Arlo Assistant

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Arlo Assistant allows you a method to control your Arlo devices integrated with Smartthings with Smartthings triggers.

We have also set out to help another issue that has creeped up recently. Arlo Pilot was recently disabled in Smartthings. This app will also allow you the ability to create Arlo Assistant modes that are intended to help emulate the rule engine in the Arlo Cloud, but be integrated with Smartthings conditions.

What are the differences

There are a few methods for controlling your arlo devices with smartthings.

The most obvious option is to do it simply from the Arlo cloud or mobile app. This provides allot of control and allows the use of modes. Depending on your Arlo devices there are allot of potential options for how to create modes for your devices to interact. The problem is that these modes are not really presented to anything outside of the Arlo Cloud and as such can not be controlled from anywhere other then the Website or the Arlo mobile app on your phone.

Then there are some integrated controls in the official Arlo Connect Smartthings integration. These controls range from simply turning the cameras on and off like a switch to things such as changing orientation, or turning on and off Night-vision. Unfortunately they also tend to create some unexpected results. Largely centered around turning off recording and turning on notifications. There are a few big things missing from this integration which are controlling or submitting recordings and managing notifications.

The solution for many folks was to use a smartapp called ArloPilot. That smartapp allowed smartthings users the ability to have Smartthings make a webcall to the Arlo cloud to change to different modes based on smartthings activity. These were limited to Smartthings Mode, SHM Alarm State, or a virtual Switch.

Unfortunately though ArloPilot was identified as putting allot of strain on the Official Arlo integration system. Based on that belief ArloPilot was disabled by smartthings from working.

Now we have Arlo Assistant. It's purpose is simply we want to try to bring Arlo Modes from the Arlo Cloud and build them in Smartthings. This creates a kind of psuedo Arlo Mode. What Arlo Assistant does is simple. It allows you to define what makes up the mode, what triggers it, and then what actions it will do based on the mode. This is the basic method of how the Arlo Cloud also manages actions except for the mode will be define by things such as Smartthings Mode, SHM Alarm State, or a virtual Switch. The idea here being we are combining the defining triggers for arlo pilot with the actions that Arlo would manage. The trigger of items are pretty much anything that can be part of an event in Smartthings. The action that Arlo Assistant can trigger are Recording clips from 5-120 seconds, Send out notifications via SMS or Push, and trigger an alarm.

So the differences are simply

Arlo Cloud = Good rule engine, but only based on Arlo devices, but can see all of them.

Arlo Connect Smartthings integration = no mode based controls, doe not have native way to trigger recording, or manage notifications.

Arlo Pilot = Give you the ability to trigger a Arlo mode in the Arlo Cloud based on a few Smartthings conditions.

Arlo Assistant = Define Arlo modes in smartthings based on Smartthings conditions. Allows all of smarthings devices to be used as triggers. Can only see Arlo devices integrated into smartthings.

How do you get Arlo Assistant

You can get Arlo Assistant two ways.

You can link your Smartthings IDE Account to:

Owner: Mavrrick
Name: ArloAssistant
Branch: master

Download the Arlo Assistant Parent app and publish to your IDE account. Download the remaining child apps to your IDE.(You do not need to publish them).

You can also go to [1] and install the parent app and the 2 child apps

How to setup Arlo Assistant

First thing to understand is there is no one way to set it up. It is really about what you want to do and how you want to integrate between Smartthings and Arlo. For the purpose of creating good steps to setup the below direction will create a environment that will centralize all control in the Smartthings cloud using Arlo Assistant.

Prepare the Arlo devices in Arlo Cloud

All of the devices need to be setup on and made available in the Arlo cloud. I choose to simply use the Arlo Mode created by Smartthings when setting up the Arlo Connect integration. This will vary based on the cameras you have.

Smartthings Mode setup Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus cameras

You will go into the Arlo Cloud and open up the Smarthings mode for editing. Once in there ensure Motion and Audio are selected for the "If The Following" section. Select the option to "Do Nothing" in the "Then do the following" section. The last section for "And to the following" is for notifications. Unfortunately the Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plush require a notification setup if do nothing is selected for the camera action. in my case I removed my email address and simply added a dummy email.

Smartthings Mode setup Arlo wireless cameras (Arlo Wire free, Pro, Pro2)

You will go into the Arlo Cloud and open up the Smarthings mode for editing on your Arlo Base station. You will want to ensure a rule is present for each camera on the base station. On each rule ensure Motion and Audio are selected for the "If The Following" section. select the option to "Do Nothing" in the "Then do the following" section. Make sure all options are unchecked in the last section for notifications.

This should get your cameras in a state where the are all active and simply waiting for Smartthings to tell them what to do when.

Setup Modes in Arlo Assistant

Brief discussion about disarmed

Arlo Assitant Modes are essentially just criteria in Smartthings that indicate what has to be the present state for something to happen. This is a little bit different then Arlo Pilot which triggered changes in Arlo based on a even happening. This is a important aspect to understand when you think about what disarmed means. If you just simply want to have a state where nothing happens that means during that condition you would not want anything configured in Arlo Assistant.

How to create Arlo Assistant Modes

The modes are defined in the Arlo Assistant Mode Management section of Arlo Assistant. The below steps will discuss what how you would go about creating the criteria.

  1. Open up Arlo Assistant in Smartthings. Click on the section labeled "Arlo Assistant Mode Management"
  2. Click in the lower section where you see "Create Arlo Smartthings Integration Mode"
  3. First provide a descriptive name for the mode you are creating. I used the defining criteria and the camera in mysetup so for instance "ADT Armed/Stay GreatRoom Camera"
  4. Now click on the option for "Define Criteria for Arlo Assistant Mode"
  5. This section allows you to define what conditions have to be present for that mode to be active. The options are Smartthings Mode, Smart Home Monitor Alarm status, ADT Alarm Status, Day and time criteria, a virtual switch, or a general rule that always applies. Currently Smartthings Mode and the Alarm states can be used together. All the others operate separately. Once you setup the criteria that make up the mode click on "Next" in the upper right corner"
  6. You will be brought back to the previous page. Now You want to select if you want any cameras to activate of deactivate in this mode. This can be useful if you have cameras that you want to conserve battery power on.
  7. Now scroll down a little bit and enter a number for the quantity of rule sets you will be using. A ruleset will be what defines the combination of used triggers and actions that take place. This allows you to create up to 5 sets of rules for the defined mode.
  8. Now scroll down and select the option for "Define Rules sets for Mode". This will take you to a new menu that will allow you to define all of the criteria for the ruleset or sets you are setting up. The more rule sets you have the more options will be available to configure. When all values you want to define are configured, click on "Next" in the upper right corner.
  9. Click on Save

Known issues

Arlo Pro Base Station goes offline

I have had several occurrences of the Base Station going offline. After some troubleshooting I found that turning off the external USB drive for local storage has corrected the issue.

Arlo Mode doesn't appear to be working

Each time the Arlo Mode is modified it will go into a default state waiting to be activated. If you are already in that state it will not automatically change. Simply run the change that will trigger the mode and it should start to function. A example of this is if you had a mode defined that worked from the Alarm being disarmed. If you setup the mode while the alarm is disarmed you would need to simply arm the alarm and then disarm to activate the mode.