I spent a long time picking a home automation technology, and settled on ST because it was universal. So I just bought my 4th hub. But I only have 2 locations. One v1 hub is working fine at my office, handling motion sensors, and my datacenter HVAC thermostats. That is stable, and generally works.
At home I started with v1, and went to v2 because it had some local modes of operation, so I could turn the lights on and off locally when the Internet is down… at least that was what I hoped to get. The reality is that only works for remotes, and the only remotes I can find at a reasonable price are units with too few buttons to be useful. So my v2 is doing nothing my v1 wasn’t already doing. Worse, both v1 and v2 can’t reliably host zigbee. My v1 would just drop all of my zigbee bulbs every 2 months or so. My v2 is better, it can drop random bulbs every day, I’n re-pairing bulbs to the hub all the time. So I bought my 4th hub, thinking that perhaps my zigbee radio is dying. So as I was planning my migration from my v2 hub to a new v2 hub, I decided to analyze what protocols I use, and I found I was only using 2, and one of them was wifi and the ST integration was for convenience only, everything else in my house is zigbee, and zigbee hubs don’t have any of the cloud weaknesses ST has, and in general I hear that they are quote easy to debug because they expose more of the zigbee status, net-mapping, and other features, and support slave hubs when range is an issue.
The point is simple, I was here because a universal hub appealed to me. Years later I realize I don’t need a universal hub, the cloud integration makes the hub unreliable when you need it the most, and the devices that are not zigbee based don’t provide any value that justifies the problems ST has with zigbee.
AND if you look at how much I have spent on ST hubs for my home, a more expensive zigbee hub would have been cheaper.
If there was a ST software releast tomorrow that added in all of the traditional zigbee utility present on other zigbee hubs, I would pause here and reconsider… But that isn’t likely to happen. Zigbee has been a problem since I started using it, and the ST team has made no announcements of ever planning proper zigbee support. They could do it, but they don’t seem to care. So I have come to the conclusion that ST is a nice automation toy, but it is not a real tool, and the features that made it my preferred hub were either unfulfilled promises, or meaningless marketing hype. What will be in the v3? Will it have a real zigbee hub? Will it have real local control? Will it work when the ST cloud is having problems? There is a growing number of automation hubs that do zigbee right, I don’t care about zwave, my wifi devices have superior apps that do local control, and my integrated devices I have integrated locally without the ST cloud. So I made a huge error in picking ST. And I made that error over and over it seems.
I’ve been building automated IoT devices since 1987. I’m a pretty smart guy, and I made an error picking Smartthings. It is a cool product, and seems to hit all of the industry buzzwords. But is it the right product? I’m going to have to admit I made an error in judgement with this one.
It is like the difference between a cheap stereo system that has everything integrated into one box, and the expensive component system where everything is stand-alone, but together sound incredible. ST is the cheap all-in-one-box stereo system that does nothing good beyond packaging. To all of my friends that bought ST on my recommendation, I apologize.