Cloud Talk

An Indigo zwave/Insteon system can be set up on a used Mac Mini for about $600. Mature, and rock solid.


Every system has pluses and minuses. Indigo doesn’t support zwave locks and doesn’t support zigbee sensors. So it’s more stable, but with fewer devices supported.

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I used to use HomeSeer, It is reliable, but very expensive and requires a lot more knowledge. Which I have, but the cost is excessive comparative. Their entry unit is $200, and that’s without Zigbee and without IFTTT integration or Amazon Echo support. And without anything like SHM. (Okay, perhaps not having SHM is a major plus.) For real features and expansion, you need to step up to their $400 model and still add several hundred dollars of plug-ins and modules. Or buy their $250 software and add your own Z-Wave and ZigBee controllers.

They are also slow at delivering promised features. So consider:


  • Affordable
  • Easy enough to use
  • Expandable power via Groovy
  • Not particularly reliable
  • As I found, it’s really easy to zap your entire configuration, which cannot be backed up


  • Very expensive base cost
  • Every little add-on is also pricey
  • Expandable power via add-ons and quite a few languages
  • Reliable but hard to configure (and no cloud.)

Pick your poison. SmartThings has issues, but so does everyone else.


Community involvement / Dev ?

I see lack of cloud dependency as a plus, but is there reliable remote control for Homeseer?

Mine is supposed to arrive today. Looking forward to “fun” weekend migrating stuff. :wink:

Vera is definitely more mature than ST. It had (has) it’s fair share of issues, but it’s self-contained, no cloud dependency, so no unexpected f-ups by inexperienced developers or screwball managers. :wink:


In its current state this product is no better than an open source solution run and updated by the community of its users.

I’m not saying a community based service exists but given the frequency and duration of outages I compare ST level of service to that of something one does not generally pay for. At least in the latter there would be more information flow and transparency. Nothing to hide when your not trying to profit from the service.

ST has created an entry level service funded primarily by $40 device (sensor) sales that cost them a few dollars to make. Their long term goal is obviously to have a premium cloud service that is payed for monthly. Why is everyone trying to take a chunk of my monthly paycheck? Whats worse it is our investment and time that is helping them make their service better so they can charge money for it?!

For what its worth ST. Nobody will pay for the current level of service you are providing for long.


Disagree, I’ll pay for it forever (except I already paid for it… sooo…). That could just be me, YMMV. My lights worked fine during the outage. In fact the only annoyance was a couple of notifications at odd times when it came back online.

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Homeseer: I had to constantly maintain mine. It would go down weekly. I also had to effectively run a server to keep it going and access it remotely. They now have expensive dedicated boxes to do the same, more reliable maybe?

Also, my setup was wires everywhere, it had to have it’s own “space” in my house. I can’t see myself going back. It was very powerful, and very configurable, but I think you had to be more of a programmer and Windows admin for it even more so than SmartThings power use. That’s my 2 cents.


I don’t refer to the one time box purchase. The end game here is to have us all pay a monthly fee when the service reaches a certain point. Nobody but a fool pays for something that is this unreliable on a monthly basis.

We are in a “Frog on the Hotplate” situation. We integrate devices, slowly build up our portfolios and then one day … BANG. Monthly fee for x, y or z that used to be free. Its written on the video recording function now !

Cell carriers and satellite/cable companies learn this lesson every month from their customers when they don’t work. Why do you think the biggest metric AT&T and Verizon and Sprint throw out are their coverage and reliability statistics?!

How do you know this? I sort of hope it’s true for some higher level of service (cloud storage, or something else) because I want ST to hire more and do more. But I’ve never seen evidence that I would have to pay for the current features and reliability I enjoy. Would love to see proof of that.

That’s a good thing, as it gives SmartThings plenty of incentive to make the product reliable.

Incentive alone isn’t enough, of course, but it helps.

Recurring revenue streams are a win:win for everyone. It is difficult for a software company to survive, thrive, grow, enhance, etc., based on only 1 time low margin hardware sales. Most software companies either have very high up-front margins and/or frequent expensive upgrades (annually?) – which is equivalent to a subscription anyway.

SmartThings base functionality will likely always be “free lifetime”; but they are definitely going to work every possible angle for recurring revenue. In some cases this may be revenue not directly from the Customer, but from partners like home insurance companies; or, gawdforbid, advertisers.


My lights don’t work since last night. In fact, nothing is working here, or in my neighborhood. I blame SmartThings for the non Smart lightning that stroke the power line!


I’m pretty darn sure the game will be over way before they ever reach the level of stability required for any paid service. And even if, against all odds, they do, I wouldn’t be interested in it anyway. After over two years of toying with the cloud-based home automation, I’m convinced it’s never going to work the way I want it to.

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I’m not quite as pessimistic…

  1. For a substantial number of consumers, internet connectivity and “the Cloud” are considered feasible paradigms for rather critical applications (e.g., gmail, Chromebooks, and, heck, Amazon, eBay, etc.).

  2. The hybrid approach of ~80% of local execution will greatly reduce the impact of internet and Cloud outages. Of course… we’re nowhere near 80% yet, but for “average consumers” who aren’t using all the custom DTH’s and SmartApps the Community uses, its a higher proportion than we observe!

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I think this is ST strategy, make an affordable product that people will upgrade every 18-24 months. They need still have a reason to upgrade. V2 was suppose to have local processing and bluetooth, both not quite up to the hype.


Sure, there’s a place for cloud services and I use them a lot for certain things, but not for home automation and security. :sunglasses:

Yup … this would follow the smartphone industry model; though the smartphone industry still makes upgrades more palatable via carrier discounts (and kickbacks?), and various other revenue streams (some fee-based apps and music services, etc.).

Very anxiously awaiting your experience with Vera plus… with support for ZigBee note baked in, not sure that ST has (m)any advantages, other than this community, of course.

Carrier discounts are going away, they are hiding the prices in other ways.

I always buy unlocked phones from Google. Love having the pure android experience and better support.


Community exists for a number of different reasons, but a big part is due to the architecture. High number of community device types because the platform supports it well. Trying to develop and share devices and code on other platforms is painful. Go have a look, I do just to keep up on it. Give ST credit for making a platform that supports code like CoRE and my Honeywell Therms and SolarEdge solar, etc etc.

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