How to Create a Home Security System with SmartThings

Smart Home Monitor Create Diy Security System

You’ll learn in the following steps how to build a complete home security system with SmartThings. Using a handful of SmartThings sensors, you can monitor your home for suspicious activity and then respond accordingly. For example, recording suspected intruders, sounding an alarm, or generating a smartphone notification.

Once the rules are set in place, SmartThings will secure your home automatically as soon as it detects you’ve left the property or are heading to bed for the night. By combining sensors, smart home rules, routines and modes, you can create a home security system that arms and disarms your home without any manual input from you.

Creating your home security system

To set up a basic home security network, you need to create two separate “Armed” profiles and then specify which sensors SmartThings should monitor and how it should respond to suspicious activity while in each profile.

In order to complete this tutorial, you’ll need to have set up a SmartThings network and will need the SmartThings Classic app installed on your smartphone or tablet.

To create these two “Armed” profiles:

1. Launch the SmartThings Classic app.

2. Along the bottom of the screen, tap “Dashboard.”

3. Tap the “Smart Home Monitor” card.

4. In the upper-right corner, select the gear icon.

5. Tap “Security.”

You’ll be prompted to create “Armed: Stay” and “Armed: Away” profiles.

  • Armed (Away). You should use this profile when your home is unoccupied. While in an “Armed: Away” state, you’ll typically want to monitor most (if not all) sensors unless you have a specific reason not to.
SmartThings supports two security states out-of-the-box: home and away
  • Armed (Stay). You should use this state when you’re physically at home but still want to monitor certain sensors. For example, perhaps you’re heading to bed and want to monitor all downstairs door and motion sensors. Select all the sensors you want to monitor in this “Armed: Stay” state and tap “Next.”
Use the Armed: Stay profile to monitor sensors while your home is occupied.

Once you’ve set up these profiles, you’ll need to specify how SmartThings should respond to a security alert. SmartThings supports the following:

  • Text & Push Notifications: you can receive security alerts as push notifications that are sent to your smartphone. To set up a push alert, tap this option and enter the phone number where you want to receive your push alerts.
  • Audio notifications: if you’ve added one or more compatible audio devices, then you can receive your alert in the form of an audio notification. SmartThings supports a range of sounds, including dogs barking, a fire alarm, or a custom message that your audio player will announce for you.
Choose how SmartThings should respond to security events.
  • Alert with Sirens: if you’ve purchased a compatible siren, you can raise the alarm in response to suspicious activity. Sirens can be particularly effective at scaring off would-be intruders, so you may want to link your sirens to any outdoor motion sensors or open/close sensors that are mounted on external doors.
  • Alert with Lights: Do you own one or more smart lights? Turning on all the lights can be a great way to scare off anyone who may be snooping around outside your home.

Monitoring your security camera

If you have one or more cameras set up outside or inside your home, then SmartThings can start recording footage from these cameras if it detects any suspicious activity. Although recorded footage won’t stop a crime from happening, it can provide you with invaluable evidence, potentially resulting in the police identifying and prosecuting the person who broke into your home.

To tell SmartThings to start recording automatically:

1. Tap “Select cameras.”

2. Choose one or more cameras from the list.

SmartThings can automatically record suspicious activity using your smart home cameras.

3. Specify how much footage you want SmartThings to capture, ranging from 30 seconds to one minute.

When you’re happy with how you’ve configured your profiles, click “Save.”

Check your security cam footage

If SmartThings detects a security incident, you can review all of its captured footage:

1. In the SmartThings app, tap the “Dashboard” tab.

2. Select the “Smart Home Monitor” card.

3. Tap the “History” tab.

4. Select the incident from the list.

Smart Home Monitor Review Security Footage

5. Tap the video clip’s thumbnail.

SmartThings will now play the video recording.

Testing your home security system

You can arm your home at any point by launching the SmartThings Classic app, navigating to the “Dashboard” and then choosing either “Armed: Stay” or “Armed: Away.”

Since we’ve just created our home security system, this can also be a great way to test your setup. Simply place your home in an “Away” state and then purposefully trigger an incident, such as opening a window that SmartThings is monitoring or walking past a motion sensor while SmartThings thinks no one is home.

SmartThings should respond as though this is a security incident – whether that means flashing every light in your home on and off, playing the sound of dogs barking, or simply sending you a push notification.

You can review all security incidents in the Smart Home Monitor tab.

Automate your home security: SmartThings routines

When you’re heading to bed, you’ll typically want to place your home in an “Armed: Stay” state so you’ll be notified of any suspicious activity that happens while you’re asleep.

SmartThings already has a ready-made “Good Night” routine. By linking this routine to your Smart Home Monitor, you can automatically place your home in an “Armed: Stay” state every time you run the “Good Night” routine:

1. In the SmartThings Classic app, select the “Automation” tab.

2. Find the “Good Night!” routine and tap its cog icon.

Let's automate our security system, using SmartThings routines and modes.

3. Tap “Set Smart Home Monitor to … ”

4. Choose “Armed (Stay).”

SmartThings can arm your home automatically whenever you run the Good Night routine.

5. Tap “Save.”

Every time you run the “Good Night!” routine, your home will be placed in the “Armed: Stay” state.

SmartThings also has a “Good Morning” routine that you can use to place your home in a “Disarmed” state:

1. In the SmartThings mobile app, select the “Automation” tab.

2. Find the “Good Morning” routine and tap its accompanying cog icon.

3. Tap “Set Smart Home Monitor to … ”

4. Choose “Disarmed.”

You can also set the “Good Morning” routine to run automatically, by tapping “Automatically perform … ” and then choosing an available trigger. For example, you may run this routine at a set time every morning, at sunrise, or when the motion sensors detect that you’re getting out of bed.

Automatically perform SmartThings' Good Morning routine.

When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, tap “Save.”

Every time the “Good Morning” routine runs, SmartThings will put your home in a “Disarmed” state and will no longer notify you of events.

Everyone leaves: automatically arm and disarm your home

To have SmartThings automatically run the “Armed: Away” profile when you leave your house, you can make use of a presence sensor and a custom “Everyone Leaves” routine. For a step-by-step guide to set up this sensor and create “Everyone Leaves,” check out the instructions at this SmartThings home automation tutorial.

To activate “Armed: Away” every time you leave your home:

1. In the SmartThings mobile app, select the “Automation” tab.

2. Find the “Everyone leaves” routine and tap its cog icon.

3. Tap “Set Smart Home Monitor to … ”

4. Choose “Armed (Away).”

The Smart Home Monitor app can switch over to Empty house mode automatically

5. Tap “Save.”

When the last presence sensor leaves your property, the “Everyone leaves” routine will run, placing your home into “Empty house” mode and activating “Armed (Away).”

Finally, set up your network to switch to “Disarmed” when you return home:

1. In the SmartThings mobile app, select the “Automation” tab.

2. Find the “I’m Back” routine and tap its cog icon.

3. Tap “Set Smart Home Monitor to … ”

4. Choose “Disarmed.”

5. Tap “Automatically perform … ” and review the action(s) that’ll trigger this routine. This tutorial uses “Someone arrives.” All the presence sensors that are registered with the network have been selected.

6. Tap “Save.”

SmartThings will disarm your home security system automatically as soon as you, or anyone you live with, returns home.

Other than a home security system, you can also create an early warning system to detect out-of-character behavior.

Jessica Thornsby Jessica Thornsby

Jessica Thornsby is a technical writer based in sunny Yorkshire. When she isn't obsessing about home automation, smart devices, and all things tech, she enjoys researching her family tree and spending far too much time with her house rabbits.

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