Nov 212014
 

SmartThings does a lot of things well, but their main failing has been support for larger screens. If you have a tablet, you can run the phone interface, but it doesn’t take advantage of the larger format. For use on my desktop computer I installed an Android emulator to have access to the app on my computer without a phone. SmartThings really needs a larger interface, especially if you have a lot of devices.

I ran across a really cool project on the SmartThings community forums about a home automation dashboard for larger interfaces like computer/tablet screens. I finally got around to trying it out and I’m happy to report it is working really well and was relatively easy to setup.

FlorianZ posted the code for the home automation dashboard as well as some excellent instructions on how to get it running for other users. This is a relatively complex task, but if you are at all familiar with HTML and simple command line instructions, you should be able to figure it out due to the comprehensive documentation. A good overview of the project from the creator:

The interface consists of a Dashing installation running on a free Heroku instance. Dashing is a really cool dashboard framework. What I love most about it is how minimalist, yet customizable it is. It’s just a few hundred lines of code on top of some widely adopted web technologies, including Sinatra, Batman.js, Gridsterand Sprockets. You can easily create new backend services using Ruby, and frontend widgets using CoffeeScript, SASS and HTML.

The following screen shot is what my dashboard looks like after some configuration and customization to my devices and settings:

Home Automation Dashboard

The dashboard does a great job of giving you a lot of information at a glance, but it is also interactive as the switches can be turned off and on from the interface. The full thread on the SmartThings forum is a worth a read, as the next step for many has been to take the dashboard and connect it with a motion activated & wall mounted tablet for a pretty slick presentation. Sounds like a good future project…