Giving limited access with Stringify

I’ve been trying to find a solution to give my kids access to a few lights and switches in the house without giving them total access to SmartThings. I couldn’t really find much on the forums besides action tiles, but that cost money. And that stupid Iris Button is garbage.

With Stringify, I was able to accomplish this for free and give my kids a bit of their own independence or freedom to create their own rules regarding their lights. I had them create their own Stringify accounts and now if they want they, can utilize the Time function to set the lights to fade on when it’s time to get up in the morning or whatever floats their boats.

Tip: When adding SmartThings as a Thing to Stringify, make sure you select everything, don’t try to limit access yet. Once you’re done with that part, go back to the Things tab where you should see all your devices from SmartThings and long hold one of the lights or switches and you will see a little x pop up in the corner of most of the Things that were added, remove what ever you don’t want them to have access to… Then learn how to make some flows…

Satisfied customer here.

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It is great to have a range of options and I can’t claim to know what the best solution is for you: Stringify provides some amazing options; often called IFTTT on steroids … or at least spinach.

But in the interest of making sure folks can make an informed decision, I must, respectfully, point out:

  • The time it takes to create and share a simple limited access Panel in ActionTiles is trivial compared to the relative complexity of Stringify. Time = money. Our customers find that $28.99 is more than an excellent value for the time saved and the powerful secure dashboard Panel builder they get in return. The $28.99 single Hub License can be used to created an unlimited number or Panels to be shared with an unlimited number of household members, friends, or family at no extra charge. As the product continually improves, Customers find more and more value.

  • You are not a “customer” of Stringify. You are a source of data, just as are members of Facebook, Gmail users, and other “free” products. While I am also impressed with the Stringify tool, they need to earn money like any other business. Their users are their product: Not their app. Of course folks are generally aware of this, I known. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

  • Stringify failed as a business, burning through over $9 million in funding over roughly 3 years. Perhaps charging a fee for the app might have been path to long term success. Instead, they were rescued for a pittance by Comcast Xfinity Home; possibly just for the talent, or possibly to roll the technology into Comcast’s monthly fee-based services. At which point, the public app is pretty darn likely to be shut down … though it would not be unheard of for it to be kept live for an ongoing beta environment or user behavior data collection.

ActionTiles does seem pretty cool, and to be honest I will probably get it in the future. I almost signed up for the free trial the other day, but I don’t really have enough devices yet, so I am holding off. I’ve just recently (about 2 months ago) started making my home smart after getting some Arlo Pro cameras.

But I do like Stringify, you can make some not so complex flows that normally you would need to do with webCoRE. I like WebCoRE and use it too, but for simpler tasks, Stringify works, and works like a charm getting my kids limited access.

I do wonder sometimes how Stringify and IFTTT get their money though…

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Like most Silicon Valley startups, they “get their money” through Angel Investors and Venture Capital, both of which take very risky bets on a lot of companies, in exchange for a lot of equity, knowing that 9/10 will fail. But some companies still start the old fashioned way: Build a product with personal cash and lots of hours of hard work, sometimes flipping being acquired before venture funding, or finding the right funding at the right time… and so return to the beginning of this paragraph.

  1. Stringify failed to make money. It’s $9 million in funds was completely exhausted. The investors probably gained very little back from it’s acquisition by Comcast, but it ensured the best employees were given good jobs to continue the project. Comcast, though, will be expecting returns … somehow. Most likely just by using this to acquire more Xfinity Home automation customers with more features… and their monthly fees.

  2. IFTTT makes money through their “Partners” (Channel Publishers):

This price schedule may be old:

  1. ActionTiles makes money the old fashioned way. By selling Licenses to use the app.