Brilliant Control - Claims It Will Work with SmartThings (But limited Integration)

Mine is expected to arrive today as well. I have an order in for a 2 switch also that did not ship yet. However, my one switch will need to wait for my 2 switch to arrive, because the room it will go into has a 3-way circuit (unless I want to cheat and tie off the other switch while I wait). Really hoping these devices meet my pretty high expectations. I will look forward to your review here!

Edit: Per the Brilliant web page the 2 switch ships this week (for new orders I guess). My order has been in for about 3 weeks so keeping my fingers crossed that is ships any day.

Edit 2:. It’s in my hands. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to hook it up.

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Just spent the better part of the afternoon setting up my Brilliant.

TLDR; fantastic polished hardware, super clean and professional feel to the GUI, the software and mobile app still have some oddities and significant room for improvement, and setup is somewhat arduous and non-intuitive. They can control ST devices, but ST CANNOT control loads attached to them. Hopefully @gaurav_brilliant is listening and we can see some refinements sooner rather than later. I have high hopes for the future of this device and hope they flourish (or get acquired by a company that furthers their development). With a few improvements, I could see myself buying 4 or more of these. Now the details…

I purchased a 1-gang unit (screen only) to replace an aging Enerwave 7-button scene controller, that I have been using since the 2015 heyday of ST. In this application I do NOT have an on/off load at this gangbox, so the limitation of not being able to be controlled by ST was not a deal breaker for me. For every other application, the fact that it can’t be controlled by ST is the one deal breaker that the device has for most ST users. Hopefully they publish a device driver soon, as without being able to be controlled by ST, I can’t see adoption by this or any other HA community. What they should have done is also include a Z-Wave radio, so it could simply present itself as a Z-Wave dimmer to any controller. With the current hardware an API based device driver will need to be written (not hard).

Hardware: Like they say, hardware is hard, and this device exceeded my expectations. Installation is a cinch, and it is less deep than most Z-Wave dimmers, fitting easily into a tiny gangbox in my 1940s house. It looks clean, and polished, and fit perfectly flush against my wall. If you do have a load attached, there is a manual button behind the screen to test or turn off the load for servicing. If your load is a Hue or other smart bulbs, you can set the load to be ‘always on’ and still preserve the ability to manually turn the load off for servicing. Without the ability to control the load via ST, I would say it is a must to either have no load or only smart bulbs attached for now. What is great, is that even if you don’t have a load directly attached, you can set the on/off/dim gesture to control any integrated device. So just as I had the Enerwave control a Z-Wave light switch, I can swipe up and down on the Brilliant to control the same light switch. Areas of hardware improvement:

  1. A screw to lock the faceplate to the base.
  2. An adapter to install a 1-gang (screen only) unit into a 2-or-3-gangbox. The use case here is rooms with ceiling fans. I’d buy one tomorrow for my living room and bedroom, but both have 2-gang gangboxes, with a dimmer for the lights and a 3-speed fan controller. Since it can’t control a fan, there needs to be a way to install it into a gangbox with an existing switch.
  3. Ambient light sensor. I hope this is just a software issue, as there appears to be multiple sensors next to the camera, but as of now the screen will not dim with ambient light.
  4. In addition to the “always on” setting for a smart bulb load connected, there should be a “no load” setting for people that don’t have a load attached to the switch, to remove the phantom light from the GUI.
  5. Digitizer. While not bad, and not expecting iPhone responsiveness, I feel my ecobee tracks my finger significantly better, especially when having to use the keyboard.

Setup and the Mobile App: Setup is somewhat painful, and is completely done through the wall panel, which is why this is a critique of the mobile app as well. The only setup activity done through the app is uploading wallpaper photos. The rest of the mobile app is just for control of whatever devices you setup on the wall panel. Totally useless, as anyone that has a smart home already has multiple ways to control their devices. I would scrap the mobile app and rebuild it from the ground up with a focus on managing the wall panels…

In my application I connected the unit to ST, Sonos, ecobee, and Ring. I’ll get into each of those integrations later. Setup is done totally though the wall panel. For a small screen, the keyboard is clean and functional. The digitizer could be better, hopefully this is just a driver fix and not cheap/poor hardware. That being said, all of the setup and authentication to other services has to be done on the wall unit. Get ready to type your email and password onto a tiny screen a million times. I hope that adding new units isn’t this painful, and hopefully you can copy the settings of an existing device. I also hope all settings are backedup in their cloud in case a device needs to be replaced. After you get past the basic setup, other setup activities are all over the place and disjointed. It’s so disjointed and non-intuitive, it is hard to explain. You connect to Alexa under Settings. You connect to ST under Home. You can only add/edit Rooms in some screens, but not in others, etc. I think a large part of this is setting up a device like this in a home with a lot of HA devices is complex and should be done through a web or mobile app with more GUI flexibility.

Recommendations:

  1. Remove and transfer all setup activities from the wall panel to the mobile app or a web app. It’s too hard to have a clean setup workflow in a wall panel. Take a look at how Amazon does smart home management in the Alexa app,
  2. Barring that;
    • “Partner Integrations” in setup should include all integrations, not just Alexa
    • Setup should have sections to manage Rooms and Devices
  3. Rooms and Devices need to be able to be sorted and/or arranged
  4. Set up lock. All setup activities should be able to be locked. It is much too easy for a non-admin to accidentally screw things up. Ideally there would be a setup mode that you shutoff, then PIN lock all setup functions, so they don’t even show up. Or, as suggested above, move all setup functions to the mobile app.

General Software / GUI: Very clean and professional looking. Really just some minor improvements:

  1. Ability to pin and arrange devices or scenes to the wallpaper screen. Also would be a great place to put a weather applet.
  2. Ability to pin and arrange additional devices (with on/off status shown) or scenes to the home screen. Multiple swipe through home screens would be useful as well.
  3. Auto-brightness based on ambient light is a must
  4. Additional timeouts for the screen (i.e. 1 and 2 minutes)
  5. More control over gestures. Allow the two-finger gesture to be defined to control specific devices, not just the room the device is in. Add a three-finger gesture!
  6. Allow the all on / all off scenes to be deleted. If you have fully equipped smart home, these scenes are liabilities and easily triggered. Pissed off the GF by accidentally turning all the lights on after bedtime.
  7. Allow the bottom tool bar to be customized.

Integrations:

SmartThings - Can only control lights and locks. Can’t be controlled by ST. Please allow fans to be controlled. As mentioned above, you can still set the on/off/dim gesture to control any integrated light, it doesn’t have to be a directly connected load.

Ring - Camera view pops up on doorbell ring, but no way to manually view. Please add a way to activate the camera from the unit.

ecobee - Works. Nuff said. Would be nice to be able to show temp or pin a thermostat to the wallpaper screen.

Sonos - Works great. Artwork looks amazing. Would be nice to be able to control groupings. And an option to stay on the music screen if playing instead of returning to the wallpaper screen and timing out.

Alexa - Works. Nuff said.

Built-in Intercom - Only have one unit, so couldn’t test. Should hide from the tool bar in this application.

That’s all for now. Let me know if you guys have any questions. @gaurav_brilliant if there is a channel to beta test new features (improvements mentioned above), sign me up.

I should also say for the power tinkerers amongst us, you can enable an SSH shell to the device in Sertings. Depending on the architecture this should allow a lot of customizing! I haven’t played with it yet, but hopefully it has a clean architecture that just pulls from XML or JSON configuration files, and many of the customizations I’m looking for could be home brewed if needed.

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I am curious. I know we cannot control the loads attached to the Brilliant from the SmartThings hub, however the Brilliant can control other ST devices.

That said, because Alexa is built in to Brilliant, would a work-around be an Alexa skill or routine that would allow us to control the loads attached to the Brilliant through Alexa? And if we can do that, cant we trigger that load somehow from ST via Alexa?

Perhaps this is not artfully said, but you get the idea I hope.

Your correct in that it can be controlled through Alexa. But I know of no way for ST to control Alexa. It seems pretty trivial for them to publish a device driver for ST. Hopefully it shouldn’t be too long. @gaurav_brilliant any comment? I think you guys are missing a ton of early adopter sales on this one, easy to fix, show stopper.

Hi Chris,

Thanks so much for your feedback! We are listening, so keep posting your thoughts. :slight_smile:

Here are some answers to the feedback you provided:

  • We are also thinking about how to make the setup process easier for the home and for each control that is added. Currently, if you were to add another control in your home, we do automatically discover the second control through Bluetooth and pull home configuration settings for your convenience.
  • We will be adding the ability to have a home passcode and to lock certain aspects of your home and device settings using this passcode very soon. We understand that home owners will want device and home settings locked from non-admins.
  • Many of the Sofware updates you have mentioned in regards to the GUI are items we are considering. Stay tuned for more formalized updates.
  • Regarding allowing your Brilliant to be controlled via SmartThings, we are working with the SmartThings team to determine the best time to do this given upcoming changes in their API. We’re sorry for the inconvenience here.

For the other pieces of feedback you provided, I am taking this back for more discussion with the team. Thanks again!

If you are interested in becoming part of our beta program, please fill out this quick form: https://goo.gl/forms/JxJEP3HDDyXkJd5x2

We will reach out to you after we review and expand our beta program.

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I am really happy to see the representative of Brilliant here on the forum. I was a bit embarrassed to say this on my post above, but in addition to the two switch I also have two three switches on order for a different area of the house. Suffice to say I am all in. Full SmartThings integration will be greatly appreciated. I am going to fill out the beta form. it would be great to see any form of temporary SmartThings integration in the meantime for us early adopters.

Anyway while that is happening above, I came across this thread. I am not giving up on a workaround to control the brilliant load through an Alexa skill triggered by SmartThings:

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One thing to note here is that ST has been notoriously slow at adding official integrations / device types. You could always publish device type code for the community to use while you work out the official integration with ST. Many other hardware vendors have gone this route.

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When you get the two switch, can you let us know if the sliders can each be programmed to control integrated devices that aren’t directly connected? And also, what happens or is there a screen gesture? I have one other 2-gang spot where I could get away without directly a connected load as long as I can put both those sliders to use on ST devices.

Sure. It would be my pleasure

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@gaurav_brilliant any promo codes for us early adopters that want to purchase some more?

So I just received my 2 new Brilliant 2 gang switches and spent a few hours getting them installed. Frustratingly (and very much hoping to be corrected and turn out wrong here) - I can’t get the switch or the touch sliders to assign themselves to control more than ONE HUE BULB at a time.

Their ‘integration’ with Hue seems to be the following - integrate with Hue, find the Hue bridge, hit the button on the bridge, and then the Brilliant switch returns a list of DEVICES (bulbs ONLY) found on the bridge, for you to then control with the switch. Ok, frustrating, wish it would use the full API and like Alexa and MANY OTHER integrations, return ROOMS as well, but surely there is a workaround to control several bulbs at once, right?

Nope. Even a call to tech support left the 3rd country support (maybe because it was a weekend?) stumped and unable to help.

See, now after you’ve done the integration, you go to the slider to assign a room and then A device. Yes ONE DEVICE. Meaning ONE BULB. When you go to assign the device to the slider/switch, it returns the list of devices (HUE bulbs found on the bridge) but you can only select ONE AT A TIME. If you try to select another one, the previous one you selected deselects. So you can’t set 4 bulbs to be controlled by one switch.

WORTHLESS. Who on earth has a room with ONE bulb in it? I’m trying to use the switch to control using SMART CONTROLS (not the hard wired load line on/off control (which is how they tell you that you are supposed to control HUE, obviously), but controlling the 4 HUE bulbs in the ceiling of the bedroom with ONE Brilliant switch/slider. But I can only select one bulb at a time.

Seriously? Only other workaround seems to be going back to making the switch not be “always on” and instead a “load switch” like a regular light switch and then where the heck is the “smart switch”-ness of this? Might as well be a regular dumb light switch.

Seriously hoping someone isn’t explaining this right or something is missing in the very poor online guides.

Anyone else received one and trying to control their Hue SYSTEM (multiple bulbs, not one, lol) with Brilliant?

@gaurav_brilliant

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Brilliant allows you to control lights, on/off switches, and music volume (via Sonos) using Sliders, regardless of integration. It does not have to be your directly connected load.

Hi Brett,

Let me start off by apologizing for the experience you’ve had. We are working to add rooms / group support within the Philips Hue Integration. We understand the frustration you have described - please stay tuned for an update regarding timing here.

-Gaurav

The Hue rooms / group issue is a big deal. I am going to have the same problem. I have 3 Hue bulbs in the room where this will be installed. I will look forward to this update and I hope that some of the described updates are a matter of days or weeks and not months. Hue integration for groups seems like a pretty basic function.

I certainly get it that this is a new product and there will be initial software integration issues. Where the company can really shine is timely updates to address the issues - at least out to Beta folks that sign up. I hope this issue is addressed quickly. I am rooting for this product and company and hope it does great.

@gaurav_brilliant

Thanks for the quick response. Unfortunately, I’m just not willing to part with $700 on a promise of an update coming soon. This is a HUGE issue and pretty much a dealbreaker for me. You guys cannot, with a straight face, nor with no clarification on your website be selling this as a smart switch, advertising HUE integration, with literally only the ability to control ONE BULB.

MASSIVE RIDICULOUS UNFORGIVABLE SHORTCOMING! Every integration (even Alexa) sees rooms. The switch is worthless as a smart switch without the ability to control a room.

I invested hundreds in Plum on their promise of an update “coming soon” - months later, nothing, worthless switches, and no response from them. I’m not going that route again.

THIS WAS MASSIVELY MISLEADING advertising and unless your update is literally like a week away, you need to let people know you don’t really integrate with HUE.

Moreover, please give a REAL ETA (as best you can) - are we talking days, weeks, or months, or no idea?

Without this answer, I will be returning these this week and disputing the charges.

Please advise.

I couldn’t agree more. DEALBREAKER. I’m so frustrated I spent a day installing these only to find this extremely misleading short coming. They can’t honestly be trying to say they are a smart switch with HUE integration and can only control ONE BULB.

Sadly, I invested in many many PLUM switches with their promises of “it’s coming” and now they seem to be dead and gone with no responses. They looked reputable too, nice site, nice packaging, nice product.

NEVER UPDATED. Never controlled HUE like they promised. I’m not risking it again with Brilliant. Unless this update is almost immediate, they are going back and I’m calling American Express and disputing not as advertised.

They need to remove all advertising of HUE integration until this is fixed.

I too get your frustration. I say we give them a chance. This is so new it is only now they’re arriving. Seems like they know of the issues and lets give them 30 days for what should be a simple fix. Screaming “dealbreaker” won’t help too much in my opinion. We want them to succeed. Now, if we see no movement in a month we can reevaluate. Just my opinion and my plan. I ordered 5 of these. I’ll keep my packaging and receipts as well.

The two most glaring issues are this Hue issue and the ability to control loads connected to the Brilliant from SmartThings.

In the interim, if the Brilliant can control SmartThings devices, why not get a hub and control the Hue bulb group via SmartThings? This will be my interim workaround that I’ll try when they arrive. You can use the hub for other things too. Not a bad gadget to throw into your mix anyway.

Luckily these are upgradable. Looks like a great product - if - updates are timely. Just my $0.02.

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I appreciate your optimism, but no, sorry, I don’t have 30 days to HOPE they update. This might be your first gamble with smart switches. It’s our THIRD. We dove into Plum hook line and sinker, and just like now, we were flabergasted they didn’t actually do anything they claimed (gesture control, multi-HUE control, etc), and guess what? Just like now, they promised an update. Never came. Now how do I get a refund?

Saving receipts isn’t going to do much good after 30 days. Something like this needs to be returned soon after you get it. I’m not sinking another $700 into switches on the hope and prayer of a “coming update.”

It is a dealbreaker omission as far as we are concerned, and the fact that something so basic is left out of a first release is a pretty big deal. How do you advertise yourself as a smart switch to control LIGHTS but you can only control one BULB?

Your workaround to get a hub - ok, uhh, why did I invest $700 in smart switches to have to get another hub and jimmy rig it? Next, your suggestion is a nice workaround but as near as I can tell, the SmartThings integration doesn’t exist yet either, so how are you going to do that workaround?

Yes, of course they “look like they are upgradeable”. So did the Wink Relay (major company, major investment), so did the Plum (look at their website, looks as fancy as Brilliant - upgradeable.) THE KEY IS THE UPGRADES NEVER COME. If you can’t get this basic function working when you ship (it’s not hard to program the API to see rooms, a MILLION INTEGRATIONS WITH HUE SEE ROOMS!) - then they missed the boat big time.

I’d love to “give them a chance” but now after Wink Relay (never updated, never did what advertised), Plum switches (same), and now 3rd start up that can’t get a basic function right? I’m done waiting for promised updates. Returning within the next week for full refund if the update isn’t here within a week and I’ll buy them again when they work as they advertise now. This is a GLARING BIG OMISSION.

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Ok. I was only trying to help.

If I can give you one piece of advice, no ill intent or mean spirited at all, but I’d recommend you don’t be an early adopter to new devices.

Living on the bleeding edge will end up in getting cuts.

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