I hear this a lot, but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Price is not an indicator per se of reliability in home electronics. As I’ve said before, you can walk into almost any pharmacy in the United States and buy a $15 smoke alarm and expect it to be extremely reliable – – because no one would buy one that wasn’t.
There are now a number of home automation products in the same price range which easily hit a 6 month MFOP ( maintenance free operating period), something SmartThings has yet to achieve.
The difference isn’t the price. It’s the corporate design philosophy.
The more stable systems in the low price range either offer fewer features, fewer device choices, or a less frequent change schedule than SmartThings.
All the systems are evolving, and all of them have responded to competitive pressure. Forums like this one sometimes get a skewed picture of competing products because people who had one and left due to missing features may be unaware of upgrades in that area made since they abandoned the product. (Just to give two examples, wink is now one of the most reliable low end systems, and Homeseer has added more third-party cloud integrations, including IFTTT.)
The new SmartThings/ADT security panel is a similar response to competitive pressure, and incorporates a completely different local architecture for the alarm portion, including a different network protocol. I feel pretty confident that the ADT portion of it will have higher reliability than the non-ADT devices, again, just because ADT wouldn’t put their brand on it if it didn’t.
But while I disagree that price defines the likely stability of a home automation system, I do agree that if the system you bought isn’t working for you, the best alternative may just be to move on to another one that is a better fit for your particular needs and preferences.
As I mentioned before, in 2016 I made the decision that I was going to look at home automation equipment the same way I look at mobile communications: where I have a per month budget and an expected replacement for any one device of about three years. Because the technology is changing all the time, and there may be new features or designs that I want to have that aren’t available with my old equipment. And because the companies themselves change direction.
This was a big shift for me. Originally, I had assumed that home automation would be like home-improvement, with an expected life of any one. project of 10 to 15 years. But because this is rapidly developing technology, it just isn’t the same as putting in a new sink or new carpet. Very few people would’ve predicted in 2014 that voice assistants would become a primary feature of Home automation, but here we are.
Looking at a light switch and assuming that I may want to replace it in three years does change my shopping process significantly. But I also feel more confident in my choices, and less trapped if something that changes has a negative impact on me.
And that way I can keep looking at cool new stuff without feeling disappointed by the choices I already made. (Ooooh, shiny!)