9 Ways A Smart Home Can Improve Your Life

Your phone is smart. Your kids are smart. Your home should be smart, too.
Now it can be.

Here are nine ways that a smart home can protect your family and property, save you money, and make you feel like a superhero by giving you powers you’ve only dreamed of.

#1. You Can Lock & Unlock Doors With Your Mind

We think that doors should do more than just sit there on their dumb metal hinges. So we did something about it.

In a smart home, your door automatically unlocks when you approach, and locks behind you when you leave. (Feel free to put your keys in the same place where you put your VCR.) You also never have to wait around for service providers, leave keys under the mat, or hand out spares to your neighbors, because you can lock or unlock your door to let other people in with a simple tap of a button in the free SmartThings app for iOS or Android–wherever you are.

What you need:
A SmartThings Hub
A smart lock

rsz_hombHow it works:
Since all smartphones have GPS sensing built in to them, all you need to do is to select your home location using the SmartThings app, install a smart lock, and… that’s it: no need to fumble around for keys when you’re carrying groceries or kids, because your door will automatically unlock or lock whenever you come and go from the area you’ve defined as “home.”

Want to learn more?
Check out this story from a SmartThings customer who says he’ll never go back to using keys again.

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#2. You Can Automate Your Lights & Control Them From Anywhere

You know who isn’t the brightest bulb in the box? Lights. According to the US Energy Information Administration, they account for more than 30% of a home’s energy consumption… but they don’t have to.

heatcoolSmart lights can save you money and secure your home by automatically reacting to your daily routines and preferences. You can set your lights to slowly brighten when you want to wake up (sorry, alarm clock…), turn on when you’re away to make it look like someone is home, turn off automatically when you leave the house, and so much more.

What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
• Your choice of any number of smart lighting options, such as…
   – a smart in-wall switch or dimmer to control overhead lights
   – smart light bulbs such as TCP or Philips hue (no wiring required)
a SmartPower Outlet to turn dumb lamps into intelligent lamps

output_FH74BhHow it works:
Once you’ve plugged in your dumb lamp, screwed in your smart light bulb, or installed your in-wall switch, you can control one light or a bunch of lights with a simple tap of a button in the free SmartThings app.

But things really get cool when you set your lights to automatically turn on and off when different things happen. To do this, you can either set different rules in the SmartSetup section of the SmartThings app, or you can customize different actions to take place around your daily routines using the Hello, Home section of the SmartThings app.

Want to learn more?
The easiest way to get started automating and controlling your lights is to pick up a Lighting Automation Kit. To see how people are controlling lights in their smart homes, sit back and watch as James gives you a tour of his smart home, and read up on how Ryan automates his lights during movie night.

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#3. You Can Save Money on Energy Bills

Never sweat your monthly energy bill again. By automatically turning down your thermostat, your A/C unit, or your portable heater when you’re away, you can not only help our planet by living green, but also help yourself by saving some serious green.

You can set a smart thermostat or portable heating/cooling unit to adjust to a certain level whenever different events take place–such as when you leave home. And to make sure that you always step back in to a comfortable crib, you can also adjust your home’s temperature from your phone whenever you want–like, when you’re leaving work to come home each day.

What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
A SmartThings-compatible thermostat or a SmartPower Outlet to control A/C units or portable heaters

output_beUREAHow it works:
After installing a smart thermostat, you can turn it on, off, or adjust it directly from the SmartThings app. You can also set it to automatically adjust when different events take place–such as when you arrive or leave home–by using the Hello, Home section of the SmartThings app.

If you have a window A/C unit or portable heater, you can turn that on or off directly from the SmartThings app as well, or set it to automatically adjust when different events take place by using the Hello, Home section of the SmartThings app.

Want to learn more?
To see how one customer is powering both his Nest thermostat and also a portable space heater using SmartThings, take your shoes off and step in to Rahul’s smart home.

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#4. You Can Easily & Affordably Secure Your Home

output_10zIrrYou know what isn’t smart? Paying for a traditional security system that will rob you blind with monthly fees, closed contracts, and installation fees. Agree? Read on.

SmartThings is the easiest and most affordable way to secure your home. Lock and unlock your doors from anywhere, control and automate your lights from wherever you are, trigger a blaring siren to ring if there’s unwanted motion or entry, and get immediate alerts if doors or windows open unexpectedly.

What you need:
So long as you have the SmartThings Hub, you can add as many or as few devices as you want to create a safer and smarter home. However, the easiest and most affordable way to start protecting and monitoring your home is with one of the three SmartThings Home Security Kits.

hello-homeHow it works:
By using the free SmartThings app, you can easily automate and control things like lights and locks to secure your home from anywhere. SmartThings lets you let you check in and see what’s happening at home when you’re on the go and to react to unexpected events.

By placing a SmartSense Multi sensor on doors and windows, you can receive immediate alerts if they open when you’re away or asleep. By placing a SmartSense Motion sensor in your home, you can get immediate notifications if movement is detected in your home. And by pairing an alarm or a SmartPower Outlet to your Multi or Motion sensors, you can trigger lights to turn on or a loud siren to sound whenever unexpected entry or movement occurs.

Want to learn more?
To learn more about securing your home with SmartThings, check out our post: “5 Ways You Can Secure Your Home with SmartThings.” You can also read one customer’s creative story about a robbery and a plan to get even.

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#5. You Can Prevent a Small Leak from Causing a Disaster

damageHere’s a not-so-fun fact: According to HomeAdvisor.com the average cost to repair home water damage throughout the country is $2,476. Yea… not cheap.

We know that a minor leak can quickly escalate into devastating damage–it’s why we started SmartThings in the first place. In a smart home, you can get an immediate alert whenever excess water is detected where it doesn’t belong. And by notifying you of the problem, you can address the issue or call a neighbor or family member to prevent a headache from costing you a fortune.

What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
A moisture sensor

How it works:
Simply place a moisture sensor in an area of your home that’s prone to leaking or flooding (such as under an old pipe, in a basement, or near a washing machine), and you’ll receive an instant alert on your smartphone soon as water is detected. If you happen to have a siren or smart lights, you can also trigger lights to flash or change color, or a siren to sound if a leak is detected.

Want to learn more?
The easiest and most affordable way to prevent water damage throughout your home is by getting a Water Detection Kit.

To learn how customers are using SmartThings to prevent water damage in their homes, check out these stories:
• Avoiding Costly Water Damage in Your Home
• SmartThings Smells Trouble
• The Great Flood

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#6. You Can Teach Dumb Things to Start Talking to Each Other

Having a smart home is like conducting an orchestra: You can call on each connected object to play its own tune, but the true beauty is choreographing your smart things to work together and perform a symphony.

By teaching your connected objects to work together, your smart home can automatically react to your routines and preferences. Train lights to turn on and follow you as you move throughout the house, trigger the coffee machine to start brewing your favorite blend as you wake up, start automatically heating up dinner in a Crock-Pot as you roll into the driveway, and so much more.


What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
• To trigger light to follow you (as shown in the above video), you’ll need…
A SmartSense Motion sensor
Your choice of any number of smart lighting options, such as a smart in-wall switch or dimmer to control overhead lights, smart light bulbs such as TCP or Philips hue (no wiring required), a SmartPower Outlet to turn dumb lamps into intelligent lamps

hR5uxd-2-1How it works:
Simply place your motion sensor in a hallway, a stairwell, or another area of your home that you’d like to light up when people come and go, and then trigger your smart in-wall lights or lamps to illuminate whenever motion is detected by using the SmartSetup section of the SmartThings app. For added convenience (and to save on energy costs), you can also trigger your lights to automatically turn off after the motion sensor stops detecting movement.

Want to learn more?
Step inside Brendon‘s smart home to watch how he triggers lights to automatically turn on when he’s coming up the stairs holding his two toddlers.

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# 7. You Can Stay Connected to Your Family

output_vZkb9WMaybe the only thing more annoying than sending a text message to your kids to ask where they are is asking your kids to teach you how to send a text message. Checking in with those who matter most should be easier. Now it is.

Just as you use your smartphone to check in with friends and followers on social media, now you can use your smartphone to easily and effortlessly check in on family members and pets. Know when kids come home from school each day, when cars arrive in the driveway, or when pets unexpectedly leave the house.

What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
• A smartphone, or (optional) a SmartSense Presence sensor

presenceHow it works:
Since all smartphones have GPS sensing, you can use the free SmartThings app to receive a notification whenever family members arrive in the area you set as your “home.” For young children, parents, or pets that don’t carry a smartphone, simply place a SmartSense Presence sensor in their backpack, purse, or around their collar to know when they come and go… and in the case of pets, if they plan a daring unexpected escape!

Want to learn more?
Check out how Emily used SmartThings to receive an immediate notification when her mutt, Omar, ran away from home; and how Jesse gains peace of mind by knowing when his children return home from school each day.

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#8. You Can Protect Your Children… Even When You’re Not There

While you’d love to be there to watch your children’s every move, chances are you don’t have eyes in the back of your head (unless you’re this guy). That’s where a smart home comes in.

Since home security should extend inside your home, too, SmartThings allows you to protect your family by monitoring and securing dangerous and off-limit areas. Get immediate alerts if children open things like cleaning supply cabinets, medicine drawers, or gun cases.

What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
A SmartSense Multi sensor

multiHow it works:
By placing a SmartSense Multi sensor on a door, window, drawer, or cabinet of an off-limit area, you’ll be able to receive an immediate notification if these things open unexpectedly. And if you have smart lights or an alarm, you can even choose to trigger your lights to flash or change color, or your alarm to sound when off-limit areas are accessed.

Want to learn more?
Read about 4 ways that a smart home can make you a better parent, and then check out how Andy uses SmartThings to keep an eye on his 3-year-old son.

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#9. You’ll Never Forget to Close Your Garage Door Again

We’ve all been there: We’re a mile from our house driving our Harley Subaru when we wonder “Did I close the garage door?” Since no one wants to leave a welcome mat out for intruders, a smart home can sense when you’re gone and automatically close up after you.

Just as you can lock and unlock doors and turn on lights, electronics, and appliances from anywhere with SmartThings, you can also open and close your garage door with a simple tap of a button.

What you need:
• A SmartThings Hub
• A SmartSense Multi sensor
A compatible garage door opener (recommended: Evolve relay switch)

RWmhsqsP5iRMO_Ux5SiRf3iZY3i9BhNy9VyBZ1XVLCM,ocYcDeRjPJor-kcTuxB0o0EnujzJ0qeUobAjMHtOBDs,TI55z-gjc2YE5I0mf_NhSuvxSYp3xQZExcIQyaNI8ccHow it works:
After installing the relay switch in your garage and placing a SmartSense Multi on your garage door (which senses if the door is open or close), you’ll be able to manually open and close it by tapping a button in the free SmartThings app. Sorry, burglars.

Want to learn more?
Read how Chris has created a ridiculously automated garage door that knows when he comes and goes.



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Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. We love ST at our home. Noting like getting a cup of coffee and having the days weather play for you from Sonos. Or letting me know when the front or back door have been left open for more than a couple of minutes. How about pulling up on my Harley and having the garage door open automatically so I don’t have to stop the bike and find a garage door opener. Or laying in bed at night and shutting down the house with the push of a button? All cool stuff! Thanks, ST!

  2. Just bought some GE Link light bulbs (start at $15 for 60 watts) which were instantly compatible with my Philips Hue Bridge — and, therefore, SmartThings! Finally prices of individual “Things” are falling significantly, which let’s us maximize the benefits of the SmartThings base system.

  3. The smart home is a dreame of all persons, That is not a simple thing it needs good home appliances and that should be arrange in proper order. And buy appliances from good stores only. Cook tops will give more attractions to the kitchen.

  4. I am definitely going to use these tips for lighting control in my home.

  5. Protecting a home was never so easy with mobile security management. You can always get in touch with the law enforcing agencies if you sense an intruder inside your home. Getting data of the happenings in your home via your smartphone is going to work wonders to let you enjoy your vacations.
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  6. IOT :)

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  8. Great post. Out SH is simply great. The cost though, but it’s worth it.

  9. Eliot, thanks for posting such a helpful article… but I really think the Smart Remote that Sevenhugs (French start-up company) just came out with is the best option for controlling multiple units, since having a Smart Home can get WAY too complicated with all of those separate apps and such a wide variety of tech units.

  10. currently lots of gadget available in the market for protect our home when childrens are alone but smartsense seems great till today.

  11. This is the future for having every home becoming smart. Burglar are becoming smart too, when you upgrade they are updated also what is new to the market. The good news is, there are many ways to catch them even no one at home by using CCTV. Just secure your password nicely to avoid hacking. | http://www.chiefappliance.com/

  12. All the smart things were good,loved this article

  13. This is very nice and very useful blog…I like it…We also provide latest Home Automation systems http://www.cinemagicllc.com/

  14. Thanks for the great article.

    One other item to note when you are building your smart home system is to make sure they are sitting on a solid and secure network backbone to connect all your smart home devices. Make sure you pay the extra money for enterprise grade routers and network switches that can handle both the audio and video streaming traffic likely taking place in your home along with the smart home traffic with minimal latency in response to your commands. Make sure you pay for dual band access points where you can take advantage of less used speeds (AC) and frequencies (5Ghz). Also keep in mind that whenever you setup iPhone, Android, PC or Mac apps that you use outside your home to control devices in your home, you are potentially exposing your network to get hacked by leaving some insecure ports open in your router. For example, some surveillance NVRs require port 80 to be open for their smartphone app to work, which is a known port to use to get into your network. If your network service provider suggests “VLANs” for your surveillance and control gear versus your computers, spend the money to do it as it would add an extra layer of security into your network. It is also important to make sure this network performs at its best which often requires continued maintenance by you or an IT/Home Automation professional. I actually talk a bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of investing in a service plan for your Home Automation system for those who are interested.


    Service plans are of course not for everyone, but everyone should know what they get when then have them and what they give up when they don’t.

  15. Hi, Amazing content with such detailed information on home automation with its advantags & disadvantages, working procedure. Indeed home automation is highly required in our busy life where we generally forget to turn off lights, ac & close the doors etc. More importantly you can track and monitor every small things in your home staying away from home. Smartnest.co.in also provides smart gadgets to turn your home into a smarthome.

  16. Thanks for sharing this great article. You have well explained the 9 ways that a Smart Home Can improves our lives, through the video. Smart home can protect our family and property, save money & lets us control home audio, video, lighting, climate and security at one click from anywhere. Get introduced to a world of automated homes with Home Automation Product – Deft. To learn more visit: http://www.rollingdicetechnologies.com

  17. Well, I’ve played with home automation and smart home devices since the 90’s. I’ve personally been a fan of the idea all these years. I have had some enlightening experiences as well, like purchasing a smart vacuum and then it running over DOG POOP…smearing it throughout the entire house! Right now I’m in the process of purchasing different products off of smartcookiestore.com and Amazon.com, but am wondering if you guys know maybe where there is a better place to search?


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