Iris Motion Sensor: Tiny SmartThings Sensors Everywhere

Web-connected motion sensors enable all kinds of useful applications beyond the old-school security use-case. They can be used for serious tasks uses such as remotely monitoring your aging loved one and logging activity in your home/office or fun home automation tasks like automatically turning on the lights when you enter a room. To be practical, a motion sensor needs to be affordable, small, and easy to install – qualities that have been lacking in most motion sensors on the market to-date. The Iris Motion Sensor (model 3326-L) makes some serious improvements in each of these areas and just might be your new favorite sensor.

Cost

The Iris motion sensor costs $30 on Amazon as of the date of this writeup. This makes it one of the most affordable ZigBee motion sensors on the market. Gone are the days of the $50 motion sensor.

Size

The first thing you will notice about the Iris motion sensor is its size. It is tiny compared to the other motion sensors coming in at 1.6″ x 0.9″ x 1.7″. This makes it much easier to place on a shelf, door frame, or indiscreet location without being an eyesore.

Comparing the size of the first and second generation SmartThings motion sensors with the Iris motion sensor shows how big of an advantage the Iris motion sensor has over its competition. One downside to the Iris motion sensor is a lack of included wall-mount hardware.

Installation

The Iris motion sensor is compatible with SmartThings making installation as simple as installing any SmartThings device. Simply place your SmartThings hub into discovery mode in your SmartThings app and pull the plastic tab on the sensor to connect the battery. Follow the prompts and your sensor is live.

Bonus Temperature Sensor Included

Not only do you get a motion sensor, but the Iris motion sensor also includes a built-in temperature sensor. This can come in quite handy for monitoring applications and makes the $30 price tag look even better.

Application – Whole House Monitoring

My application for the Iris motion sensor was to connect 10+ motion sensors spread throughout my house to a single dashboard for monitoring the activity in my house. This size and cost of this sensor made this project achievable within my budget. I used the SmartThings + Initial State integration to store and view the data from my sensor network (*disclaimer, I am a founder and CEO of Initial State). You can see my resulting dashboard above.

I can quickly see the activity inside my home in real-time and also go back through the history of how my home was used for any day in the past. My house is currently for sale, and this has been quite useful when showing our house to interested buyers. I can see how long they were in the house and what rooms they spent the most time looking at.

The temperature sensors give me a view of how evenly each room heats and cools. I recently had an HVAC problem upstairs and was alerted by one of my temperature sensors exceeding 80° F. This alerted me to the issue hours before I would have noticed myself (since I was at work) and saved me a full day of waiting for repair as I was able to call the repair company before they closed that day.

One feature built into this sensor is an LED flash when it detects motion. I could do without this since I am trying to blend this sensor into the room.

Conclusions

This little sensor is awesome. It is tiny, affordable, easy to install, has fantastic response times, and good range. The fact that it is SmartThings compatible made it super attractive to me since I already had a SmartThings hub. I highly recommend this sensor for anyone needing a ZigBee motion sensor.

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