Decision tree: Vera Edge or Smartthings Hub (or Homekit?)


(Gregory Fleming) #1

I’m not sure if I’m in the right place, but hope so. Thanks for reading.

I have built a home automation system with Vera lite. In an unlikely scenario, I am splitting off into two locations: The Vera lite will likely now go to Location B, along with a bunch of automated stuff I have running.

The original location, Location A, will therefore need a new hub. So I’ll likely get Vera Edge, or a Smartthings Hub. Seems to me I should get just an Edge for now, since I don’t have any non-Zwave parts. I am thinking of decking out my home with Philips lightstrips, in which case I will need something that can talk to both systems right? I hear that this community is awesome in terms of support, development, etc, so I am considering this option.

So can anyone advocate one direction or the other?

I should mention that my world is full of Apple devices, from Macs to iPads and iPhones to Apple TV. I am hopeful that HomeKit will not suck. Please feel free to weigh in on that.

Thanks!


(Mike Maxwell) #2

homeKit will suck for the foreseeable future…


(Joshua Lyon (SharpTools.io Dashboard)) #3

I came from a Vera Lite upon recommendation from friend. While I didn’t really have a need to move over to SmartThings, my friend was convinced that the developer community was awesome and that the product was headed in the right direction and recommended I switch platforms.

When I first switched over to SmartThings, I was impressed by how easy it was to set things up and how well all of my existing Z-Wave devices integrated. I was a bit disappointed at first to find that there was no support for widgets or Tasker integration on Android, but I got over it and wrote SharpTools which solved both those needs.

While there are definitely some rough edges, I’ve found the platform to be more enjoyable to use than Vera. The development language, Groovy, is very natural for Java (or even C#) developers and I found myself able to quickly start knocking out apps. While some people would argue that the developer documentation still has room for improvement, I have found the documentation to be well written and @Jim is doing a great job filling in the gaps.

Perhaps best of all, the SmartThings community is a great group of users, developers, and enthusiasts that are willing to provide feedback and help others out. While SmartThings officially supports a large number of devices, there are many devices they don’t support and the community often steps in to put together community developed device types and SmartApps.


(Gregory Fleming) #4

Thanks for this link. Frustrating to see my general sense outlined there, many options, many paths, potentials for pitfalls, some happy, some very unhappy, etc. Will keep reading. I can definitely see myself waiting to see if HomeKit catches on, and if so, wait for a “2.0” improved iteration.


(Gregory Fleming) #5

Thank you for your thoughtful post. I gather from this that you’re a tinkerer on an order much higher than I wish to be! I don’t really want to get into nuts and bolts coding at this point, if I have to, being that “Location B” already has a working PLEG setup, and “Location A” has very basic needs at this point, like turning on lights and heaters based on times and temperatures, and maybe a webcam or two, and a few scene-based lights. The next addition to the home may well be those Hue lightstrips or maybe some simple lighting scenes, like dimming lights when TV is being watched. Can I accomplish this without going to the level you have?

Also, the big complaint from z-wave community regarding SmartThings is the issue of needing to be connected to the internet. Can you address that?


#6

It is true that ST is all cloud based, but Hub 2.0 promises local services:

I think the big complaint is that reliability with ST’s cloud in the past was a major problem due a lot to growing pains, but that has improved. There are still a lot of things that need attention (just look at some of the discussion threads like scheduler issues). ST has improved a lot over the last year and a half, and it continues to get better. You just need to be patient at times (and times).


(Geko) #7

If you’re not interested in writing customs apps or plug-ins, I’d recommend considering Staples Connect. It works with most Z-Wave devices and is not dependent on Internet, i.e. can be controlled locally using mobile app. But it also provides remote control over the Internet using either mobile app or a web portal (something that ST does not have). It also works with Philips Hue, Honeywell thermostats and some other 3-rd party devices. Check it out:

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/staples-connect/


(Stephen) #8

I must agree that Staple Connect is very responsive and reliable. Unfortunately for me it lacks one major function, geofencing. But @geko is correct, better reliability by far.


#9

Yep, they achieved their stability in part by throwing out anything that might cause instability. So no IFTTT, no geofencing, limited device set (and most of those the more expensive devices in their category), etc.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

And ZigBee and Lutron Clear Connect. (And BLE and WiFi?).

http://www.staples.com/D-LINK-STAPLES-CONNECT-HUB/product_1181115?cmArea=home_box1


#11

This community is definitely awesome, but the SmartThings/Hue official integration is not, as yet, awesome. (See forum discussions.)

If you go from Vera to SmartThings you will find some things you like better and some things you like a lot worse. Vera supports more zwave command sets than SmartThings does, particularly with regard to scene replication.

There is no one perfect plug and play home automation solution yet. In fact, there aren’t even any really good ones. There are several that are in the “interesting” stage (SmartThings is one), and several that are in the “works well for what it does, but doesn’t do everything I want” stage (this is where HomeKit and Amazon Echo are right now).

The SmartThings vision, staff, and community are all great. But you’re going to need them. So there’s that.

When it comes down to the philosophy of “You have to be patient,” my usual response is “No, actually, I don’t.” If there are better alternatives, I use those. If there aren’t, I wait impatiently with what I’ve got. :wink:

Right now, ST is the best option for me for my door lock management, because I want handsfree deadbolt control from both sides of the door, and most systems limit you to geofence crossing. (I’m quadriparetic.) So I use SmartThings for that–indoors, I have a zigbee motion sensor used as a touchless switch to actuate a zwave doorlock. Very few other systems let me set that up. But I’m not patient about anything else–I moved all my lights to Amazon Echo/Philips apps, for example.

So it all comes down to the details of what you want and need.


#12

Staples Connect has the antennas, but that doesn’t mean all certified devices of that protocol work with it.

See their forum discussions of motion sensors, for example. Only specific brands work with their rules engine, even if the device pairs successfully.

https://staplesconnect.zendesk.com/hc/communities/public/questions/202790770-Motion-Sensor-not-Auto-Triggering-Light-Events


#13

Your point is right in that you don’t have to be patient. It all depends on expectations and requirements of the product by the customer. At this point I’ve invested too much to want to think about another solution, but can if needed. While I’m close to making ST a normal part of our home, I can change. I just haven’t seen anything that makes me want to, so that’s where my patience comes in for ST, or for the next better mousetrap.


#14

I’ve not seen anything on the market now that would make me jump. Revo had me interested, but I’m glad I didn’t make the purchase given their fate. However, I see a few potential options being promoted for future release that have me wondering if ST will be able to compete. On their end all I have learned is that a V2 hub is coming that will probably help with current issues while offering some options I likely won’t buy. Unless Samsung has something in their back pocket I’m not sure a new hub and redesigned sensors will be sufficient to entice new adopters.