Review: SmartTiles Puts Whole House SmartThings Dashboard on Your Tablet
Part of the big attraction of Samsung’s SmartThings system is its ability to work with an extensive range of hardware. But the more kit linked to your system, the more cluttered and inefficient the app can feel.
SmartTiles is a a web client for SmartThings that started out life as an open source project called ActiON Dashboard.
Now closed-source, it provides an exciting way for ST’s owners to control their home.
With just a few clicks on your smartphone, SmartTiles creates an incredibly professional looking (Windows Phone stylie) control panel for your home.
Once the SmartTiles Smart App is installed and setup on your SmartThings system (that’s a lot of smart stuff) you can copy the special URL and save this to your phone’s home screen.
When you launch it in Safari on iOS or Chrome on an Android device the dashboard launches as a full screen native app (without tool bars). Paste it into your desktop browser and you’ve got control from your laptop too. There are a several built-in themes to choose from and you can use your own custom CSS if you prefer.
What Can You Control?
You can control your entire setup from the dash, dim your lights, set your thermostat, control your locks, even your Sonos. In addition you can view information like the presence of your family members as well as additional sensor info like the battery status of all your devices.
You can view your cctv cameras too. The system natively supports Nest / Dropcam and we were able to add our Lilin LR7424 using the MJPEG option with this URL
SmartTiles allows you to create tiles to link to other website (local news perhaps) as well as links to other dashboards. You can adjust the size of tiles and show the ‘mode’ the house is in (Home, Away etc).
Currently theres no way to give a users of the official SmartThings app a subset of devices to control. But with SmartTiles you can give each child (for example) a dashboard that allows them to control lights in their own room, but not their siblings #PeaceKeepingTech.
You can also create tiles to launch other apps on iOS, you can jump to the Sonos app for example using this URL.
iOS9 now has that handy back link on the top left of the screen that takes you from the app back your SmartTiles panel.
Wall Mounted Examples
What will excite many people most about SmartTiles is the option of using it as a wall mounted controller. Decent cheap Android tablets are plentiful and providing you can find some suitable wall mounting hardware and get power to it for charging, you can create a wall-mounted whole-house dashboard control panel. Here are some examples from SmartThings forum members bbadalucco, Varun_Patel, erocm1231 and Macadoodle.
The developers say the system runs entirely in Samsung’s Cloud and has no dependency on any third party services. In addition they say no user data leaves the SmartThings Cloud and the Dashboard is transmitted using SSL. For extra security you can remove the access token from your dashboard URL and enter your SmartThings account details each time you use it, and you can revoke access at any time too.
For its ease of setup and fantastic looking UI alone, SmartTiles gets our vote. It’s free for private use (make sure to donate if you like it) making it a total no brainer. So if you have a SmartThings system run, don’t walk, and install it now.