AS any of my regular readers will know I am a fan of real home automation and not just remote control of your connected home. Automation is what makes your connected home a smart home. over the years I have tried a lot of different home automation ecosystems, from Wink to Vera, Home Assistant to Fibaro and my current ecosystem SmartThings. All of these have their own way of handling automation and they all have there own strengths and weaknesses. SmartThings out of the box does not offer me much more than any other ecosystem but there is one thing that sets SmartThings above the rest and will most likely keep me a loyal user for a long time and that is webCoRE.
webCoRE is the”web Community’s own Rule Engine which is a general rule engine for SmartThings. It works by allowing users to create scripts that are interpreted and executed by the SmartThings SmartApp, allowing for complex decisions”. webCoRE is community developed for SmartThings and is one of the best rules engines I have ever used hands down. Using webCoRE you can automate until you are blue in the face and once you get the hang of how webCoRE functions the possibilities are endless.
Before we get too far into how much I love webCoRE lets talk a little about how webCoRE works and its terminology. In webCoRE you create pistons which are your rules. Basically, a rule is a complex if this than that statement that can incorporate multiple if’s, multiple that’s and variables. Pistons can be based on most any attribute for a given device or any variable that you define based off of a combination of attributes from physical, virtual or environmental data. This can sound like a lot but let me make it simple with an example; say you want to go to sleep and with that you want your home to turn off all the lights, lock your doors and change your thermostat to a sleep mode, well you can do this by creating an IFTTT applet for every action you want to take or you can do this by creating one Piston in webCoRE, which would you rather? I think it goes without saying that most would like to do this all in one Piston versus multiple applets. To make things even more complex however you can incorporate things like timers into your Pistons to take things even deeper. To continue with the goodnight example lets take a look at my own Goodnight Piston; When a Virtual Switch named Goodnight in SmartThings gets turned on after sunset, all of the lights in my home turn off, my hallway night light (which is a Phillips Hue Color Bulb) my Kitchen Cabinet Lighting (also Phillips Hue) both have their night light scene activated, my wife and I’s bedside lamps turn on, all my doors are lock and my garage doors (if opened) will close, next a ten minute timer starts and when that time is finished the night lights turn off and my Ecobee transitions into night mode, finally my Smart Home Monitor is Armed Stay, my location mode is set to sleep and the virtual Goodnight Switch is toggled off. Taking the timers out of the equation because you can not do those in IFTTT is would need to create thirty-eight IFTTT applets just to go to sleep.
I use webCoRE for all of my automation in SmartThings and some might say that I shouldn’t because it is cloud-based and will not run locally if the internet goes out. This is a valid statement but not something I am really concerned with. I am willing to make the sacrifice to have all of my automation cloud-based very simply because webCoRE has never failed me and has always performed better than say Smart Lighting (Samsung’s limited approach to automation in SmartThings). I never have to worry if an automation is not going to run as it should and the few times I have had issues, those issues were device related and had nothing to do with webCoRE.
I really am only scratching the surface of the power that webCoRE gives to SmartThings users. The limits of this power really are endless and if you can dream up something you want to automate (and have the equipment in place to do so) no matter how simple or complex you can. webCoRE does this all while still being approachable to users of various skill levels. While I will say that webCoRE does take some getting used to and some tinkering to really learn I totally believe that anyone can figure it out and use it to the benefit of there automated lives.
I know many of you are using webCoRE so please leave a comment below with some of your favorite Piston ideas.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.