Best HSM Arming Method

Brand new to HSM. After much discussion and research, I'm thinking some contact monitoring and text alerts is a great start for our security needs, complimented by our Wyze cam, Schlage lock and Alexa device.

So in my limited HSM experimentation, I'm struggling with optimal control for arming / disarming. I believe I'd like to control this from two methods 1. Alexa voice commands 2. Hubitat dashboard. 3. (Optional) Using the virtual button from voice control to maybe trigger a manual alexa button.

The biggest unknown is getting the dashboard proper. I've ready having individual switches for each arming mode, just using the Mode switch and changing those to auto arm, also the HSM tile which struggled to update. The one time i tried a virtual button, it didn't appear like there was a "pushing" animation and wasn't uncertain if I actually armed anything.

So long story short, if not using an actual keypad or physical button, what and how is the best method from the dashboard and alexa to trigger alarms and cancel alerts?

I have HSM that arms according to mode. Away/quiet/home/night
each mode arms certain degrees. Home monitors smoke detectors, but I have voice announcements if a door opens through rules. Away and night are full protection using every sensor that I can use. I don't use a dashboard or alexa to arm my HSM. I don't use dashboards daily. Only for troubleshooting. All of my automations in my environment arre based on typical interactions. My alexa will announce if hsm failed to arm and tell me why through a rule. There really is not a wrong way to set things up, but be careful with sirens

I just released an app/driver combo to fit my need for dashboard arming/disarming of HSM and changing modes.

You can choose to not require a code for any of the actions when configuring the app, and only use the buttons you want on a dashboard. The buttons to change HSM and modes also have a switch which can be used to trigger automations in Rule Machine or Alexa/etc.

Im not sure if alexa can trigger button pushes, but if so, you can expose the buttons to alexa and use that to run any of the commands in my app.

@april.brandt I was probably going to use based off modes as well. So how do you arm or change your modes if not by dashboard or alexa? I like the idea of simplifying down to not having to use a dashboard at all. My family would thank me for that. Also, Curious on the arming failure notification with alexa since echo's are not used as TTS devices.

Miine arms on modes as well.. i only use home,night away.. i mimic what i figured out was the best when using smartthings.

Night is set automatically when time is between 12:02 and 3 am, and current mode is home, and 6 of my motion sensors are innactive (all of them) for 10 minutes.

then hsm arms when mode changes to night and i also have a rule when mode changes to night to close both garage doors, and a scene to turn off a bunch of lights. lock all doors,
and alert me via a text.

home mode is set when time is between 5 am and 11 am and mode is currently night and there is motion in a bunch of zones (any of them)

I explicitly exclude motion checking in my bedroom or bathroom zones for these rules. For those i have motion turn on a hue light purple and dim for 3 minutes during night mode when there is motion..
and brighter soft white light when mode is home with motion and we are after sunset.

i also use "is my home secure" app to double check specific doors and locks are close and locked when the mode changes to away or night.

Finally for away i either trigger it myself with the dashboard or my phone or watch, and i also have one auto arm to away when presence sensors in cars sense both cars are out. Each garage door auto closes when it senses the presence sensor in the car is gone for 2 minutes, and they both auto open when the vehicle returns.

also when a door unlocks or a garage door opens i change mode back to home and auto unlock relative locks..

for the alerts i have various hue lights light up different colors (red for intrusion, blue for water leak,,orange for fire, etc.) I typically only enable the siren when a house is empty for an extended time.
make sure to put a clear alert button on one of your dashboards. Also, remember to have fire or co or gas alert unlock all your doors.. And for those i do use the siren.

I also dont arm any of the motion sensors when in night becuase people usually walk around, and even exclude some doors (ie slider going to hot tub late at night, or letting dogs out a door etc. These all are armed in away mode.

i hope this helps

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I use Alexa to arm the HSM through routines. I have Goodbye, I'm Leaving, Goodnight, Good Morning and I'm Back. When I say one of these phrases, an Alexa routine throws a virtual momentary switch which in turn, activates a HE Rule which turns on or off lights, modes and HSM. It really works well. "I'm Back" works with Alexa presence which also works very well. The only difference between I'm leaving and Goodbye is that Goodbye opens the garage door and I'm Leaving doesn't . I don't use time or modes to arm because the time is always different. This works well for me, some will protest that telling Alexa to do something is not real automation but it works and is very reliable. I also use a colored bulb that shuts off in a few minutes to indicate that the rule actually ran. I can see that getting the family to do this may be a stretch but it is just the wife and I and the wife would rather tell Alexa to do something than press a button. I think it is because Alexa will do what she says without and backtalk. Maybe I should add some backtalk to the routine. Better not. Good Luck.

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You can choose in HSM to arm by triggers. I'm not at home to look at it, but my hsm automatically arms and disarms according to mode change. My modes change according to rule as I set them up long before mode manager was around. SHM Arms away, arms, home, arms night. It's all set up within the app. Just run through it and choose your triggers. I use node red for voice announcements through alexa. I will throw together how my system is set up when I get home tonight so that I can have it right in front of me. Including what I do for my environment. Also, Here are some links to some of the integrations I've done for our home to be hands free and also a bit entertaining. Always need something that gives visitors that wow factor. I"m currently working on some outdoor smart lighting. Nothing too huge. Just some recessed lighting in our decks to solve having to decorate for the holidays.

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@kahn-hubitat This helped a lot, some great ideas. Recommendations on presence sensor?

@davidcwright59 I can totally see the family being more in favor of Alexa than a dashboard. I've not looked into Alexa presence before so something I need to check out. Besides Hue which I understand doesn't officially integrate, are there other color changing bulbs that do integrate?

@april.brandt I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your setup. I've not tried installing other apps yet, but NodeRed sounds exactly what I need.

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i use the older smartthings presence.. i thing there are still some available at best buy online

For presence I use Life360. Some people combine presence using wifi, life360, and the hubitat app for accuracy. There are apps out there like combined presence to help keep things accurate. Careful with wifi as that tends to give false reads because your phone will turn wifi off to save battery.

As for colored bulbs, I use Sengled color bulbs. They integrate well with HE and also they do not repeat which is a plus.

Node red is a beast of it's own and has challenges. The support is good, but there's still a curve. If you haven't used it.
I have HSM arm automatically for these modes It always monitors for smoke and water, just door and windows turn off

this is going to be a read, and I'll apologize now. I've had a lot of time to set up my environment.
All of my rooms are set up to be hands off. I have motion sensors set up in every room. Several in the kitchen/dining to keep lights on when it matters. I have lights that turn on an hour before sunset and off an hour after sunrise. I use qi chargers to change modes from home to quiet time, quiet time to night, night to home. I have lights above my cabinets that brighten to motion and dim when it's quiet. This makes it so that we don't have to turn on the overhead lights for just a drink of water. But, if activity continues for an extended amount of time, then they turn on. All of this is based on our habits and how we use our home. I don't use voice commands. I've spent a lot of time observing out habits and making notes. Tweaking things to be hands off. This works for us. Dashboards are for troubleshooting in my environment. outside lights turn off when we go to bed, but turn on if it's still dark outside and we're leaving for work, etc. Bathrooms have light strips in them that turn on at night to be able to take care of business. I don't need to wake up the house. I can assure you I won't be doing my hair at 3 am. A dim light strip will suffice. Just enough to make aim. :grin: If I close the bathroom door, the vanity lights will turn on at night, but turn right off as soon as the door opens. Just in case a brighter light is necessary. I use a lot of motion and contact sensors in our house to make things appear like our house knows what we want. And usually it does. There's only a few things I'll still be tweaking, and I'm planning on some outdoor lighting that might be a challenge. I'm sure I'll be posting some project here about that. It's been a remodel in the making. If you have any questions about being hands off, please tag me. Since I have this in every room, it would become a book. Closet lights turn on when the doors are opened type of automations. Good luck and I'm happy to help if you need a sounding board.


I have mine and my wife's phone connected to HE app. Is that accurate enough for presence?

I believe I got mode changes setup correctly based on Mode Manager rules, even set Arm and Disarm away based on phone presence, but...

I have kids that come and go even when we're both away. I'm thinking of providing an Alexa command for them to arm/disarm like stated above, but hopefully override our phone presence just in case we're both still away. Using a virtual switch, what is the best setup in HE to get the right trigger to arm and disarm?

Thanks @davidcwright59, I'll check out the bulbs!

I use life360 for presence. I've found that it's all punchy, but if you use an app such as combined presence, you can let HE determine presence based on several different degrees. You can have all of them and include wifi and if 2 of 3 are true, then you're home. False, you're away. It seems to be really accurate when you combine more than one avenue with presence.

You can put presence on your kids without "invading their privacy" using the hubitat app. You don't have to allow them access to the dashboards, etc. You'll have to play with that to see what works for you. Also, I have a smart lock that changes the mode to home when my cleaning lady comes to the house. That way the lights work for her. That is set up according to the code that is entered in the door. If you have a smart lock, you could use that to change mode for the kids as well.
For that one, you might have to use rule manager to change your mode as my rule would read If any device is present, then change to home and if all devices are not present change mode to Away.

Your only limitation is your imagination. A smarthings sensor works really well too as long as you make sure that the batteries don't die. I base the arm and disarm on presence. If we're home and awake, monitor fire and leak. Night and Away, monitor everything. WE have one door that's not monitored so that we don't wake up the world when we let the pups out at night. It's all about what works for you. My kitchen lights brighen up when we enter the room in the evening and one set actually turns off when we're in bed. Acts as a night lit. All based on motion.

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Some great discussion and wonderful ideas. I posted two additional questions outside of this conversation to help understand or troubleshoot some things, but really appreciate all the responses.

I'm using mode manager to help switch between Home, Night and Away - with home disarming. Having troubles on it recognizing time and setting Return from Away correctly, but that was one of my questions.

I was trying to use presence with our iphones, but also voice command for the kids to arm/disarm Away. It won't "unlock" anything, but just change notification options for what is being monitored. But I was experiencing presence taking priority over any voice command (my second question), as there could be instances where we're away based on presence, but a kid comes home and try change mode but it won't due to our presence status.

I'm getting all my contact and motion sensors today to really pull this all together. I already had Wyze cameras, but since they don't integrate, I'm trying to best determine location of motion sensors while not doubling up on motion detection by Wyze.

A lot of ideas, but want to build and spend wisely with focus on security first.

@kahn-hubitat @april.brandt One last question please :slight_smile:

How do you cancel your alerts? If using a HSM setup not using a keypad, and trying to not rely heavily on dashboard, what's been your method of canceling?

I use a dashboard or unlock door .

Does a mode change and disarming cancel those alerts as well? I was going to test tomorrow, but thought I'd ask too. Trying to determine if I need to cancel alerts each time I return home and disarm the system. Wouldn't seem like I would need to as long as I disarm within the delay period...

It would help if you posted a screenshot of what you have. Depending on the alerts, you can cancel them with the press of a switch or button. Like the kitchen light or a pico. Whatever you want. You choose.

I have set up a button in an easily accessible spot for family to cancel Smoke/CO and Leak alerts.

I don't use intruder alerts as our comings and goings are very unpredictable, and family refuses to allow presence capabilities on their phones (privacy issues). I do have some speaker notifications on exterior gates opening outside of "normal" hours, and have a separate "Delivery" notification during normal hours to know when a delivery left behind a gate that I use for my deliveries.