Coming to ST, [lack of] backup, Vera, and others

vera
migration
webui

#1

I’ve used Vera for many years. I have 50+ devices, lots of scenes, and some custom code. For those who know Vera, they also know that it can be annoying. Integration with Hue, Harmony Hub, and Echo are clunky. Google Assistant is non-existent unless I dig into a 3rd-party tool.

I also have a Pi running Openhab and another running Home Assistant. While both are set up at a basic level, I don’t have the time to dig into the time-consuming advanced setup.

ST strikes me as something much easier and potentially pleasant to use. With what I have been able to ascertain so far, I will miss local processing, a web interface, backup/migration (WTF), and advanced scripting unless I use webCoRE. I also found Active Tiles, but it does not substitute for a true web interface. Still, I have a ST Hub v3/2018 on order.

Regarding the backup, this thread discusses why “not”: Smartthing HUB Backup

So here are some questions:

  1. Though I read about people using Vera as a secondary Z-Wave controller, I have also read a thread about adding Vera to ST as a “thing”. Is it possible for me to simply connect Vera to ST, and Use ST to trigger devices/scenes already configured in Vera? This accomplishes couple things. Vera can backup Z-Wave. I can simply configure all of the devices in Vera and use ST to control. This also makes replacing/upgrading the ST easier in the future.

This is possible with Openhab and HASS. Once Vera is connected, I can use them to control what is configured inside Vera. There is also an “HA-Bridge” that allows Echo to control Vera Scenes and devices.

  1. Is there another way to configure ST besides using a phone or a tab via the Connect app? I know there is no web interface, but does anyone have a 3rd-party desktop app?

  2. Aside from printing out the list of devices and some config in IDE, are there other methods to backup in order to make a replacement or upgrade easier?

  3. For those who came from Vera, do you find ST with webCoRE to be just as capable as Vera’s advanced scenes/Luup?

Thank you.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

At this time, SmartThings can only be configured (add / remove devices, scenes, automations, SmartApps) via the official SmartThings Apps and partially via the SmartThings IDE website https://account.smartthings.com

No full config API is open yet. A new API is in evolving Beta, but there are no Apps using it yet.

ActionTiles is the top alternative customizable “view & control” web-app and WebCoRE the top alternative complex rules builder / automator.

SmartThings is steadily but slowly evolving, with some ups and downs.

I don’t understand why you would want to mix & match with Vera. That’s a lot of complexity for very little added benefit.


#3

Thank you for the information. I plan to use ActionTiles and webCoRE once I have the ST3 setup. I am hopeful that future APIs will allow for a more complete config option.

Regarding Vera, I am thinking about integration for a few reasons. 1) Vera can backup Z-Wave devices whereas ST cannot, 2) I already have a lot of devices and scenes set up, 3) [For now] If I can leverage ST as a front end and control Vera devices and scenes, that would allow for a quick start into ST.

The idea is to add new devices and automation directly into ST and slowly migrate legacy Vera devices and scenes. Since I am able to control Vera devices and scenes with Home Assistant, OpenHab, and through HA-Bridge, I was wondering if I can do the same with ST. I read somewhere that you can add Vera as a “Thing”. Does that mean that the Vera Thing will expose the Vera devices and scenes and therefore allow me control?


#4

No.

It’s the other way around. You should first remove all devices from the vera. Then when you add the vera to SmartThings, any devices which are connected at that time to SmartThings Will be copied to the vera.

But SmartThings uses its own abstraction layer because it handles multiple protocols, and it just doesn’t work well with secondary Z wave controllers when compared to other zwave primaries. You will probably find actions reported to one of the two hubs will not be reported over to the other one. So they get out of sync. In addition, if you add any new devices to the network, in order to get them to show up on the vera, you have to do a complete rebuild.

There are some people who use SmartThings as a primary and vera as a secondary, but that was more common back in 2015 when vera offered some Zwave functionality that smartthings did not. In particular, vera was much better at multi channel devices back then. At this point, you don’t see that setup very often as smartthings added more features over the years.

So you can do it if you want to, but it’s not going to expose your vera scenes and devices to SmartThings for control.


#5

Thank you for the detailed explanation. It is very helpful. My intention was not to use ST as the primary and Vera as the secondary Z-Wave. I was hoping that ST can simply trigger the device and scenes in Vera.

I think a work-around is using HA-Bridge. HA-Bridge emulates a Hue and can expose Vera scenes and devices. I am using it now with Echo. I have read a couple post that indicate ST plays with HA-Bridge. This would provide the solution I need.