Samsung's new SmartThings home automation hub is finally available

The hub, first promised for March, is available now in the U.S., and will go on sale in the U.K. on Sept. 10

Samsung-owned SmartThings has finally launched its new home hub along with new sensors and a new video monitoring capability.

The Samsung SmartThings Hub is available now in the U.S. and on Sept. 10 in the U.K. The hub costs US$99 with sensors ranging from $30 to $55. There are now more than 200 compatible devices.

The hub and connected sensors can be used to control the lights, thermostats and doors, and warn about things such as water leaks. It works with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios.

The Samsung SmartThings Hub has been redesigned to solve some of the reliability issues the predecessors suffered from. The redesign makes it possible to handle some tasks locally, meaning it can operate without an Internet connection.

Hardware improvements include a more powerful processor and a battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours in case of a power outage.

The processor will power a new video monitoring capability, which first will be available as a beta version.

Part of this expanded video push is the Smart Home Monitor service. It lets users watch over and protect their home from anywhere in the world, according to Alex Hawkinson, CEO and founder of SmartThings.

“You’ll get a text, alert or video notification if there is smoke or anything else happens in your home. So you can act before it turns into a disaster,” Hawkinson said.

A buffering feature lets the recording to start prior to the triggering event so users can see what caused the incident.

Samsung also showed a revamped SmartThings app. Users can now directly organize and control devices by room, and customize actions to occur automatically based on preset routines, according to Samsung.

The development of the hub hasn’t always been easy. SmartThings, which was acquired by Samsung in August last year, said in March it needed more time and had to push the launch of the hub from the second to the third quarter.

But the hub and the sensors are now available for purchase on shop.smartthings.com and Samsung.com and will be rolling out on Amazon.com and retail stores across the U.S. In the U.K the products will be available at select Currys PC World stores and online at Samsung.com. Next year they will become available in more European countries, as well.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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