(Joel) #1

Has anyone thought about or created a dashboard with summary information from their things?

I was thinking of putting together a dashboard on a dedicated screen mounted in my lounge with calendar etc, but also a summary layout of my home showing locks, windows status etc. (similiar to what you can do with homeseer)

(Jeff DeWolfe) #2

I would love to see that!

(DawgOnKing) #3

Well, let me know if you proceed. I’d be interested in observing and following suit.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4

Short answer… Yes.

But is there possible profit in it?

And does SmartThings push status changes reliably?

(Joel) #5

I’d certainly pay for an app if someone makes one! have any of you paid for an smartthings app as of yet?

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #6

To the best of my knowledge, SmartThings hasn’t established a policy for partners to sell apps and/or “tightly-integrated” alternate user interfaces (such as a Dashboard).

I’m sure that established developers could initiate such relationships or partnerships … probably some are already in the works.

Generalized policies, though, will make it much easier to participate in the ecosystem; though it will take a lot of work up front to come up with clear policies and expectations.

In the meantime, developers have to comb through the “Terms of Service” in order to decide what they can charge for, and/or what sort of risks are involved in development effort, since we don’t control the underlying API or the SmartCloud and the rug could be pulled out from under us.

(Joel) #7

its pretty exciting to think about the possibilities for paid apps. the quality will be right up there and offer stuff that users would (hopefully) love to pay for.

(Todd Wackford) #8

Whats a dashboard?

(Joel) #9

Here’s an example of what I mean. This would be a screen sitting somewhere like the entrance (inside) or something: http://hometoys.com/ezine/11.12/anderson01/anderson%20fig%204.jpg

(Todd Wackford) #10

That’s not an App, that’s a System Application. :cool:

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

I’d call it an “alternative user interface” B-)

The default UI for SmartThings leaves much to be desired, especially for installed panels (there is no landscape mode, and the customization of views is limited by the current “tile” architecture).

SmartThings could (should?) welcome third-party user-interface development, but there are risks involved to both parties. SmartThings risks diluting their brand; and the developers risk stability of the underlying platform.

Stability of the SmartCloud could itself be affected by third-party alternative UI’s that misbehave.

But I think something like the depicted diagram could be implemented with some decent effort. I’ve pointed out many “attractive” UI’s in various forums here before. I should try digging up that thread. Ideal interface is something that is somewhat “windowed” allowing very flexible allocation of real-estate with plug-ins, I think.


(Joel) #12

Couldn’t the UI’s that are developed be approved by smartthings …much like iTunes approves apps?

(Todd Wackford) #13

Do you have something? A dashboard app (System Application) perhaps?

(Dan Lieberman) #14

I experimented a little bit with Panic’s Status Board iPad app (http://panic.com/statusboard/). I did this by exposing a REST endpoint that returns the expected JSON for Status Board’s charting widget.


(Florian Z) #15

You can wall mount an iPad in Kiosk mode and show a dashboard using Panic’s Status Board, like Dan suggested (Awesome, btw!!!), or using Safari to show a custom webpage. Either way you should be able to pull all the necessary information from SmartThings using the REST API.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #16

@joel_eggenhuizen (et al.):

Folks here have the right concept: Using the REST API, SmartThings exposes a heck of a lot of views of status and some degree of control of your “SmartThings” (i.e., any object known to the Hub that can be exposed through access tokens).

Regarding your comment comparing UI approval to the iTunes approval of Apps; the comparison is more like Dropbox approving various Android apps and web project management services direct access to your documents, or backup software that writes directly to Dropbox, etc. (i.e., Dropbox provides a Windows Explorer / Mac Finder plug-in and a web interface for managing your files; but anyone with an API key can develop alternate front-ends.

There are hundreds (thousands?) of examples of this; to varying degrees of applicability to SmartThings.

So the model and the building blocks are in place, but various questions remain which need time to explore:

  1. Is enough of SmartThings "exposed" through the API to produce rich and comprehensive interfaces? I believe, for example, that "Add / Discover Thing" is not exposed, and there are decent reasons for this; but it is an example limitation. But what about useful "hidden" attributes of devices, or ways to tune the refresh rates, etc.?
  2. Will SmartThings ever change the API or add restrictions (or fees) that essentially destabilize alternate front-ends? A real-world example of this, if I recall, was changes that Netflix made to the ability of developers to read users's movie watching history or similar. Some developers wrote fancy reporting tools or queue management tools that were completely disabled by Netflix's unilateral changes.
  3. Is the SmartCloud (through which the API connects) robust enough to handle requests that are not tuned the way that the proprietary GUI (iOS and Android Apps) are written?
  4. Is there ever going to be a way to talk directly to the SmartHub on the user's LAN, instead of requiring the extra latency (and connectivity risk, and security/privacy risks...) of the SmartCloud?
  5. Is it conceivable that SmartThings might actually "open source" the SmartCloud so that developers could provide alternate cloud servers (including internally inside corporate networks, or in a VAR (value added reseller) infrastructure, or on a PC in a consumer's home? If not "open source", would SmartThings consider offering these options for purchase? Consider that "Github" is an excellent web-service, but it can be purchased by businesses desiring their own internal git servers (lots of important reasons businesses desire this ... all the benefits of Git, fewer risks, though maintenance of the servers is now a cost...).
  6. What are possible partnership and revenue models that SmartThings can facilitate for UI's? I think it is pretty obvious that SmartThings is putting a lot of thought into how "SmartApps" can be published and revenue collected for the developers; but if "good" alternate UI's come along (possibly produced by competitors -- e.g., control your SmartThings through the GUI of WigWag or Ninja or Control4, ...) SmartThings needs to have a strategy and policies in order to keep the ecosystem organized and maintain profit in a sustainable and fair manner.
  7. Many ways to look at this problem; but consider this: While there are various standards of steadily improving rigor for “things” (Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooh, IPlo?), there aren’t any standards for the presentation layer that allow seamless plug-in of already connected Things from one hub to another, with or without “cloud” involvement.

    Standards at this level may be overly restrictive and take far too long to stabilize; yet that would give the most “plug-and-play” functionality for UI components. In the meantime, though, either well-resourced and/or highly-creative and motivated UI developers are going to build or extend their frameworks to interface with proprietary and/or open, but published, interfaces, such as the SmartCloud API.

    My assertion is that it is reasonable for these enterprises to hope for a revenue stream from their efforts.

(Joel) #17

Dan that is cool. Looks like it’s something you’ll continue working on

Cosmos - great insight thank you .lots to think about there! But glad to here it’s possible through the rest apis. should be fun to have a crack at.

(Alex) #18

I love this thread. Just wait until you see what is coming over the next few weeks! Both primary app but also available for extension via the IDE. Let’s pick it back up with your feedback and guidance soon.

(Todd Wackford) #19

Ahhhh Alex,

That’s like saying “to be continued…”. Now you have us wondering what Santa is bringing :-). Can’t wait to take off the bow and see what it is.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #20


Thanks for following and encouraging our discussion and feedback … and for the enticing outlook!

We appreciate being able to contribute to the evolution…

…CP / Terry.