CNET selects ST as hub of choice for massive HA project

(Bobby) #1

Have you been following the CNET project? They just selected ST as their hub of choice. Let the fun begin!

(Brian) #2

I have mixed feelings about ST new popularity. I like it but I don’t. I’ll try to like it more than I don’t.

(Antonio Lopez) #3

Just saw that and was about to post, you beat me to it. The ST App got hammered a bit in her review but the fact that they chose ST over all other hubs including Vera, says a lot.

I’ll be following to see what exciting things they come up with. Although, I’ll tell you what, they’ll be hard pressed to think of something folks haven’t thought of yet here. :smile:

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #4

So I’m reading through this and you’d think that the person writing the articles and doing the research would be a little more keen to the obvious answers.

They are completely ignoring the ST hub for the power that it possesses. They really should pay a visit to this forum and learn about smart apps.

(Bobby) #5

Not really…we are the “minority” or the power users if you may. They did mention the app issues.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #6

Thing is, they choose Alexa as the first choice for voice control. They couldn’t figure it out. They never mention looking at the hub as an answer.

Setting it up does take a little more work than going to the store and buying the prettiest boxes.

Seems like they have an awesome idea and platform for real world testing, but they are letting feeble minded morons put it together.

Seems like a waste of time based on the way they are coming across.


I think rather it’s that they have a mission to write a review of pretty much every new device that comes out. They install a lock, leave it up long enough to write a review, and then take it down to install the next one that they’re reviewing.

So they chose SmartThings mostly so they could attach as many different things to it as possible and make life easier while they were swapping stuff in and out.

There’s no one actually living in the house, and nothing needs to stay connected from one week to the next. It just has to be up long enough to make the review video.

For many of the reviews, SmartThings isn’t involved at all.

So having chosen SmartThings as their hub is really saying “this is the one we think it’ll be easiest to do device swaps with.” Not the one they think it would be best to live with.

And, by the way, their parent company who actually owns the house required them to get ADT security for it. They are not using SmartThings as the actual security system for that building. :wink:

Also, the voice article was written about a month ago, before echo added the IFTTT triggers that the author expected to find the first time around. If he’d done exactly the same thing this week, he never would’ve gone past the first paragraph because Echo would’ve done everything he wanted from the beginning. :bulb:

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #8

Still, they are presenting it as comprehensive but in truth, it’s a superficial joke.

(Scott G) #9

New article from CNET about what Smart Home tech various CNET writers would want in their home. None of them mention ST, and most don’t want a “hub” at all. They all think Wifi devices are the answer. Granted, most of them seem to be just as confused as the general consumer about what is/isn’t possible, which is pretty sad for “tech” writers IMO.

(Bobby) #10

I think they got it right, though, at least with one thing! “Start small, and look for the tech that appeals to your interests, and that will fit in best with your home and family’s needs.”

HA has not reached its maturity where homeowners can plan a major renovation and have it all work together. Here is how this article could be summarized (in their words - capitalized words are my addition):

FROM Smart-home minimalist, Right now, there are just too many products with too many kinks, BUT it’s all about Android (and Nest) AND Amazon Echo at the center WITH Cautious optimism for Apple HomeKit!

(Scott G) #11

That general starting premise is definitely spot-on, and several of them rightly suggest to wait because the tech/integration isn’t there yet. It’s just funny to me (or sad) that not one of them thinks the answer is the one they’re currently using in the CNET Smart Home.

I’m becoming more and more skeptical that 2016 will be the breakthrough year for HA. I don’t think wifi will work well for any device not plugged into power and wifi devices aren’t easily interoperable (homekit/Nest could change this). BLE mesh won’t be ready. Weave/Brillo probably won’t be much more than Homekit was this year. Homekit will get one big software boost, but I still think the devices will be mediocre due to compromises trying to meet Apple’s standards and keep costs down.


Apple’s partner premise is that they won’t have to try to keep cost down because their target market is willing to pay more for things that work well in that ecosystem.

I have to say, I am really impressed with the Schlage HomeKit lock. It is a step up from the previous models in both form and features. Some of the first manufacturing run had a flaw that sucked up batteries but schlage is aware of it and replacing them as soon as you ask. Little things like being able to temporarily turn off the auto lock either at the lock itself or through the app are just really nice consumer friendly features. It does cost more than the zwave or Zigbee models. But I think the target market is fine with that.

By all reports, Ecobee is doing well out of their HomeKit partnership. It makes them a real competitor to nest in a way they weren’t before. And strengthens the brand for the non-HomeKit model because they are getting a lot of press.

First alert also got a big boost from their new Homekit-enabled one link. And in that case, they’re the less expensive choice compared to nest protect.

The interesting question will Be to see how Insteon does. They’re offering their hub in different models, one for HomeKit, One for thread, one for AllJoyn. One for their own proprietary system. Each supporting a different set of devices, but I think they all work with Alexa. Not clear yet if that business model work.

18 months ago when I first started researching my initial use cases, I eliminated Insteon early because their locks didn’t do what I needed. But if they can add HomeKit locks, it puts them right back in the running again

I do think we’re seeing the emergence of a middle tier plug-and-play home automation sector, aimed at people who are OK paying about $400 a room but who may do only four or five rooms. Living room, kitchen, and a couple of bedrooms. Who don’t want to code or tinker but are comfortable with IFTTT style interfaces.

And I do think they’ll sort out into android versus Apple, for the most part. And that the market is already educated to think that that’s OK. That not all devices have to work with all other devices. And that solutions don’t have to be comprehensive to be useful.

We’ll see. If stuff that’s announced at CES 2016 is actually available for purchase in the summer of 2016, we’ll see the sector launched. If we’re still on a two or three-year release cycle, then it’s a very long way to go.

I could be completely wrong, though, it may be that it will end up just like home security where most homeowners (as opposed to renters) who get the systems get them from the cable company or a similar large competitor. Where it’s sold as a service. That’s what Xfinity is testing now. I honestly have no idea how that’s going to affect the market

Interesting times, anyway. :sunglasses:

(Scott G) #13

I agree with you on a lot of this, but the “willing to pay more” idea only extends so far. There’s a big difference between paying $20-40 more on a $200 item like a lock, than paying $20-40 more on a $20-30 sensor. The manufacturer can’t just pass on the extra cost because paying just $5 more to your BOM on a sensor crushes the margin, and you still have the battery life and range issues inherent in either wifi or bluetooth. These are the issues that will limit the market development until Weave/Brillo and BLE Mesh (or whatever the next low power interconnect is) can establish itself. We’ll get lots of plugs, lights, garage door, thermostats, locks, cameras; but not many standalone motion, moisture, open/close, etc sensors. More likely we’ll see more of the expensive multifaceted devices to absorb the cost, like cameras that have temperature sensors and can trigger motion. These are already common.

I agree with everything else you wrote, especially the Android vs Apple endgame. I just don’t think all that will shake out until 2017 or even 2018.

ADDED: I should add that I’m talking about the broader market and HA acceptance of the general public. There will always be early adopters and tinkerers like us here that will pay more and accept semi-plug n play options because of the cool factor. This crowd seems bigger and bigger everyday as the tech world grows. I’d be surprised if 75% of this community didn’t work in tech in some capacity (I’m in the 25%).

(Scott G) #14

It’s often requested to get better account/user management from ST, so people can give guests or kids “read-only” or other limited access to specific devices and not Rules/SmartApps. According to this article ST is actually better than many of their competitors by at least allowing separate accounts (granted this feature just came back).

Hopefully ST is working hard on expanding those options. It’s a great way to offer something that appears to be lacking at the moment.

(Scott G) #15

Uh oh, looks like CNET is starting to feel the ST fatigue. The below excerpt is from their latest article picking a smarthome product solely for its Echo integration…

We’ve also tired of SmartThings as a hub. Yes, it works with an array of smart home products, but the app still doesn’t deliver the “easy, universal accessibility” that was originally promised. It would be great if we could easily find and control all sorts of products from different manufacturers through a single app, but the usability of SmartThings’ software has stagnated rather than improved.

Full article:

(Mike Maxwell) #16

It seems CNET hasn’t progressed much beyond the remote control aspects of HA, being pissed off at ST’s mobile app is justified if that’s your only device control interface.
But that’s not the automation part of HA now is it?
Unfortunately CNET (and likely HA noobs) seem oblivious to what true automation is…

(Bobby) #17

Do they really mean “we’ve also tried ST as a hub” or “we’re also tired of ST as a hub”. I cannot tell which one is it, as myself been swinging between the two lately…ha, ha, ha! @Mike_Maxwell clearly they are talking about “home control” not “home automation”. “we’re anchoring the CNET Smart Home’s connected lighting scheme to Amazon Echo.” Where is the automation when I need to give orders to Alexa what to do?

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #18

Exactly… Using an app or voice control odd nothing less than a remote control.

True automation is your home knowing what to do when certain circumstances occur.

Programming for this can become a nightmare, but with the right engines and the right equipment it can be done. And it is being dinner on the ST platform, when it wants to cooperate.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #19

Definitely the latter:

So Long, SmartThings … We’ve also tired of SmartThings as a hub.”

Considering the magnitude of the project (they bought a whole house for goshsakes!), the articles are disappointingly short on details.

Somehow I have a subscription to “CNET Magazine” (quarterly), which like many mags is really just a catalog for their advertisers. Apparently Samsung hasn’t paid their extra dues for SmartThings inclusion (barely mentioned in the Spring issue).

The web doesn’t have the content length constraints, so the odd choice of focus — home security control via Amazon Echo/Alexa — is frustrating. Yet in that context they are accurate regarding SmartThings lack of Alexa response skills to questions about the current stare of the home, as well as the lack of official support for home security activation commands. Smart Home Monitor is SmartThings’s flagship app for security and safety, and it is not Alexa integrated.

In the past week, SmartThings made it clear that unpublished (i.e., non-Marketplace) SmartApps will officially not receive assistance from This has made me change my official position: I am no longer concerned that the media ignores the effort & options the Community provides to extend & improve the product. SmartThings has done nothing to promote (and support) how the Community benefits the Consumer, so why should the critical media?

CNET’s dismissal of SmartThings in this article is not explained with sufficient details, and that is a big disappointment. They are not Consumer Reports. Whether the conclusion is good or bad, SmartThings deserves a deep, deep dive review… CNET has the dedicated home, time, webspace, and (can find) the resources necessary for this beneficial task.

Is Amazon beating ST PR?
(Geko) #20

I think they’ve made their reasons quite clear:

  1. SmartThings doesn’t actually manage home security through Alexa very well.
  2. …the app still doesn’t deliver the “easy, universal accessibility” that was originally promised.
  3. …the usability of SmartThings’ software has stagnated rather than improved.

It’s impossible to argue these points. SHM was positioned as a centerpiece of SmartThings offering more that 6 month ago, but it’s still lacking key features and reliability to be useful.