Forced to a subscription fee?

I’ve heard many good things about smartthings. But before I spend thousands on “things” throughout my house, I have a theory. My theory is that smart things will implement a required subscription fee for users in order to use smart things later on down the line. My main reason for wanting smartthings is because it doesn’t require a subscription. Is there anything that states they cannot force a subscription fee later on? Or if they do what options do we have? Will we be forced with the options to either pay the fee or get rid of Smartthings? I read somewhere that starting 2016 there will be a 5$/month fee for “Premium” users (not sure what a premium user is).

1 Like

Thank you for the quick response. So if I understand correctly, legally Smartthings CAN implement a subscription fee to all users later on if they so choose to. However they claim that they won’t because of ethical reasons? This kind of makes me want to look elsewhere for a home automation. Why is it in the terms and conditions if they don’t want to reserve that right?


That premium services is for recorded video and external home monitoring. They feel very strongly about not charging for anything that they offer now. Although your concern is valid I think you have more of a chance of not having to pay a fee here compared to any other HA and ST is way ahead of the curve compared to most other HA systems.

1 Like

Hi Craig, and thank you for the response. I wasn’t sure what the premium service was. I currently have a QSee camera system that works with my smartphone. So I guess the premium service isn’t necessary for my situation. You are basically saying that if I look elsewhere for home automation I will run into the same issue with the possibility of a forced subscription fee, just without the statement that it won’t happen from CEO “Alex Hawkingson”

That or a severely limited experience. You’d be hard pressed to find a competitor that doesn’t charge a subscription and is worth your time. ST is both.

I’m more saying that of the HA systems that are mainstream most of them already charge or just aren’t up to snuff. If you look through the community there’s a lot of people who say how things don’t work, but if you really ask them, they will all say they love STs they just demand more and the community is VERY active.

based on my conversations with STs employees and what I’ve read as far as they see today their plan is to offer premium services for add-ons (like video recording and home monitoring) that are both a cost center to them and a potential revenue generator.

They do NOT have a plan to charge normal customers for using STs today, but to be fair no one knows what will happen in 2, 3, 4 years down the road. Who knows security protocols might be created (considering these systems control access to our house) by the government and fees will be charged to meet that requirement. So keeping an out is a smart business move leaving options for the unknowns down the road.

I accept your challenge :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: . I will look around to see what others offer (better safe than sorry). From what you are saying chances are that I will be back here and getting ST.

Don’t forget the “and is worth your time” bit. :wink:


There are no plans (short or long term) to implement a required monthly fee to use SmartThings.

We are planning on releasing a variety of premium features, starting with streaming video, that may have a monthly fee associated with them.

That is a very good point. If I do end up getting ST I won’t feel as concerned thanks to you!

Hi Tyler, and thank you for the response. The only ‘gray area’ I have is that I don’t understand why there is a monthly fee or premium features? I currently have a camera system that streams video without a monthly fee. Many devices stream video without a fee (another one that comes to mind is Nucleus). My gut tells me that this is a way to introduce the monthly fee and eventually have all users pay a fee, but I am speaking too soon. I’d have to see what is included with the monthly fee before jumping to conclusions.

It costs money to run the hardware to store the video clips and stream them back to you.

The (future) fee for our streaming video service is in place as you’d be using our cloud systems to store the video clips. This is different than having the ability to pull up a live stream.

There’s a very real cost for us associated with storing and managing all of that data.


Ohh I see, I didn’t think of the videos being stored on the cloud, I assumed it was stored locally in the house. I do like the idea of storing video on a cloud rather than locally where it is vulnerable

Yes, absolutely. Whether or not they would choose to is not an ethical issue – It is one of whether or not they feel it would breach the trust of their customers and/or set a poor reputation for the company.

The implementation of a fee across the board would upset many people, but the choice would ultimately be a business decision, not an “ethical” one.

“Business Ethics” is an oxymoron.

1 Like

As stated…the premium fee seems to be a fee for the cost of storage. However, I would also be careful about thinking anything in the “cloud” is secure. The most secure any video would be is on an SD card in your hand not connected to any networked devices.

For this reason I am getting an SD card for my Samsung Smartcam rather than store on any cloud. We often trade convenience for security so its up to you to determine what the value of each may be.

The value of this configuration is questionable if burglars steal or severely vandalize your camera(s), of course.

The greatest benefit to cloud-based video storage is availability of the replay, even in case of a fire of mysterious origin; your camera(s) might reveal the starting point. Then again, maybe you don’t want your insurance company to be able to subpoena this evidence.


Premium fees will apply to all video streaming, not just online storage/recording?

Real Home automation gear does not force a subscription fee. Crestron and AMX both will never charge a subscription fee for the automation systems. when you buy it it’s yours forever and all the functions you paid for work forever. The only time I have ever seen a “fee” was alarm monitoring, by a service. self monitoring is always free.

Granted it’s real home automation stuff and not a toy like smartthings, so you pay significantly more.