Samsung SmartThings is a flexible system that includes SmartThings devices as well as a hub which is designed to be the ‘brain’ of your smart home. The benefit of using SmartThings is that it reduces the number of different device vendors (all with their own smartphone apps and individual hubs) you need to install. There is an official list of supported devices including lights, thermostats, locks, cameras, outlets and also voice assistants Amazon Echo and Google Home that integrate with the SmartThings hub. The system also integrates with most Z-Wave and Zigbee devices which opens up the ability to install devices made from hundreds of vendors into your single system.
HOW IT WORKS
The central hub is connected to your internet router and is linked to a smart phone app. From here all devices and automation can be programmed with a user friendly platform. Notifications and other actions can be configured based on motion/lack of motion, doors/windows/drawers/refrigerators being opened or closed, temperature, smoke alarms, doors left open, appliances being used (using smart outlet) and the time of day.
REAL WORLD USE CASES
Some ways SmartThings could be configured for the safety of an elderly person living alone:
- Motion sensors can help identify and send a notification of a slip and fall event after detecting motion in the bathroom at night but no motion triggered back in the bedroom after a period of time.
- Place a door sensor on externals door to be alerted by text when someone enters or leaves (can also be set to only notify during specific times of day).
- Smart locks can automatically lock at night or when nobody is home. If a neighbor needs to check on them and doesn’t have a key, the door can be remotely unlocked from anywhere with the app.
- Automatically turn on lights at night after motion detected in a hallway or bathroom.
- Place an open/closed sensor on the medicine cabinet to confirm each time medications are taken (or missed).
- Put a sensor on the refrigerator and/or a smart outlet on the microwave to monitor daily eating routines.
- Set warnings if the temperature is reaches extreme hot or cold levels.
- Hundreds of additional custom configurations based on someones unique situation.
While any smart home system is a useful tool for identifying trends or possible emergency situations, it is not a replacement for a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) such as a pendant or bracelet that when pressed (or detect a fall) can alert emergency medical services immediately. If you are considering the use of smart home technology for the safety of an elder, it is also strongly recommended to explore a PERS as well.