October 27, 2015

My Experience with Hue and SmartSense

home automation

By In Reviews
I have developed a new dance move, of which I am becoming quite adept. The ‘Right Shoulder Twist’ really needs a dedicated tune along the lines of The Madison or The Mash Potato.

On a whim I tried out a bum twist manoeuvre which frankly just hurt, while the Left Leg Back Kick was less of a success if one was over keen in returning the leg to its usual position due to the protuberance of several draw handles.

If I’m standing still in my rather dingy kitchen, cutting up veg or squeezing a garlic clove through my funky press, (Jamie Oliver uses one in his 15 minute meals!), the under cabinet lights switch off. They are linked, through the power of a SmartThings SmartPower Outlet, to a motion detector.

On entering the kitchen, the lights click on and, when no further motion is detected, they then switch off. Fantastic in the dark hours when a glass of Thames finest is required for a less than aware insomniac. Less so when standing chopping veg. Hence the development of these new moves.

I’m considering buying a drinking bird so some movement can be maintained under the watchful eye of Samsungs SmartSense Motion Detector. But it isn’t high tech. In fact its rather shite and tacky, not at all in keeping with my vision of an ultra-modern, connected home.

Samsung SmartThings

The Samsung Kit links in nicely with my modest, but growing collection, of Philips Hue Bulbs. In the main room I have a plain Hue bulb in a Tripod Spot Light and another in the ceiling light over the dining table. The side cabinet, that holds my stash of cocktail ingredients, I have lined with a strip light (one where you can change the colour via the Ipad Ap– which is fantastic fun). There are two other free standing lamps in the room that I did, initially, hook up to a Samsung Plug, but there was only one in the pack and I’ve since moved that to use the under-cabinet lights in the kitchen.

So another plug is required. I am also in need of two more Philips bulbs. Not for the other ceiling light in the main room (that I am leaving as a ‘normal’ light so we have something to switch on and off without having to locate the ipad), but for the entrance lobby.

This little room has no windows, which results in it being, well, dark. What I would like to do is, on opening the front door, have the lobby light turn on automatically and then, once through the next door, have the corridor light turn on. So two new bulbs required here.

On the front door I have fitted the SmartSense Multi. This picks up vibrations when someone knocks and records whether the door is open or closed. I had wanted to get a notification sent to the ‘system’ when someone knocks (I don’t have a doorbell) but the SmartApp (Door Knock) doesn’t seem to work properly. It just stops working. I get a notification sent to my mobile and Ipad for a day then it stops. No idea why. More preferable would be to buy an old wireless Sonos speaker and have this blare out some sort of comedy ‘there is someone at the door’ sound clip – one with Stephen Fry being Jeeves or Elmer Fudd perhaps.

Ultimately I have my eye on the new Logitech Harmony remote and hub. At a touch of a button my whole entertainment system and a lighting regime tailored to the moment (TV watching, streaming music, a Blue-Ray film etc) can all be switched into play. I’d like freestanding coloured HUE light to go in a corner of the front room to complement the stip in the drinks cabinet. Next month perhaps!


Overall ‘My Experience with Hue and SmartSense’ is moderately successful; more exploration required perhaps. In the meantime, I need to get some tools to fix that single hue lamp (attached to a Urban Cottage Industries power cord) into the top of that vintage oil can.

The SmartThings pack is a review sample (hence this post) that I’ll either return after the end of the trial or get to purchase at a reduced rate. The Philips Hue lights are my own. One of the requested requirements of reviewing the Smartthings is to show videos. Frankly me walking into my kitchen watching a light turn on and turn off once I’ve backed out does not make for interesting viewing. More interesting, perhaps, is my amateurish attempt at showing how the Hue App controls the lights; but then that Hue and not SmartThings…

One final thing. I’m now so used to a light coming on automatically when I walk into the kitchen I get jolly annoyed walking into the other rooms and it remains dark!

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