Frustrated End User/Consumer


(Jam Dawz) #1

I had two goals: monitor my home remotely and simplify home security. As an early adopter of the SmartThings environment, I anticipated some minor bugs. I did not anticipate being a beta tester. I am not a coder nor do I have the time to learn to code for this system. This system is far from ready for consumer release. Nothing works right. The Smart Apps sometimes work, sometimes don’t. Our presence is rarely properly detected when we come and go. Therefore, we are plagued by false alarms. It wan’t easy for me to convince my wife to make this purchase. Now, I have a frustrated family and my two goals remain unattained. For the meantime, i will return to using my hardwired, non-monitored perimeter security system. I will continue my search for a hub to communicate with my installed sensors and eventually sell my useless SmartThings hub on eBay. My range of influence is not great, but I had several interested friends willing to jump on the SmartThings bandwagon. However, using social media and review sites, I will persuade them otherwise.


(Chrisb) #2

@dawz2,

Have you tried talking to support at all on your problems/issues? I guess I would say at least give them a chance to look into the problems before you write the whole system off as “useless.”

Beyond that, can you give some details on what’s you’re trying to do that isn’t working? What OS are you running on your phone? What SmartApps are you trying to run? Are you using presence tags or mobile presence?


(Jam Dawz) #3

Customer support has been the one bright spot. They have been responsive and helpful. I have the SmartThings app installed on 3 iOS 7 devices (iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5S)
Some of my issues:

  1. I use our 3 mobile presence sensors with Smart Apps to activate modes (Away vs Home). Very inconsistent results causing multiple false alarms. Sometimes, it will recognize my presence almost instantly (I have a massive geo fence). Most of the time, I can pull all the way up to my garage door and have to open the app before it senses my presence. Also, tried to create a Stay mode where if a specific mobile presence sensor (daughter) is present switch to Stay, but conflicted with the other mode switching Smart Apps.
  2. Setup 2 Multi Sensors as panic buttons. When they are tapped, The Flasher Smart App turns on my Siren. I have IFTTT set to call me every time the Siren is activated. Tested it and it worked. Tried to introduce this feature to my family and it failed. Tried again later and it worked once, but failed again at a different sensor.
  3. I use 2 motion sensors: 1 SmartThings brand and 1 Aeon Multi. The SmartThings motion sensor is EXTREMELY sensitive without the ability to adjust. More of a hardware issue rather than hub issue.
  4. I have the Schlage BE369NX and FE599NX locks on 2 different doors. The status of each is inconsistent and have to lock then unlock to get the corrected status. Customer support is aware of this issue and will eventually correct this issue, but it’s not a priority.
  5. Other Smart Apps that don’t consistently work: Double Tap (with GE on/off switch), Good Night (works the first night then quits. Uninstall and reinstall produced same results after 3 installs, Left It Open (worked when tested after first install then hasn’t worked the past 2 times the garage was left open).

This system would be useful if:

  1. My presence is accurately detected so the mode will switch from Away to Home.
  2. Switch the mode to Stay if my wife and I leave, but my daughter stays home.

(Cory S) #4

I had issues with the good night app for months, but a few weeks ago it started randomly working great.

Double tap is hit or miss, it relies on the switch being in direct communication with the hub rather than the mesh network, as that is the only way it can send commands. This is a zwave limitation.

A lot of your issues seem to be IOS presence related. I haven’t heard from anyone using presence an iOS that had anything very positive yo say about it. It is possible it is just a limitation of the platform, but I do t know enough about it to say.

Have you considered getting a presence tag?


(Jam Dawz) #5

“Randomly” and “hit or miss” = my frustration

I have considered the presence tag, but hesitate due to the following:

  1. The limited range and the time gap between presence checks would require me to pull up the garage door and wait patiently for the hub to “see” me. Might as well open the app and change modes manually.
  2. I don’t want to spend more money on this system (not sure if I could convince my wife).

(Cory S) #6

I get how you feel, I have another thread going about a letter of my frustrations I wrote the company on inconsistent performance. They are working to fox it, but I agree in that I should be already.

Presence.is tricky. The tags are on about a 20 second cycle. My android phones work great, and have never missed a mode change…but it seems some android phone models have a lot of issues too.


(Ben Edwards) #7

@JamDawz - I am one of the co-founders and am troubled by your experience. I would love to connect individually and discuss your use cases and experiences.

I will seek out your email address, but please feel free to reach out to me in the meantime at ben (youknowwhatsymbol) smartthings.com

Ben


(Wkmaylish) #8

@JamDawz – I had the same issue with false alarms as well, I would open my garage door and all of my devices would light up with alerts. I could not find a smartApp that fit my needs so I took the “Notify Me When” SmartApp and made a few enchancements.

I added a false alarm timer that delays the execution of the app by a time you can set (default is 60 seconds). I have yet to have a false alarm.

I also changed the message to “DEVICENAME is STATUS” (EX: “Garage Door is Open” or “Garage Motion is active”) Now I only have 2 security related SmartApps. One for night mode and one for away mode.

If you want, I could post the code for you to try.

**I am using the SmartSense Presence and not my cell for the presence part of this.


(Brianh) #9

I understand your frustration. There have been many times I have been frustrated trying to find a solution. The latency issues seem to be what is causing the most problem. The door open sensor will sometimes let me know exactly when a door open and then sometimes tells me an hour later. For example I was heading to the airport and it notified me my front door had opened when I was preflighting the plane over an hour later. Also, I finally decided to get my wife into using SmartThings. I bought a GE plug in dimmer for her lamp by her bed. The first time she used it the indicator on her phone when green and said “Turningon”. It stayed like that for 2 minutes. I told her to just wait and she did and it finally turned on.

Now she wants the lamp plugged back into the wall and the software taken off her phone.


(Jam Dawz) #10

Thank you, all, for the tips and discussion. I have been corresponding with a SmartThings rep about these issues. I will provide an update once we achieve resolution.


(Chrisb) #11

@dawz2,

1. I use our 3 mobile presence sensors with Smart Apps to activate modes (Away vs Home). Very inconsistent results causing multiple false alarms. Sometimes, it will recognize my presence almost instantly (I have a massive geo fence). Most of the time, I can pull all the way up to my garage door and have to open the app before it senses my presence. Also, tried to create a Stay mode where if a specific mobile presence sensor (daughter) is present switch to Stay, but conflicted with the other mode switching Smart Apps.
As Cory mentioned earlier, I haven't heard of anyone having issues with iOS mobile presence. I wonder if it's an iOS7 thing?
2. Setup 2 Multi Sensors as panic buttons. When they are tapped, The Flasher Smart App turns on my Siren. I have IFTTT set to call me every time the Siren is activated. Tested it and it worked. Tried to introduce this feature to my family and it failed. Tried again later and it worked once, but failed again at a different sensor.
Where you able to troubleshoot in the logs at all what was going on? Was the Hub seeing the tabs but not executing the program? Did the siren fail or did the IFTTT part fail or did they both fail? I wonder if the vibration wasn't enough to set it off. Another possibility could be lag due to Amazon server issues. Were you able to execute other smart apps at this time?
4. I have the Schlage BE369NX and FE599NX locks on 2 different doors. The status of each is inconsistent and have to lock then unlock to get the corrected status. Customer support is aware of this issue and will eventually correct this issue, but it’s not a priority.
There is supposed to be a newish Firmware out for the Hub that fixes a lot of these issues with the locks. I know when I got it, it helped a lot with my Kwikset. Ask support to make sure you have the newest firmware. After the new firmware is loaded you may have to unpair and re-pair the locks to see the changes.
5. Other Smart Apps that don’t consistently work: Double Tap (with GE on/off switch),
Again as Cory mentioned, it might be that you are too far from the Hub. Double Tap is supposed to only works if the device is in direct communication with the hub. A zwave limitation unfortunately. Furthermore, it's important to get the rhythm right on it. Don't double tap like you would when double clicking a mouse button (ie, two quick taps). You need to pause slightly between taps. Do it like you're counting off seconds... Say: "1, Mississippi, 2" and tap on the one and two.
2. Switch the mode to Stay if my wife and I leave, but my daughter stays home.
I haven't played with modes too much myself, but I guess the "conflicting with other mode swtiching apps" is where I'd start looking. I'm guessing that you want the 'Stay' to over ride other mode changes. For instance, if you have a mode change that goes from day to night at 9:00pm and then back to day at 6:00am, this mode change should NOT happen if mode 'Stay' is currently active.

If that’s the issue I guess I’d look at adjusting the conditionals that trigger the mode change. Probably the cleanest way, if it’s possible, would be for the mode change apps to look at which mode is currently active and if it sees Stay is active then it DOESN’T change mode. Like I said, I haven’t played with modes myself much at all, so I don’t know if such a thing is possible.


(Jam Dawz) #12

@chrisb

As Cory mentioned earlier, I haven’t heard of anyone having issues with iOS mobile presence. I wonder if it’s an iOS7 thing?

It might be. The SmartThings rep mentioned only a few of the thousands of iOS users have experienced my issues.

Where you able to troubleshoot in the logs at all what was going on? Was the Hub seeing the tabs but not executing the program? Did the siren fail or did the IFTTT part fail or did they both fail? I wonder if the vibration wasn’t enough to set it off. Another possibility could be lag due to Amazon server issues. Were you able to execute other smart apps at this time?

I’m not sure how or where to check logs. Even if I did, I’m not sure I would know what to do with the logs. The siren was never switched on, therefore the IFTTT command did not execute. I did test the setup multiple times with repeating positive results, but failed during the introduction of this feature to my family.

There is supposed to be a newish Firmware out for the Hub that fixes a lot of these issues with the locks. I know when I got it, it helped a lot with my Kwikset. Ask support to make sure you have the newest firmware. After the new firmware is loaded you may have to unpair and re-pair the locks to see the changes.

The issues with my locks occur after I contacted SmartThings and received the most recent hub firmware.

Again as Cory mentioned, it might be that you are too far from the Hub. Double Tap is supposed to only works if the device is in direct communication with the hub. A zwave limitation unfortunately. Furthermore, it’s important to get the rhythm right on it. Don’t double tap like you would when double clicking a mouse button (ie, two quick taps). You need to pause slightly between taps. Do it like you’re counting off seconds… Say: “1, Mississippi, 2″ and tap on the one and two.

Originally, I was able to setup the Double Tap App and it worked (with the delay between taps). The inconsistency occurs at a later point in time (1 hour or 1 day) when the app decides to stop executing regardless of the delay between taps.

Unfortunately, I’m an Apple user who has bought the It-Just-Works mantra and have transferred that expectation to the other gadgets in my life!


(Chris Cooney) #13

@JamDawz

I held off on the IOS7 upgrade for now and can say the mobile presence has been a bit less consistent than I’d like as well. It normally works, but I was on the phone (4s) one time arriving home and it never recognized me. A second time the log showed I left, but Bon Voyage never triggered changing the mode. The presence sensors have been spot on, but I’m not convinced the mobile presence is quite fully baked yet.

I held off on any siren integration for this reason. It’s one thing to get a rogue alert on our phones, quite another for a siren going off sending our dogs into full-on spaz mode. There are other posts regarding latency issues, etc and I have been impressed with Support response. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time and product maturity.


(Mike T) #14

I applaud the company for pioneering the usage of these devices and their approach to making it easy and consumer-friendly. But I want to make clear, and especially since the forums seem to be monitored by Smartthings as evident in the comments, that I agree 100% the devices are not ready for the general consumer market. I add this so the OP’s comments aren’t dismissed as the dissatisfaction of an isolated user; I think his problems are shared my many if not most. I probably have a bit more pain tolerance than the OP and intend to continue using the devices. I expect they will continue to get better and offer more features. But I’ll put it this way; I’ll use it, but I wouldn’t want my mom to try to.


(Pmsmaker) #15

@mikeT - Well said. A general lack of communication does not help either.


(James Yong) #16

I started trying out smartthings a few days ago and I’ve spotted quite a few potential issues as faced here by other users.

  1. The presence fobs use zigbee (2.4ghz). Being in the bay area, a high saturation of 2.4ghz devices is not unexpected. Packet loss is very high even with consumer grade 2.4ghz wifi devices, and is expectedly much more with low powered 2.4ghz devices like zigbee. I too experience intermittent presence detection with my unit, even in a small house. I would think that any platform relying solely on zigbee and not on the 900mhz spectrum would require much more support when deployed in urban homes.

  2. Lack if essential zwave features. Most of my devices are zwave based (9xx mhz) and work great with my previous setup. Seeing that smartthings is on sales channels such as Amazon, I would expect it to be a consumer ready product. However, it is obviously missing many critical features, by observation of the iphone/android and online dashboards. Most painfully, the inability to “unpair” and “repair” a zwave device. Zwave devices which have been paired with another base hub before must be unpaired before pairing again with smartthings. I do not have the old hub, and smartthings does not have that basic functionality anywhere in its apps.

  3. Glitchy device status. I happen to have a spare aeon door sensor which paired successfully. However, the open/close status is stuck at Open.

  4. high latency. Beeping the presence fob takes 7 seconds from phone to fob. I hope turning on/off lamps would be faster than this.
    .
    I’ve had some emails sent, possibly expecting a response next week. Compared to other solutions like MiCasa, I really like the direction smartthings is taking (except the use of zigbee and the latency issues). Hope a solution does exist. Cheers


(James Yong) #17

Edit: Finally found the ability to unpair devices. Hub list -> Your hub -> General utilities -> Z-Wave Exclude.

However, to get into pair mode, I’ve got to get to my phone app. Visualise the user, requiring to use 2 different consoles coz features in 1 console does not exist in the other, running around the house trying to get devices paired.

Maybe, have a comprehensive list of features in a common location. If I look at a hub list and select a hub, all possible actions should be on that page, possibly including a tree view of devices connected to that hub while at it. :slight_smile:


(Jeremy Whittaker) #18

I agree with a lot of these issues as I’ve been experiencing them myself.

I’m not sure what was done in the android update last week. However since then the proximity sensors on my dogs have been incorrectly reporting them as away when they are not. It would be nice if that smart app had the added functionality of an amount of time before it detected them as away.

Another major problem is the proximity sensors on our phones. As of last week’s update they are inconsistent and you have to touch the app to refresh it to report you’re home. A very simple fix would be for the smart app to have the option. "When I connect to this wireless network _____, I’m home. This should save tons of battery life always trying to find my position. Proximity seems to be a major source of complaints by users from what I’ve read and this seems like an easy fix.

I would also like to add I’m a geek so I can tolerate cool gadgets not always working 100% off the time. That being said even I’m growing frustrated with something as simple as the sunrise sunset mode change not working consistently for over a month now (ticket opened a while ago). This is such an easy basic program it baffles me that it is still not working. What is even more frustrating is waking up on random mornings and setting off my siren because it never comes out of sleep mode with sunrise. Further when I try to shut off the alarm I cannot. My guess would be because my alarm trigger flashes all the lights in my house. I believe my hub is overloaded with commands. The alarm off gets stuck in queue for a good 3-5 minutes. Very annoying if you know how loud these things are.

I would go on about the inconsistency of the thermostat. But I’ll save that for a other post.


(Dave) #19

I’ve been holding off on spending a lot of time pending ST’s full support of my Schlage Nexia door lock. At this point I doubt full support will ever come. It seems cosmetic things like changing the look of the icons is more important offering full support for a device they claim to support.

If anyone is interested in my package, Make me an offer.

Hub
2 presence
2 multi’s
1 ST power outlet
1 motion detector


#20

@jamesyong I encountered the Aeon door/window contact problem before and the suggested fix is to change the Type in the Device settings to Schlage Contact Sensor.