Device Improvement Ideas?

So I’ve been lurking on the forums for about a year and have picked up quite a bit of great knowledge. I have also become quite addicted to smart technology overall, especially SmartThings.

With my new found passion, I’m thinking of taking it to the next level by developing improved/new hardware with an emphasis on SmartThings. I’ve built tech manufacturing companies in the past, so I know its communities like these that drive innovation and not the executive team sitting around a conference room table.

That being said, I’d be curious to hear feedback on what’s missing in the industry. Would be great to learn more about the hardware you use and what its lacking. Would also be great to hear about new devices of which a solution doesn’t exist.

Thanks in advance, and hoping this makes sense to pursue.

I think the first question is whether you intend to get third-party certification for the protocols that work locally with SmartThings, specifically Zwave or Zigbee 3.0/ZHA. Either adds both constraints and complexity to the development process, but can also widely increase the market. :sunglasses:

For myself, the devices I would most like to see are pretty straightforward:

  1. A locally operable button pusher without a monthly fee, like either Naran Pushbot or Switchbot

  2. an in wall outlet Spec’d for standard US code (15A) where each outlet is individually controllable. (HomeKit has this, but at the present time there isn’t one that works with smart things directly)

  3. an in wall outlet Spec’d for US code for higher draw appliances, specifically 20 A

  4. an all in one dual switch in a single gang form such as the now discontinued Leviton VRCS2. These tend to be popular in bathrooms where one switch operates the lights and the other operates an extractor fan.

  5. an All in one zwave switch which controls both fan speed and fan light kit in a single gang form. There is a zigbee option from Hampton Bay, but nothing for Z wave.

  6. A keypad hardened for exterior use which also has NFC tags for use by kids. Zipato has a nice one but it needs to be put in a case if you use it outdoors.

  7. A video doorbell that works with both smartthings and HomeKit. It should have a two way audio intercom and the ability to view on demand (not just one triggered by the motion sensor)


Great feedback, thank you. I can see you’ve already put some thought into this :slight_smile:

Others, please feel free to comment on others suggestions as well. Would be curious to see how many share the same needs.

Thanks again.

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Love JD’s list and as always I appreciate him sharing his knowledge. I personally think new HW isn’t the most pressing need. The most pressing need is robustness, and a settling of the transition to the new Samsung platform and mobile app. With Zwave, Zigbee, and cloud devices supported and the new api using standard node.js the sky is the limit. And with @ogiewon’s Arduino toolkit just about anyone can make bespoke things to work with ST. Let’s just hope the new environment won’t break this flexibility even though rumors are that it will.


Three observations regarding devices, as gleaned from the Samsung Developers Conference 2018:

  1. Device to SmartThings Cloud integrations will be easier; due to a “developer kit” (set of libraries) that build the framework right in the IDE. This kit is currently only available for Artik and Broadcom, rPi demonstrated, and hopefully other MCU’s planned, but not announced (the current libraries in the dev kit might be a little too heavyweight for ESP chips, etc). These are direct Device to SmartThings Cloud - no hub is required, and no self-hosted cloud is required.

  2. The Developer Kit is not yet available for Device-to-Hub integrations, but will be launched for Z-Wave, ZigBee, and IP. No hint of Bluetooth or Thread yet.

  3. All Devices must conform to a Capability. Ad hoc Attributes and Commands will no longer be permitted. If an existing Capability is insufficient, there will be (is?) a process to request a new Capability. I highly doubt this process will be efficient. If 4 manufacturers are working on similar devices (e.g., an automated window washer?), I’m certain it will be impossible to get them to agree on the same definition for the Capability on the same timeline. One will win, and the others (and their customers) will suffer. That’s why the current Capability “Window Shade” doesn’t support a “tilt(%)” Command.

  4. The above 3 bullets don’t address the UI for a Device. The UI builder is a separate tool and much richer than the current limited “tiles” available to a DTH. The new SmartThings App will automatically (?) generate a UI based on the claimed Capabilities of the Device (hence why standard Capabilities are important); though custom UIs can be assigned per manufacturer / model as well.

The above is based on limited information - and a lot of it has changed in non-trivial ways since SDC 2017. We can thus infer it will keep changing.


I’d like to see a combination fan switch and humidity sensor suitable for use in the bathroom. Right now I have to tie in a switch, humidity sensor, and a WebCore piston to make it all work. Most times it works, sometimes not. Something self-contained with user-definable humidity setpoints would be great.

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I think it would be cool to see a device that could open windows. Also a sliding door lock.


Add on Z-Wave device and battery for common branded vertical blinds. Motorized blinds are soo expensive. It would be great to be able to buy a ZIgbee/Z-Wave module to retrofit blinds we already own. We need something in between DIY-3D printing and $700 a window solution.

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Reportedly IKEA has motorized blinds coming In a few months (they already have FCC approval) that will probably be under $150 per window. It’s very likely that they will work with the hue bridge, so you could probably get smartthings integration that way. They may also work with HomeKit. In any case, they should put some downward pressure on prices from competing brands. :sunglasses:

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