Dear SmartThings Staff

disappointment

(Eric) #1

Dear SmartThings Staff,

The purpose of this letter is to be honest and direct about my disappointment in the promise which is SmartThings.

SmartThings is not a hobby for me and I don’t except the excuse that it is just a hobby as an out for inconsistent behavior.

I use SmartThings for non-critical items like turning on lights at certain times and based on contact sensors and motion sensors. Yes, for me these are non-critical. For others who depend on SmartThings to enable a life that most of us take for granted it is critical. Flipping a switch when SmartThings is acting up isn’t an option for some of those people.

I use SmartThings for some actions that I think are critical and some of them are considered critical to @Alex as he supposedly got the idea to create SmartThings based on a pipe bursting.

At SmartThings, we believe that creating a safer, smarter world starts at home.

I use SmartThings to let me know when my 2-year-old son opens the door and tries to get outside. So far SmartThings has failed me several times in this area. Luckily my wife and I keep a focused eye on him and your platform failures have not led to a lost or injured child. I also use SmartThings to let me know when I have a leak and turn my main water valve off. I consider both of these critical use cases and I’d expect you to as well.

Over the last 5 to 6 days I and other have experienced issues with:

  • Routines not executing
  • SmartApp execution failures
  • Text to Speech total failures

I am not attempting to belittle you or rub your nose in it, but WTF is going on?

Where is @Alex? He may not have made a promise to interact with the community, but his “Weekly” updates set an expectation and to me is an implied promise.

You made a great decision by opening up your platform for developers, because without us SmartThings would too basic from most serious Home Automation people. However, your development platform is seriously lacking. I won’t go into how it is lacking; you know what the issues are. Has Dora ever posted in this community once?

I don’t hate SmartThings or have an issue with any of the SmartThings staff. I just have what I consider normal expectations of your product.

EDIT: After 600+ reads I decided to fix a typo.


Hub V2 - Hot Fix - 09/15/16 (15.8)
(I got a hair cut from Alexa) #2

It’s ok to vent frustrations…but I’d leave that part out about you trusting your child’s welfare to technology. That could be used against you. Especially now that you’ve stated that you know the technology is “untrustworthy”


(Sob Pilot) #3

I don’t see how SmartThings business model will work in the long run. Relying on future sales to pay for a large infrastructure of hosting, programmers, etc is not sustainable.

With that said, I think the community would be willing to pay a reasonable annual support fee to cover these costs.

The idea of hardware combined with cloud software is the future. I have a Meraki router and all the settings are in the cloud. I don’t mind paying the support fee as this combination works well.


(Dan P Parker) #4

Like many/most here I understand and share your frustrations with the many ST quality control issues that have plagued the platform, and you certainly have a legitimate beef with the company behind it. But with all due respect I think the above statement is a bit out-of-line…and as Keith points out, it’s more than a little unwise to be saying something like that in public.


(Bobby) #5

Yeah! Has Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon ever posted in this community? What’s up with that? Where is he? I demand he reveals right here, right now, his plans for ST’s future…


(fightingmajor) #6

Relying on a smart device to watch your kid? I’m not a parent, but I don’t think I would trust watching my kid to a little box connected to the internet. There are many other complaint threads here you could have posted in. Had you done more research prior to your purchase, you would have realized that this might not be the best choice for you. This platform is not perfect. It has it’s ups and downs. First and foremost, no one should rely on this product as your alarm system. This is more of a secondary alarm. If you want something reliable, use a service you pay a monthly cost to. This is more of a first step into home automation. No product currently out is perfect. ST has it’s flaws and drives me nuts some times, but this is really just a toy. Yes when it’s working properly, it’s a great system. I’ve been lucky as of late and haven’t had any issues. But I try to keep my set up as simple as possible to have less problems. I use CoRE, but with simple set ups. It’s capable of more than what I use it for, but it does what I need it to do. I tend to use Alexa to turn my lights on or off more than I do ST. But I do use ST to turn my lights on and off and certain times. It’s been awhile now since I’ve came home to a dark house.

"Over the last 5 to 6 days I and other have experienced issues with:

  • Routines not executing

  • SmartApp execution failures

  • Text to Speech total failures"

  • What is happening with your routines? There are other ways to execute these then just the built in way. Have you attempted to try to find other solutions?

  • Execution failures? Can you be more specific?

  • Text to Speech failure. It’s be documented that there have been some issues as of late. Again, there are other and sometimes better solutions that this community have built. Why not set up a notification for your phone? Have a second back up of a light flashing, a siren going off. There are plenty of other options out there.

At the end of the day, this is a great product with lots of potential. There will always be problems. I bet your mac or windows computer goofs up every now and then and look at how long those companies have been around. If it doesn’t work for you, maybe you should move on and try some thing else.


#7

I would respectfully disagree with those who are critiquing the OP for mentioning that he uses SmartThings to notify when the door is open.

He specifically said that isn’t the only thing he does to supervise the child. Beyond that, there are many devices on the market for exactly this purpose – – to send an alert or sound a chime or a buzzer when a family member who is a “wanderer” Opens a door they’re not supposed to. This could be a young child or a senior family member with Alzheimer’s.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a family adding these systems to help them, and there’s nothing wrong with being frustrated when one fails to function as expected. :persevere:

As a medically fragile person I am well aware of the issues of having technology installed in the home that you really need and yet being worried about And an additional area vulnerability if it turns out not to be reliable. Beyond that, I have friends with a 6 year old child who wanders. It’s a challenge to any family.

Someone who is a landlord and installs monitoring equipment to spy on her tenants and writes about it has certainly created legal vulnerabilities for herself.

But someone who has a family member that wanders and rights that SmartThings is one of the things they tried to count on to help with that issue is unlikely to be adding more liabilities. They’re trying to solve a real problem with a product which is advertised for solving problems like that. (“Home Monitoring Kit,” “Protect what Matters Most,” etc)

I’d give the guy a break. :sunglasses:

JMO


#8

There was a known platform problem with routines not executing introduced at the same time as the platform problem that broke minimotes. It was posted on the status page.

http://status.smartthings.com

Identified - At approximately 5:30p EDT yesterday, we released an update that caused two separate issues related to execution of some Routines and button controller automations. We are working on a fix for both issues and will provide updates when it is complete.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #9

Respectfully, even an undergraduate therapist would point out that having “expectations” of someone or something doesn’t change reality.

But the opposite is different: There are nearly 4 years of posts here that provide enough data to set realistic expectations for new and old customers.

Not justifying any of SmartThings’s shortcomings, and not unsympathetic to your frustrations, but I am still surprised that folks keep arriving here with “expectations”.


#10

Dude, it’s called “marketing.” :wink:


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

Dude, it’s called pre-purchase research, consumer self-education, and caveat emptor.

This Community website is highly ranked in Google and fully available pre and post purchase.

Every product has “marketing”. Like those rubber balls filled with plastic beads that supposedly eliminate the need for laundry detergent. Or magic weight loss pills. Or wallets that protect you from credit card theft by blocking RFID signals… Scams are everywhere.


#12

I guess that means ST is a scam by your logic. I would agree. HaHa!!


#13

In the US in the 21st-century the law does not generally support “buyer beware.” Instead, we have “implied warranty” unless the product is specifically sold “as is.”

American consumers are not expected to have to do hours of research before buying a $99 product.

It doesn’t mean the scams aren’t out there. Of course they are. But if you paid with a credit card, you can probably get your money back.

Quite a bit of Amazon’s success has to do with consumer trust in knowing that they don’t have to do all the research ahead of time.

I’m not saying that they shouldn’t – – I’m just saying that “caveat emptor” is no longer a big part of our legal system.

http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/caveat-emptor-term.html


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #14

Perhaps it is more accurate just to say that “excessive marketing claims” are ubiquitous for every product category and industry. Otherwise “Consumer Reports”, Yelp, Amazon Ratings, consumer technology magazine reviews, etc., wouldn’t have any reason to exist.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #15

As can any SmartThings purchaser within the refund period.

There has yet to be a legal claim made against SmartThings for “false advertising” or other deceptive practices.

Anyhow… Nothing new here. Customers indeed are still being given inaccurate or incomplete “expectations” by SmartThings marketing and PR (including media outlets), but apparently not sufficiently inaccurate to be legally called “deceptive”. And that is what I claim is typical of nearly every industry, brand, and product to varying degrees.

You wouldn’t buy a car without research into its safety record. So why expect to trust the safety of your child to a system with publicly available reports of reliability issues?


(I got a hair cut from Alexa) #16

A $40,000 car with air bags cant save a kid 100% of the time in an accident. You think a $99 electronic box is rated to defend human life? You cannot abdicate your responsibility to protect your child to an electronic box. You can let them assist, and add layers of protection…but YOU are STILL 100% responsible. Lock the doors and cabinets…don’t tell us you’d watch your phone for an alert, but not your kid’s real life actions.


(Scott Alexander) #17

Isn’t it also then true that without repeated posts saying “Nope SmartThings still doesn’t do what it claims”, that this pre-purchase research becomes more difficult? If we get to the point where we criticize anyone who comes out and says SmartThings doesn’t yet do what it markets itself as, then we’ll have less complaints. As such research will suggest that perhaps the remaining older complaints are few and far betweeen and that the product is correctly marketed. So yeah as old as these posts can get for those of us who’ve posted them ourselves for a few years, they’re not wrong, and they’re presumably beneifical to the research you’re suggesting. Making explicit references to critical use cases may seem like hyperbole but having that explicit example posted may be what it takes to inform a casual consumer researching the product that the awesome use case they thought of for it may not be appropriate for the platform.


(Scott Alexander) #18

Nowhere was responsibility abdicated.

Risk was attempted to be mitigated by alerting on risky escape attempts. This risk mitigation involved a purchase of a product marketed to provide such mitigations. The product failed to perform those functions, and he’s letting those responsible know in a public manner…What’s the issue?


(Dan P Parker) #19

I won’t attempt to speak for anyone else, but for me the issue was this part:

The wording here places the blame for such a potential mishap…were it to happen…on ST. There’s a huge difference between saying that a secondary risk mitigation mechanism failed and saying that said failure was the proximal cause of a disaster.


(Dan P Parker) #20

In fact I should modify that to say that, in this case, ST should be the tertiary risk mitigation mechanism at most (the primary and secondary being watchful parenting and keeping the door locked).