I hate to be the squeaky wheel, but I think there are fair amount of backers who would agree with me about communication from ST folks. My previous post about iOS is a perfect example of this. I had a question, Andrew answered it, I understood. Done. Over. Moving on. Now, keep in mind Andrew gave me an answer I did not like, did not agree with personally, and left me in the cold for a while until the Android App comes out. But by giving me an answer, I understood the business sense of it instead of being left in the dark wondering WTF. I think this also holds true for the availability issue. It’s nice to see a post on FB about international rollout testing, or tag testing jigs, but these don’t answer our most pressing question of “when?” If someone was empowered to come onto this forum once a day, or even twice a week in a dedicated thread, or heck on the backers only section of kickstarter if you want to keep it quiet, and give us some kind of official status, it would go a long way. Even if the answers aren’t what we want to hear, at least we’ll know. We are the early adopters, people probably much like yourselves who love technology and possibility, and find all this to be fun. We believed in your vision enough to back it before there were any VC guys, or speaking events. What sense does it make to keep us in the dark? In the absence of information, people will make up their own reasons, and none of that speculation is a good thing for SmartThings future.
Personally, at this point, I think they are afraid to give out estimates. Every time they have tried they have been unable to meet them and have had to face the wrath of some pretty unreasonable people.
They are also a startup and im sure have a lot to learn about mass production and delivery logistics. Take Google for example. They have been trying for 4 years to release a new device in their play store, and each year it is a disaster of epic proportions Not even a multi billion dollar software company could figure out all that is entailed in a supply line from a factory to the customer.
At this point there is just very little they can say without giving the trolls some more flame bait to use against them, so I think they are trying to keep it as low key as they can until they can say “look we just shipped out a thousand units this week”
What confuses me is that I thought they had already shipped some or at least had local backers pick up some of their kits but then I see videos and pictures of them still doing testing… Shouldn’t testing be done by now if they already gave out some?
I think they are every unit, or batches of units for quality control.
I agree with you. And doing something for the first time is hellish to estimate, trust me, I do custom AV systems for a living, every one is unique. But I think transparency in the process would help. Communicate with your customers (us). Sort of a “here’s our timeline, and here’s where we are on it” kind of thing. It might not be what we want to hear, but it would remove the ammo from the trolls, and shut up the normally meek like me.
Well, they are doing that…sorta. The problem is it’s spread out over multiple forms of social media. Alex did a big Q&A on reddit… but that never made it to kickstarter, the forums, or anywhere else. Then they have random FB postings that do the same thing.
But to be fair, their last kickstarter update said they were getting the equipment they needed the week of the 18th for mass production. I’d say it would take them a bit to get that all sorted out, and would expect to hear how that was going for them sometime this week. So, they really aren’t keeping us all that much out of the loop.
Someone once said, “Success is 80% planning and 20% execution…” But I say, “80% of the time, starting to execute is 80% of the problem”.
While I too wish I was rolling in gooey-geeky-goodness of SmartThing sensors and switches, I only want them when they are done, and done right.
I’ll bet you a Smart Presence Sensor (Tag) that these guys have not had less than a 70-80 hour work week in many, many months. I imagine they have all their heads down dealing with supplier issues, patent questions, frequency drift and all those fun kind of things. You know they all wish they were just puttin’ stuff together and stuffing it into the boxes.
I think with the advent of KickStarter and instant communication, we might all feel like we are setting in the Boardroom awaiting the next progress report from the Communications Officer. Which is understandable. We got skin ($$$) in this game so to speak. The reality is this though; we are not in the Boardroom; and, there probably is no Communication Officer. As someone figuratively stated earlier in this thread, “they are probably a bunch of geeks like us”. If that is the case, I for one know how hard it is to get a bunch of geeks to communicate. And I also know how much geeks bust their asses. I’m sure you’ll agree with me after that garage door finally raises and out comes a you-know-what-load of really cool things. They will work and you will be able to use them…
I don’t know if you are old enough to remember “Kung-Fu” , and I mean no disrespect by it, but as Master Po says: “Patience Grasshopper”.
Oddly enough, given that I started this thread in the first place, I agree with you. I absolutely agree with it’s done when it’s done, as I said, I do something similar for a living. I know getting from 95% to 100% takes an inordinate amount of time and effort. I’ve had all those thoughts, and I bet 100% there have been a lot of pizza and energy drink meals in the office late at night. Most of your reasons are why I have sat patiently and waited, and I want more than anything for SmartThings to succeed and be as big as I think they could be. But in addition to being a room full of very smart folks fulfilling a kickstarter, they are trying to be a company, and companies can be blind to their failings, especially when they are focused on a goal. I am merely trying to give some constructive criticism as an “outsider” who also does have skin in the game. I want these guys to hit the market and have nothing but glowing comments. Even if the gear is perfect, if you overpromise and underdeliver anywhere, the bad taste lingers.
We all want smartthings to succeed and don’t want the hardware rolled out before it’s ready but the lack of communication - or miscommunication in some cases is really getting to me too. As suggested before, just have someone go on the various sites (here, twitter, Facebook and kickstarter) and give a real update every couple of days…even if there is nothing to report. If the automated tester came in a couple of weeks ago and found 90% of things worked - which I thought I read somewhere - then why haven’t units started shipping? Even without the automated tester - why aren’t things being tested manually so units can be shipped. There must be some other explanation for the delay that they are not telling us about. Just give us the stats - how many live SmartThings are out there from employees/events. What percent are having problems and is that what is causing the delay? Have ANY units shipped? Once you start shipping, how many units will ship a week? What will the order be? Developers and makers first? Based on when someone signed up - super early bird/early bird etc…? I get that most kickstarter projects - especially popular ones - are late - but we are your early backers - just keep us in the loop. I really just think the people at Smartthings really done know how annoyed people are that you guys are now more than double the initial timeline. If Alex knew, he definitely wouldn’t tweet a picture of himself taking the day off recently and skiing. Do I expect him to be working 24/7? Of course not - but perception matters. Get to work and send me my SmartThings ASAP!
I just checked the Facebook page and I guess Alex gave some more updates recently but hoping the communication continues.
We appreciate the pressure our community is placing on us and the patience with which most are giving us. We’ve been doing our best to be communicative. Likewise, We’re sure everyone can appreciate that there are a lot of moving parts to get right if we are going to create the open platform for the Internet of Things. While our team has been growing we still don’t have dedicated communications people to deliver daily updates.
To answer specific questions, yes, we have ben shipping devices outside of the “delivery events”. We are making our way through the Super Early Birds, Early Birds, Maker/Devs, and Enthusiasts first. We’ll be able to ship to the folks and the remainder of the US and Canada Kickstarter backers in April if we feel like the software side in the cloud and mobile app is ready, but are choosing a measured approach of rolling out in waves where we ship and then incorporate feedback from early adopters into improvements that benefit those coming later. We think this is a better approach than simply shipping all kits out and getting a deluge of feedback that we cannot handle fast enough.
Perfect! Thanks folks, for letting us know.
It would be nice to see what our back number is and which backer numbers are shipping. I am an Early Bird and from what I remember there were not many at the time. I am trying to develop a home automation system that user Android tablets mounted to the walls but I don’t want to do anything until my order arrives. I have already started building some devices and plan to buy others to make our lives easier.
Brian, from the sound of it the Android Smartthings app is a ways off still. I get the feeling it isn’t really a priority for them atm.
Any way to find out our backer number and where you guys are at with shipping? I’m a Super Early Bird that has yet to see anything
Nrdk, I’d like to know the same thing. I purchased an Ouya console and they gave me my backer number. I don’t understand the logic in this process. First you don’t ship to the people who backed you the earliest and second you don’t put equal effort into developing for Android as you do iOS when Android is the most popular mobile OS available.
From what I’ve seen most the Smartthings team seem to use iOS… so it is something they are probably more comfortable with. A while back they mentioned they still needed Android devs.
Android developers are not hard to find. They have made plenty of money off the Kickstarter project to hire an experienced Android developer. Here’s a listing of 2,313 Android developers looking for work. This is just from one website. https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/browse/?q=android
Whatever. They picked ios to start with. I’d rather them stay focused and do one thing exceptionally well then try to please everyone and every operating system. Have some patience, its a new product and should be expected when you fund a kickstarter project. Kickstarter is not a store.
While I fully agree that Kickstarter is not a store and we should expect delays, I’m starting to grow tired of the delays.
I didn’t expect an on time delivery. But when they said they would be delivering started end of December, I started getting excited. Then it was delayed until March with the Android app not being available until beginning of April. Now we’re looking at mid to late April for delivery and the Android app being listed as merely ‘functional.’
I’m certainly not giving up on this project. I’m still very excited for my stuff and can’t wait to start hacking things up with the system. I’m just disappointed with the continued delays.