Few outstanding feature questions


#1

I'm switching from Iris and have nearly chosen to go with Hubitat (my final list is either Abode or SmartThings) but have a few questions that I haven't been able to find an answer.

  • I've seen that Hubitat doesn't have an app for controlling the system remotely (e.g. turning off lights, changing the thermostat temperature, turn on the alarm) but have also seen that might be able to via VPN? Can someone summarize how you use Hubitat remotely? What can and can't you do via the phone app?

  • I've also seen that you can get text notifications to replace not having the app send you status notifications. Does this work for all types of things like if the garage door is left open for 30 minutes?

  • Will keypads work to arm and disarm the system? Will they have grace periods to allow the alarm to be disarmed after entry? Will the keypads be beeping letting people know that they need to disarm the alarm?

  • Can multiple different users be configured for smart locks?

Thanks!


#2

You can set up dashboards to be accessible through the cloud, which gives you remote control of everything remotely through a web browser. If you need the ability to configure/administer Hubitat remotely, then you would need to go the VPN route. If you just want to be able to see current status and control devices, the built in dashboards do this already.

If you want a text, Hubitat can do this but with a limit of 10 per day. If you are ok with a 3rd party app to give you push notifications, Pushover does this very well. It's a couple bucks to sign up, but after that there's tons of flexibility. You can select different people or groups of people to send notifications to, with different priorities. A lot of people get turned off by the idea of a 3rd party app, but it's totally worth it for the flexibility IMO.

The types of notifications you get depends on what you set up. The sky's the limit.

I haven't used keypads, but I believe in general the answer is yes to all of your questions. Someone with keypad experience should be along shortly to share in more detail.

Yes, there's a built in app called Lock Code Manager that will take care of this.


#3

You can control things remotely via the dashboard.
Here are some of my lights as an example.
image

Currently you can have 10 sms messages per day or you can subscribe to Pushover (around £5) and have unlimited notifications sent to you configured mobile device.

I don't use smart locks so cannot comment I'm afraid.

EDIT: Also what he said above....... :wink: :smile:
EDIT 2: There are some improvements coming to the dashboard.
There may be a mobile app coming as well. It has been talked about and a release was inadvertently released to the app store and has since been removed.


#4

There's a lot of Expectation wrapped around "Mobile App" depending on where you've used one before, it seems to me.

SmartThings mixed using with admin, in my opinion. There's only one user of the SmartThings Mobile App that should be adding deleting things.. that's me. Why did I have to give that capability to my wife?? She will not only never use it, will get angry about it being in the way.. if only for fear of clicking the wrong something. My kids would be worse.. no fear of clicking the wrong thing, in fact, there's where all the fun is. :slight_smile:

Hubitat is doing it right, in my opinion. Using the system needs to be available for everyone in the house. Admin should be limited to ME. (Although I'd be happy to outsource admin to my wife if only....)

The mobile app that Hubitat has been talking about will have three functions.. all for using the system. Nothing in the App is targeting admin.

  • The mobile app will have a dashboard, probably in line with the v2 Dashboard Patrick has hinted at. So if you deploy Dashboard v1 today, you're getting a preview of the Mobile app.
  • The mobile app will have notifications. So if you deploy Pushover today, you are getting a preview of the Mobile App.
  • The Mobile app will have supply Presence to the Hub. So today, if you deploy Life360 or any ofthe other 3-4 mechanisms for Presence, you are getting a preview of the Mobile App.

That's it.. 1-3 and all are available in some form today. Any expectation that it will be similar to SmartThings or Wink or Iris's mobile app is probably not the best plan.

Admin will remain local or, via OpenVPN (or equiv). And I can't say thanks loud enough for that. :smiley:


#5

This isn’t true now that we can set up a login and password for the admin web UI. All you need to do is set up port forwarding on your router.


#6

From a security standpoint, that is a horrible idea. You have no idea (or ability to find out) how they have the backend setup, or how it is secured/configured.

If you just expose your hubitat port to the internet, it WILL (not if) get compromised. Obviously an IPS and reverse proxy can help, but without being able to (in detail) know how the wen interface is configured you are REALLY asking for trouble.

I have to explain that to admins EVERY WEEK after they get compromised and locked out (best case) or cryptolockered (less great - still not worst case though) that expose RDP (remote desktop) to the internet, and say "I thought it was safe since it required an active directory account to login".

Put a honeypot box with RDP (even on a non-standard port) on the internet. You are lucky if it lasts a couple of days before being compromised. I've done it many dozens of times for clients, they are always shocked and amazed.


#7

100% true, in my opinion as well.

VPN is the only option for me.


#8

For push notifications for free you can setup pushbullet. The information is here on the forum. I've used pushbullet for many different things so was glad it was an option here and best of all, it's free! Notifications are fast too and I've never had any issues. I have notifications set to tell me when my keypad has armed or disarmed and also if there's a knock at the front door (using a smarthings multi sensor's acceleration sensor).

I have an iris keypad and it can be configured to work the way you have described. There's a small issue with the keypad lighting but it's fixed in the upcoming firmware.

And for remote control of devices as others have said, there's the dashboard. Or if you have Alexa or goodle assistant you can link them to hubitat and have control that way which is what I've done for my wife and what I use alot.


#9

I'm a keypad user, so I can tackle these questions:

Yep, so long as it's a supported keypad. Check the forum because some work better than others.

Yes this is configured within HSM itself and it in turn configures the keypad. As long as the keypad supports an entrance/exit delay HSM will set it on the keypad for you.

As long as the keypad supports it, yes. I have the Iris V2 keypads and all of the above features work for me.

Yes: HE has a Lock Code Manager app built in that lets you manage lock codes for both locks and keypads. I have 6 locks and 4 keypads on my home, so LCM is a life saver for me when it comes to managing codes. I also have Rules set up to notify me anytime someone unlocks a lock or disarms a keypad it sends me a Pushover notification alerting me about which lock or keypad was disarmed and which user unlocked/disarmed it.

-Jeremy


#10

To to add to the VPN question...I have a synology NAS which I've been using for years for plex and I've setup synology VPN plus, which has an app that makes connecting to home safely and securely very simple and it's free if you already have a NAS running.


#11

Wow. Thanks so much for all the responses! This is sounding more and more like this is the right system for me.

So to make sure I understand, without a VPN, I can't change admin type settings away from home but I can turn on and off the alarm, unlock a door, change the thermostat, etc.? Or what is considered admin control vs general user? For example, if a contractor comes over while I'm at work, will I need a VPN to turn off the alarm and unlock the door?

Also, I have an external garage so connectivity has always been an issue (except for the gen 3 Iris hub that had extended range). I've ready somewhere that you can setup a 2nd Hubitat hub somewhere else (I would use internet over power plugs to reach the garage which I've done with ethernet connected cameras and has worked well), so how will that work? Can you just add an additional hub to your account and it just works?


#12

You can click buttons on a Dashboard remotely = user

Adding buttons, adding functionality behind a button = admin

Joining/pairing devices and excluding/removing devices = admin

Upgrading the OS = admin

So as long as you've built a button or set of arm/disarm buttons for your Contractor before you leave, you can press them from anywhere. If you didn't setup some buttons first, then Yes, VPN will do the job.


#13

More or less, yes.
You can add Hubs to your account. But it will work just like your first one.. as an individual hub.

Hubitat has a pair of Apps: Link to Hub and Hub Link that facilitates interconnecting Hubs.

In other words, if you buy a 2nd hub on your account to use for automating your parents home, then a second individual hub is ideal. If you buy a 2nd hub to link to your first, install the apps to facilitate that.

https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=Link_to_Hub

Just be aware that Link to hub does not send EVERYTHING from one hub to the other. (For bi-directional, you'd install the same apps a 2nd time in the opposite direction.)


#14

I believe this means you could make different Dashboards for different people (or roles) and give them a Dashboard that only exposes the things you would want them to be able to do . . . Is that correct?

If so, pretty powerful.


#15

Every Dashboard has a Cloud link (URL) as well as a Local link (URL)

Dashboards have tiles that navigate you to another Dashboard. But you certainly don't have to provide navigation. You can have standalone dashboards. However, decoding the underlying naviigation isn't that hard. Dashboards can be PIN protected.

https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=Hubitat™_Dashboard#Advanced_Options


#16

As a soon-to-be orphaned Iris user, I like this design after these clear explanations. It was frustrating when Iris tried to run everything from the phone app in v2, but lucky for us, a creative user build his own version of the portal until the Iris team introduced a web portal again.

I may be getting old, but I'm not obsolete yet. I prefer doing things that require focus and attention from the wonderful screen real estate offered by multiple monitors, so I like the idea of admin being local only.

And VPN would not be difficult to configure if really needed at some point.


#17

OpenVPN should be on everyone's list. Initial setup is technical. But using it is just too simple. Once the client works that first time, it's literally just the one click/tap and usually 2seconds later it's indicating the connection has been made. Too nice. :slight_smile:


#18

Totally agree. I get too frustrated trying to do things on the phone - I can't see and everything I type gets messed up. I prefer the 24 inch monitor and "real" keyboard . . .


#19

I guess I should add:

Enjoying the fruits of your admin labor = user

:slight_smile:

It's been said elsewhere.. there seems to be two 'levels' of Home Automation. Controlled and Automated

I think a lot of people, perhaps most, begin this journey expecting only "Control" of the home. They whip out the phone, tablet or go to the wall mounted tablet and control their home. This is the target of Amazon, and Google and all the "works with" vendors. Automations are new enhancements and they are somewhat brute force tools.

Hubitat is in the Automated Home category in my opinion. How close it is TODAY to achieving that is certainly measured in every Topic on this forum, but that's OK for me. That Hubitat has set itself as wanting to achieve Automation is the the critical element. I have an Automated House.. what I have works well FOR ME. I'd not be against going further :smiley: :smiley: in fact it would be (is) hard for me to stop myself. :smiley:

Amazon and Google are not happy with me if they took the time to look. I have both of their products, never use them for anything related to Home Control... except when I have a guest over and then they get the full Tutorial.. which might explain why I have few guests.


#20

If you are up for it I would consider getting a Raspberry PI (or set up a vm, dedicate an old computer etc). You can use it for many things related to the HE also including a VPN (if your router does not support it), 3rd party apps etc. Very inexpensive and handy.