For Smartthings Staff: App development plan

I think many of us want to know the general development plan for the new app.

More specifically, will there be a version of the app which tackles the slow loadup and response time or is the current status the future?

There are many things in Smartthings I love. There are many things in Smartthings I can live with, but the slow response is overshadowing everything. My whole family has now stopped using the app, which is a sad reality.

From a general user perspective it is critical to focus on fixing the app and not add new features. So if someone from Smartthings could inform us of what to expect then it would be greatly appriciated.

Regards,

Magnus

We don’t have a straight answer on what is replacing the IDE and how. Are we all wasting our time developing custom capabilities for our legacy DTHs or not? Who knows.

We don’t have a straight answer on when rebranded hardware from aeotec will be available, or if previously announced products like smartthings access will be revived through this new deal and finally be released.

We don’t have a straight answer on the camera capability and why it isn’t available and if there are any plans to make it available. This one has been known ever since the new app came out years ago and I don’t think it’s ever been commented on.

What about the galaxy home? Lol

Etc.

There is almost zero communication or transparency from ST and Samsung on any issue, users of this forum had to dig and speculate on the hardware being out of stock for weeks before any official announcement was made.

A slow app? That’s not the problem.

I think this is a Samsung corporate issue, because we have amazing staff on the forum here who really do care about helping people with their integrations, but I think their hands are tied a bit on the communication front.

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I understand your point but I ask you to move to 30,000 feet. Up there then nothing can be more important than if the frontend meets the basic requirements of regular users.

Without a properly working front end then everything else is pointless, and I am not undermining the importance of your points, as it is just being used by nerds like us.

Samsung has to have a roadmap and development plans, and I can understand they can not reveal them all. So in order to make it even simpler to answer then:

Can we expect the app to become considerably faster in startup and response in 2021?

@MagnusBergs Tell me more about your setup and I’d be happy to offer some recommendations for increasing the speed at which your home page loads.

Examples:

  • Type of phone/device you use.
  • Hub version in use.
  • Device Count.
  • Local vs. Cloud Execution of DTH count.
  • How many of your devices are lights?
  • Etc.

Yes.

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Hi Garrett,

Be happy to share my setup:

  1. Iphone 12 Pro Max
  2. Hub is 2.0
  3. Total devices is 138
  4. 104 are cloud, so 34 local. I can lower the cloud number by 41 by changing Tradfri light bulbs from using the custom IKEA-Tradfri" DTH (cloud) to using “ZigBee White Color Temperature Bulb” DTH (is local).
  5. I have 51 Ikea Tradfri light bulbs controlled by 15 switches (most are 2 gang).
  6. I have 11 Sonoff Basics to control my underfloor heating valves.
  7. 2 Sonos speakers.
  8. Rest is a combination of virtual switches, Door sensors and outlet switches.
  9. Fiber cable network with about 100mb up and download speed, running on a Logitech Deco mesh wifi setup.

Any other information you need I will be happy to share.

@MagnusBergs Thanks for this info.

I don’t want to catch flak for this, but the App loads faster on Android/Samsung. This is always being worked on and is of course subject to change. I also use iPhone, but I have a simple 2020 Galaxy A20 as well for testing. Not saying go buy a Samsung/Android immediately, just the simple fact that at this very moment it loads faster on one platform vs. another.

No concerns here.

You should adjust this as soon as you can if you are worried about speed. In addition to being Cloud executing, this DTH was not really maintained well if it is the version I assume it is.

Have you used the “Lighting Group” functionality? I would recommend this strongly based on the composition of your setup. A home page of exclusively Lighting Groups and Scenes should load up almost instantly, even on iOS.

The rest of your items sound fine.

I don’t mean to pick on you, but I’m sure others will read this and coincidently you’ve provided almost a perfect example of an account that could use some simple maintenance steps to perform better. The quantity of unnecessarily cloud-executing DTHs on your Location is extremely large and this is adversely impacting speed.

I look at SmartThings user’s accounts everyday and this is a common theme among all legacy users. If you are reading this and are worried about speed:

  • Check your DTHs, are you using a custom DTH for something that is now stock and locally executing?
  • Check your Cloud to Cloud items, are you still using an old SmartApp or something custom to control services that are now integrated officially through C2C integrations? A common example I see for this is TP Link or LIFX.
  • How are you managing your home page? I never used Classic really, but I recall the home page there being Routines and “Favorites” only. The rest you had to click into elsewhere (aka hiding the load time). Are you managing your new App home page the same way? If not, how could you be? Hiding unused Rooms, SmartApps, Devices, etc. They are still accessible for when you infrequently need them.
  • Delete unused Device Type Handlers and SmartApps via the IDE.

Hope this helps you and anyone else who might read over this.

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OMG… I am going to throw flak your way and that is all I am going to say on this.

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Would this really make a difference in the speed of the app?

@troy_owens I haven’t done a pure test of this, but in general this is good idea. If only to prevent future devices from enrolling and typing to something outdated (or not enrolling at all due to a “stale” DTH) and reducing the latency in the call to produce your list of SmartApps (Home > Main Menu > SmartApps).

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Thanks Garrett. This is something that had never crossed my mind.

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Garrett, first, thanks for entertaining this thread :slight_smile:

Can you elaborate on why this would make a difference? As far as I know the app communicates with the ST cloud. So why would a hub connected device being cloud vs local make a difference since the app is making calls to the cloud and not the hub?

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I debated entering this one, and when the Bama/OSU game turned into a blowout, I figured why not.

To be clear, this will have a minimal impact on an individual device tile being loaded. When we’re talking about the above example, and 40+ lights are cloud-executing when they could be local, the actual actuation/control of these devices via the App will be quicker and more accurate. Since in this use case (and most) we’re talking about time elapsed between App Launch -> the device I want to control has verified to me via the App that it has been controlled, this matters. This will also of course benefit actuations that occur while viewing the App, through like someone adjusting the light or switch locally, providing faster/more accurate current state while viewing/controlling. Add this up on many devices and on the cascading impact across your entire Location setup, there will be a performance bump.

There is also the concern of DTHs that have not been touched in awhile in terms of being outdated/borderline obsolete, which I feel like is a good description of any old IKEA DTHs (and many I observe on accounts on a daily basis) that were previously needed. If they haven’t been optimized for the new App (a lot of developers are actively doing this or have done this and I’m not talking about those) they’re going to be clunky and slow. They may not have correct data to show in the plug-in (which results in fallback data being fetched to populate the plug-in, etc) which impacts latency in the case of going from App Launch -> Click Device tile -> Device plug-in.

I won’t claim to have all the answers for improving speed, and obviously there is still work being done, but I have never not used the new SmartThings App. I used Classic a few times just to see what the fuss was about. I have 91 devices on my Location (including the Hub).

People who have been around for awhile are generally those who have serious speed issues. The suggestions I mention above, when taken and performed as a whole, should have noticeable benefits. Individually probably less so (unless we’re talking a complete re-org of your Home page).

I’ve seen many people on here and on Facebook mention that Factory Resetting their Hub and starting from scratch with a new Location has helped resolve many of their issues. What’s done when you follow that procedure (provided you also delete your Location separately or as part of Hub Reset) is that:

  • Old/unused DTHs are removed and everything you re-enroll is typed appropriately according to what is currently offered and being actively maintained. Many things that used to require custom DTHs can run locally now.
  • Old/unused SmartApps are deleted.
  • You are then using the newest C2C integrations instead of legacy/custom SmartApps.
  • Maybe some mesh networking benefits that I’m not really sure how to properly articulate. This shouldn’t have App Loading impact, but instead have actuation/status/control/Automation execution benefits.

(Disclaimer: Not saying you should Reset your Hub and start over, just that those who have mention this has helped them. The same items I mentioned above are what is actually happening to achieve these benefits).

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Hi Garrett,

Thank you for all your advices, excluding swapping to Android - That will never happen!

Understand / agree with everything you are talking about except light grouping. Have some questions and comments. The way i manage a group of light bulbs is by creating a virtual dimmer switch and then use Smart Lighting to have a group of bulbs mirror the virtual dimmer switch. Will changing this affect performance?

Both options sadly lack Color Temperature control, which is kind of surprising.

Have also tried setting up one of the bulb as “master” bulb and then have the others mirror, thinking i could get temperature control, but that also does not work.

At some point I also tried Trend, but that also was problematic.

Light grouping has its own set of issues. You cant move them into rooms, you cant call upon them via virtual switches, and when dimming the slider often jumps around.

So changing from using virtual switches and mirroring behavior has high cost in terms of usability.

Also, for your information then on my homepage i am only showing the light switch and virtual dimmer switch for each room. Everything else is hidden.

I will try these changes and test after each change. Will report back my findings.

yeah, the Cons of Lighting Groups really outweigh the Pros. Faster loading in the app and hub level group broadcast commands are nice, but thats about it. We’re over a year into having lighting groups and nothing has been done to get them added to Automations, scenes, adding color functions, exposing them to APIs, etc. They were exciting and first, but a pretty big flop at this point.

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maybe you need a samsung/android phone :wink: :sunglasses:

I use a Samsung S8. The Classic app was fast and responsive. The new app is slow to start, slow to update, and slow to show things. Sometimes the history tab of a device lags behind actual event by seconds to minutes.

And you are saying it is worse on an iPhone?

This would be most common with Zigbee devices where lots of devices were added slowly over time and repeaters filled their child slots with the ones that joinEd the network earlier rather than the ones that would now be the most efficient. That is, the most efficient repeater was not available as a parent when a new device joined the network because it already had all the children it could handle. Rebuilding the mesh from scratch would fix this.

This is unlikely to be a problem with Z wave plus devices because over time the explorer frames will correct these kinds of issues and find new routes.

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To add to this Garrett, in our tests here we found gigantic improvements in the response times when ghost/dead devices were removed from the mesh - to the tune of up to 30 seconds reducing in time in some bad cases, outlined here: FAQ: How to remove ghost devices from your z-wave and zigbee networks

I suspect resetting the hub may be doing that. I would recommend folks to try and clear out these ghost/orphaned devices from the mesh before resetting the hub.

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Your note implies there is no easy way (I’m assuming outside of HUE) to synch color temperature across multiple devices. Is that true?