Alternative to Smartthings that doesn't need Internet? (Wife is temporarily confined to bed)

I am Quadriparetic, and as much as I love the flexibility and power of the SmartThings platform, I eventually had to face the fact that I require much more reliability, at least for the critical use cases, than it can currently provide. :disappointed_relieved:

Once I moved reliability to the top of my priority list, things got a lot simpler for me. I stopped trying to look for a system that was comparable to smartthings, and I just looked for something that would reliably turn the lights on and off every day. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but I do expect an MFOP (maintenance free operating period) of at least six months and preferably 12.

I think the hubitat offering is very interesting, and as something which runs entirely locally, it is intrinsically more reliable than SmartThings, but right now it’s in a rapid development phase which is similar to an advanced beta. They say as much in their terms of use.

Customer acknowledges that the Hubitat Platform is under continuous development, is not complete or otherwise at the final stage of development and that Hubitat makes no representation that the Hubitat Platform is error or bug free. Customer acknowledges and agrees that the Hubitat Platform may experience unscheduled downtime and agrees that Hubitat shall not be liable for any harm resulting from unscheduled downtime.

Consequently, I could not currently recommend it for someone who is bedridden and is seeking stability as a top priority right now.

Instead, I would suggest one of the following two options, both are pretty low cost, and you can keep the smartthings system you have now can and just add this in for your critical use cases.

  1. if you have an iPhone, Apple’s HomeKit with the Phillips hue bridge for table lamps. If you want light switches, you can add Lutron Caseta switches. I personally also use Amazon Alexa devices as my primary voice control, so I choose devices which work with both Alexa and HomeKit. ( it’s even better if you wear an Apple Watch.)

This has a very simple rules engine when compared to SmartThings, but it’s solid, reliable, and runs everything locally except for the voice component, and you can get to Siri over a cellular connection if need be.

You can also add a fire TV stick which will give you excellent voice control of your Prime Video content on your television (or an Echo Show) when combined with the Alexa device. It doesn’t work with HomeKit, but for most people that won’t matter.

This is the setup I now suggest as a starting point for most people in wheelchairs or who are bedbound. The accessibility options, including for the app, are outstanding, reliability is excellent, and it will cover the basics and a little more

There’s a list in the community – created wiki here of devices that work with both smartthings and HomeKit if you’d like to look at that. There aren’t a lot of them, but there are some.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Devices_that_Work_with_HomeKit_and_SmartThings

  1. if you use android phones, and you were just looking for super simple but also reliable voice control of lights and television, an Amazon Alexa device with a Phillips hue Bridge and smart bulbs and a fire tv stick is a fast and relatively inexpensive way to get that. You can also set up some time based schedules, although only really simple ones.

Or bundled with the fire TV stick:

This is what I take if I’m going to stay in a hotel or with friends. It’s not in any way comparable, of course, to a smartthings system, but it’s easy and reliable. it’s a good temporary solution as well.

You can add Lutron Caseta light switches and the August 3 pro door lock or a Schlage smart door lock ( with their Wi-Fi adapter) if you want to start getting fancier. That doesn’t give you any more complex rules, it just covers some additional device classes.

(You do not need the “echo plus” Alexa device. Just a regular echo dot will work fine. At the present time the echo plus still has just a very very simple rules engine and doesn’t work with any sensors, so it’s not really adding anything. Maybe in the future.)

The biggest drawback of this second set up as opposed to the HomeKit one is that there really is no rules engine at all except for time based schedules and there are no sensors. And everything depends on the Internet being available. But the first option does require some iOS devices. If you already have those, great, but if you use android, then the second option may be a better fit for you.

Either of these two options can be set up in less than an hour to reliably voice control table lamps in several rooms (By an able-bodied person) and should easily hit the six-month MFOP target.

A note about Logitech Harmony for TV Control

I have and like the Logitech Harmony home hub, and it works fine and can control More devices, but at this point for someone who is starting from scratch and just wants basic voice control of the television, the fire TV stick is less expensive with more voice options. If you already have the Harmony device, or have good hand control and want the universal remote features as well, or want to also control devices like a sound bar or DVD player or a cable set top box, use Harmony instead. :sunglasses:

Back to Home automation

Anyway, those are the two options I’d consider looking at first. Either should work very well for a “temporarily bedbound” situation.

If you really want something much more robust as far as the rules engine, there are some other systems to look at, but they will all cost more, have more complex set ups, and you’re likely to run through at least a Week or so of instability while you get everything working.

Here’s a discussion thread. It’s old, but most of what’s in it still applies. HomeKit has added a lot of device classes since that thread was written, and there are a couple of new systems like hubitat and the Toshiba symbio that might be worth looking at for some people. But it’s a good place to start.

10 Likes