A Day In the Life of a 'Smart' Things User

Apologies in advance for what might be a long post.

I want to like this system and platform - I REALLY do. I was at Samsung when Smart Things was acquired and I knew that V2 hub was in the works, so I waited. Note: I’m a former engineer, still pretty technical, and an early adopter (much to the chagrin of my family at times).

What I thought I was getting in Smart Things V2 was a relatively stable system that could be extended to do more than just the basics (turn off/on lights). What I got instead was one of the worst ‘Home Improvement’ projects I can remember.

I have 9 Multisensor Gen 5 sensors, 15+ GE dimmers/switches, and some Z-wave and Zigbee lights. In other words, I pretty much went all in on this for the house - a big mistake!

My ‘Home Automation’ day usually goes like this:

  1. Wake up, switch house from Night to Home mode
  2. Curse loudly when random automations (both ‘Smart’ Lighting and also Rule Machine) no longer fire like they’re supposed to in Home mode
  3. Manually kick all of my rules in Rule Machine to force re-evaluation (can’t do that in Smart Lighting, so removed it for all but the simple one-trigger cases that I don’t need to restrict to particular modes)
  4. Enjoy some amount of home automation bliss for part of the day
  5. Realize at 3:30 pm that some automations are not firing because the Multisensors aren’t sending data back to the hub
  6. Z-wave network repair (which doesn’t work)
  7. Reboot hub (which appears to stabilize things)
  8. Sit down to watch a little TV, try to run my ‘TV/Movie’ Routine - none of the lights that are supposed to turn off/dim do so
  9. Curse loudly and hope for the day when another company comes along that can take advantage of the Zigbee and Z-Wave infrastructure I’ve forked over good $$ for in my home

And, before anyone asks ‘have you contacted support’, please don’t make me laugh! ‘Live’ chat support is woefully understaffed - I’ve only ‘talked’ to someone once there, almost every time I try that route (even when they first open), I’m > #50 in the queue (which guarantees they won’t get back to me). As for emailing them… yeah, based on what I’m seeing in these community forums, I might as well go pound sand. :frowning:

From other parts of this forum (and my own experience), it’s clear to me that ST has serious stability and reliability issues in V2, and that ‘running locally’ is a frigging pipe dream, unless you want to use the buggy ‘Smart’ Lighting app. Where’s the ability to run other Smart Apps locally? I would think this would help with some of the rumored ‘Cloud overload’ that frequently gets tossed out as a potential cause of issues from Support.

Bottom line (for ST reps like @tslagle13 and @Ben) - please fix this horrific system before word gets around that this is currently nothing more than a ‘hobby’ platform that at best works to remotely turn lights on and off. I really want to like this platform.



Hey Guy,

I certainly don’t want to sound like I’m not believing you… I fully admit that there are stability issues with SmartThings. I do understand these and can completely agree that these have to be annoying as all get out, to say the least.

Whether I’ve been one of the lucky ones or where there’s just something about my setup that doesn’t cause the same issues… I dunno. For whatever reason I personally have experienced very few of the stability problems. So I guess in an effort to “report about the cat that didn’t get stuck in a tree,” here’s my typical day:

6:00 AM - Morning routine runs, SmartAlarm disarms.
7:00(ish) I use Alexa or my minimote to trigger my garage door open. After leaving my door closes automatically.
7:30(ish) I get a notification that my wife has left for work and she’s armed SmartAlarm.
3:30 PM I get a notification that my first kid is home and SmartAlarm has been disarmed.
4:30(ish) I get a notification that my wife has come home and her door automatically opens for her, the side door automatically unlocks.
5:30(ish) I come home, my garage door automatically opens, the side door unlocks.
Various times through out the evening – I turn on/off lights via Alexa
9:00 PM Various accent lights and/or outlets for radios turn on in my kids room as we start to shuffle them up to bed.
10:45 PM The outlet in my bedroom that I charge my phone on turns on.
11:00(ish) I run my custom smart app that checks status of doors and windows, alerts me if I’ve left any open, and runs the “Good Night” procedure in five minutes.
11:05(ish) My home goes into night mode, arming SmartAlarm
11 thru 12:00pm, various “power allowance” routines run shutting off things like my kids accent lights and/or radios and/or ceiling fans.

Of course there are other things that aren’t set to a strict schedule as well… things like regular power allowance on all my kids lights and outlets to make sure they didn’t leave 'em on for hours and hours or alerts if I’ve left a garage door open too long.

Generally all this works for me. Yes, to be sure there are times when hiccups happen. Probably about once every couple of weeks a SmartApp won’t fire the way it’s supposed, but for me these are rare.

Again, this isn’t to say that you are making things up. I don’t think that way AT ALL. I just want other to understand that while there are major issues here, there are also some people who have a pretty stable, reliable system. Everyone’s millage will vary of course, but for me… ST has been pretty stable.


I do understand your frustration. Ever since the V2 hub was released, there has been an uprising of infuriated posts here in the community. I’ve followed the community for about 6 months now (even though I actually joined like 3 months ago). I believe people were just expecting more from the Samsung acquisition and a more reliable V2 hub. Before, they were still a startup so people cut them some slack. Now, some are not that forgiving.

Anyways, at this point we all have theories of how to improve the setup. You want to check this discussion from Brian. Keep in mind these are just his thoughts and of other people in the community. There’s no official confirmation this actually works.

Thanks everyone for the comments so far.

I guess I want to reiterate that I’m not really ‘ranting,’ but just heavily disappointed in what is being ‘marketed’ here vs. the reality. As an early adopter, I certainly expect some amount of instability, but to have it in what I consider core features like modes (really the only easy way to have different actions happen depending upon state, other than Rule Machine) and Hello House routines is just unacceptable.

I’ve actually followed most of Brian’s advice in the post you mention - I have mostly standard device types (with the exception of Nest thermostat), and I use routines sparingly, and for fairly small actions. I also do use Smart Lighting for specific single-trigger cases, but even it suffers from the ‘won’t fire in Home mode after moving from Night to Home’ problem, leading me to believe this is a more systemic issue.

The only two non-official Smart Apps I use regularly are autoDimmer and Rule Machine, both of which work very well, though Rule Machine seems to be bitten by the ‘mode bug’ as well.

The reality here is that there seems to be a wide variety of experiences with the ST system, with most people like Brian advocating for a simple approach. However, the benefits of automation and sometimes more complex approaches are where the value is in this system going forward. The fact that I have to constantly wonder if events are going to fire makes the system more ‘hobbyist’ than production (at least for me) right now.

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Also, don’t even get me started on the Android app… it makes me want to throw my phone in the bullpen of ST engineers out of frustration…

The fact that it’s SO bad on a Samsung device (Galaxy S6 Edge) only adds to the irony…

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