can use a PIN Protected Virtual Switch Tile to control such SmartApps.
  5. One thing that traditional alarm panels usually offer is a pre-arming "zone-alert" that indicates a window or door is not currently closed or there is motion detected somewhere in the house. Some let you selectively do a one-time "bypass" of these sensors so you can just get on with your day. You can display your various sensors on your ActionTiles Panel to help; but there is no "bypass" option provided by SmartThings... except on their ADT Security Hub product. Hopefully they extend this functionality to future versions or variation on SHM. I think this was a feature of Smart Alarm.
  6. Your current monitored ADT Panel may or may not have had cellular backup functionality. Both SmartThings and ActionTiles require the internet to function properly. I would recommend that you have some physical way of disabling any sirens you install, just in case. And make sure you understand the False Alarm policies of your monitoring company and local safety services providers. You may need an Alarm Permit for your jurisdiction.


In short; SmartThings + ActionTiles + a reputable monitor is a good solution. Hopefully over time, though, we'll all get better at matching and exceeding the features of traditional dedicated systems, like ADT.


There are actually many benefits (other than just cost savings...) to using SmartThings, etc., that help make up for the current drawbacks. There is a lot of current flexibility. You can even add on SimpliSafe or Ring and unofficially hook them up together, to enhance reliability and give you more options than just Scout, Noonlight, or other integrations.

Terry,  Thank you so much for the detailed response.  Way more information than I expected and it was very helpful and made me think of a few things that I hadn't previously.

ActionTiles is not currently compatible with SHM in the new SmartThings App. While you can use this App for other features, you can have the SmartThings Classic App still installed and usable for configuring and managing Classic SHM.

This is interesting and makes me realize I don't really understand the integration with SHM as I didn't realize I even needed the SmartThings app on the tablet in order for it to work.


You can also use an alternative Alarm SmartApp such as Smart Alarm (in the Classic App "Marketplace"), or perhaps one that has been written as a webCoRE piston, etc.. You can use a PIN Protected Virtual Switch Tile to control such SmartApps.

I saw all of the functionality of Smart Alarm but from the Smartthings Board I saw that it was no longer being updated or supported  so I didn't think it was good idea to plan to use a tool that won't be updated in the future. Do you still recommend it?


One thing that traditional alarm panels usually offer is a pre-arming "zone-alert" that indicates a window or door is not currently closed or there is motion detected somewhere in the house. Some let you selectively do a one-time "bypass" of these sensors so you can just get on with your day. You can display your various sensors on your ActionTiles Panel to help; but there is no "bypass" option provided by SmartThings... except on their ADT Security Hub product. Hopefully they extend this functionality to future versions or variation on SHM. I think this was a feature of Smart Alarm.

Yes, I had forgotten about the pre-arming functionality, my system does have this and it would be nice to have it going forward. It's not a dealbreaker as we don't have any kids or pets.  I also just setup a custom SHM alert when a door has been open for more than 2 minutes. In most cases that should eliminate a door being open that we're not aware of when leaving.


Your current monitored ADT Panel may or may not have had cellular backup functionality. Both SmartThings and ActionTiles require the internet to function properly. I would recommend that you have some physical way of disabling any sirens you install, just in case. And make sure you understand the False Alarm policies of your monitoring company and local safety services providers. You may need an Alarm Permit for your jurisdiction.


I work in IT so I'm used to using redundancy and all smartthings/Internet related equipment have battery backup and I would definitely consider cellular as a backup for the Internet service.  My current system is phone line only and does not have that redundancy. I haven't dug too deep into the sirens, I purchased one about a year ago to test with as a panic device but I plan to reevaluate sirens going forward. My testing is just set up to notify me via the Smartthings app. Definitely aware of the False alarm policies and the possibility of needing a permit.

You don't need to have the SmartThings App on the same tablet as ActionTiles.


You need it somewhere convenient in order to select monitored sensors, etc., clear notifications/alarms, and as a backup to change armed state in the slim chance ActionTiles isn't working.


SHM hasn't been improved for a long time, so we're looking forward to supporting the new version in the new SmartThings App... but so far it is not much better (though it has built-in delay options). We may have to offer our own SmartApp or something, someday!

Smart Alarm SmartApp was abandoned by its developer; but that doesn't mean SHM is inherently better.